Nuclear Cooperation in Latin America
IAEA-supported ARCAL Programme Celebrates 25th Anniversary
ARCAL provides a framework for Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean to intensify their collaboration through programmes and projects focused on the specific shared needs of its members. (Photo: J. Pérez-Vargas/ IAEA)
- Story Resources
- Audio: Interviews with (in Spanish): [.mp3]
- Ambassador Carlos Barros, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the IAEA
- Liliana Solís Díaz, Director General of Costa Rica´s Atomic Energy Commission
- José Antonio Lozada, Programme Management Officer, Division of Latin America, Department of Technical Cooperation
- IAEA General Conference
- Co-operation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL)
- IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation
Representatives from 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries met today in Vienna during the 54th IAEA General Conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ARCAL, a cooperation agreement for the promotion of nuclear science and technology in the region.
ARCAL provides a framework for Member States collaboration with the support of the IAEA and other international co-operation entities. It addresses key development priorities focusing on pressing needs related to food security, human health, environment, energy and industry, and radiological safety.
"We are celebrating 25 years of ARCAL and the progress achieved in all these years," said Ambassador Carlos Barros, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the IAEA.
"From now on we need to expand the agreement´s framework and maximize its reach. We have eighteen projects scheduled for the biennium 2012-13 and we are prioritizing them so that every country and the region in general can profit fully from nuclear technologies."
The work of ARCAL has been crucial and innovative because many countries lack adequate know-how in the field of science and technology.
"Many of our countries lack the technology to treat cancer, for example, and nuclear technology has been vital to our efforts to eradicate this ailment which has such a great impact in the region," says Liliana Solís Díaz, Director General of Costa Rica´s Atomic Energy Commission.
"Other applications include the use of isotopic techniques for identifying hydrological and geothermal resources and determining the extent of their contamination. This has enabled Costa Rica to establish policies to protect these valuable resources."
"In the area of agriculture, my country has been able to increase quality and yield of such a vital crop as rice."
The IAEA has supported ARCAL since its inception in 1984.
José Antonio Lozada, Programme Management Officer for the IAEA Division of Latin America, Department of Technical Cooperation, spoke of ARCAL as one of the best examples of South-South cooperation among developing countries.
"Countries with a more advanced level of nuclear knowledge host fellows from neighbouring countries to train them," he said.
Areas of cooperation span across human health, food safety, environment, energy and radiation safety.
"ARCAL focuses on radiotherapy, nuclear medicine and the treatment of infect contagious diseases, as in the prompt detection of ailments such as dengue," explains the IAEA’s Lozada.
"By accelerating detection, patients can be treated more rapidly and effectively."
"In the area of nuclear energy, ARCAL has enabled the technological transference in the use of energy planning models so that each country can predict what its energy demand would be and find ways to meet its needs."
ARCAL technical cooperation projects provide capacity-building through expert missions, training courses, meetings, scholarships, scientific visits and workshops.
ARCAL provides a framework for Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean to intensify their collaboration through programmes and projects focused on the specific shared needs of its members.
It was established in 1984, and was made a formal inter-governmental agreement in 1998.
Between 1984 and 2009, over 1 000 professionals and technicians have been trained through a total of 72 ARCAL projects in industry, radiochemistry, radiation medicine, nutrition and soil and water management.
The acronym stems from its Spanish name (Acuerdo Regional de Cooperación para la Promoción de la Ciencia y la Tecnología Nucleares en América Latina y el Caribe).
See Story Resources for more information.
-- By Juanita Pérez-Vargas and Giovanni Verlini, IAEA Division of Public Information