112. The Agency and its Member States continued to strengthen Technical Co-operation between Developing Countries (TCDC). All three regional Co-operative Agreements (AFRA, ARCAL and RCA) took steps to become more involved in the design and implementation of their own programmes. The Agency supported this by strengthening the co-ordination between projects under the regional agreements and other programmes and paying increased attention to the use of regional expertise for implementing activities. The concept of regional centres-of-excellence gained momentum in both the Secretariat and among Member States. The TCDC focus in the new two-year programme was reflected in a marked increase in the budgets assigned for TC through the regional agreements compared to the previous cycle (see table below).

Budgets for Regional Co-operative Programmes
  1995/96 Cycle 1997/98 Cycle
AFRA 2,583,800 4,746,355
ARCAL 2,049,900 2,374,515
RCA 2,503,600 3,569,195
Total 7,137,300 10,690,065

113. TCDC is an important element for strengthening the TC programme. Efforts were made to review TCDC activities to determine the extent to which this modality is being used at the regional level and to make recommendations for expanding TCDC in general and within the three Regional Agreements. Recognizing their special role in TCDC, representatives of AFRA, ARCAL and RCA convened a meeting to review the achievements of TCDC activities within the three regional agreements and identify future prospects. A working paper was prepared and endorsed by them, and recommendations were submitted to the TC Department. The project INT/0/060 "Technical Co-operation between Developing Countries" - was expanded to carry out these recommendations during the 1997-98 programme cycle.

114. One of the objectives of TCDC is "to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to identify and analyze together the main issues of their development and to formulate the requisite strategies...". Consequently, all Regional Co-operative Agreements sought new ways to expand regional "ownership" by assuming greater responsibility for the formulation and implementation of regional programmes financed by the Agency and other donors.

115. The new five-year programme of AFRA was formulated by its members with advice from the Agency, and reflects the success of its newly established Field Management Structure. It will emphasize the end-use of nuclear techniques and problem-based capacity building. Four thematic areas of concentration were identified, as well as a number of priority projects. For many of these, specific TCDC activities were defined, for instance, the transfer of project results or provision of no-cost training to other developing Member States. Following deliberations in 1996, ARCAL will be able to apply their own appraisal system to prioritize project proposals for the 1999-2000 biennium. In East Asia, an RCA/UNDP/IAEA programme was formulated at the field level, in close partnership with RCA Member States, the IAEA, and several UNDP field offices.

116. One new notion introduced in the RCA programme is the strengthening of "Regional Resource Units". This idea of regional centres-of-excellence reflects an understanding that the collaborating partners in a regional agreement often have more to gain through TCDC based on one or a few strong regional centres than through the establishment of a larger number of less developed facilities. These concepts of sharing technical resources and developing complementary resources represent important aspects of TCDC.

117. Several examples illustrate how the concept of regional centres of excellence were put to use in 1996:

- Mali played a key role in TCDC related to the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC). This campaign, supported by donors such as the Organization of African Unity and the European Union, relies on ELISA technology to accurately verify immunization levels and identify areas which are free from the disease. The Central Veterinary Laboratory in Bamako played a crucial role in this regard as a training center for other African countries. The institute also provided expert assistance to several countries within and outside of Africa, and several countries sent their samples to be analysed in Mali. This approach will be extended in the 1997-98 project cycle, through the establishment of a regional reference laboratory in Côte d'Ivoire: a project which was formulated in 1996 as part of the PARC strategy that utilizes four sub-regional centres in Africa to verify the final stages of the eradication campaign. These centres will assume a leading role in regional animal health efforts after Africa is declared rinderpest free. The Central Laboratory for Animal Pathology in Bingerville will be providing diagnostic services for 14 countries in West Africa.

- The Memorandum-of-Understanding signed between the Agency and the Croatian Government in 1995, provided that the Agency will make use of the services of the Croatian Hazardous Waste Management Agency (APO) to assist several former Yugoslav Republics in upgrading radiation and waste safety infrastructure, and in post-conflict management of spent sealed radiation sources. APO also provided valuable assistance in implementing an emergency reserve fund project to re-establish nuclear medicine services in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

- Following the success of the Model Project to strengthen safety infrastructure, a team of experts from the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority supported similar activities in Romania and Ukraine. A workplan was established for Ukraine and several assessment missions were carried out in Armenia.

118. With the increasing success of TCDC activities and the implementation of new directions in the Regional Co-operative Agreements, it is expected that the Agency will expand its role in promoting centres of excellence in all regions and in other sectors of national development including human health, water resource management, pest control and food security.
Preface | Foreword | Highlights | Technical Co-operation Report for 1996 | Elements of the Technical Co-operation Strategy | Regional Highlights | TCDC | Evaluation | Resources and Delivery | Implementation Summaries | Abbreviations | Glossary