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The Technical Cooperation Programme: How Does it Work?

8 March 2013
Technical cooperation seeks to forge human and institutional capacity in Member States to safely utilize nuclear technologies to address local needs, global issues and contribute to national development. The IAEA’s technical cooperation programme is the primary mechanism for delivering the Agency’s capacity-building services to its Member States. 
The programme supports the safe and secure application of nuclear technology for sustainable socioeconomic development in Member States. All IAEA Member States can participate in the technical cooperation programme. 
In 2012, 123 countries received support. 
80% of the recipients are non-nuclear power countries, participating for all the other benefits of nuclear technology. 
Technical Cooperation projects can be classed as national, regional and interregional. The programme concentrates on: improving human health; supporting agriculture, rural development and food security; advancing water resource management; addressing environmental challenges; helping sustainable energy development, including the use of nuclear power for electricity; and promoting safety and security. Although the TC programme is regarded as having a two year cycle, planning starts two years in advance. During these two years, the programme cycle is planned and designed. This period includes strategy formulation, project concept identification, the drafting of project proposals, and project design. The two year process concludes with the submission of the new TC programme for approval by the IAEA Board of Governors. Then begins the two year TC programme cycle, which constitutes project implementation during which all activities that were planned in the preparatory phase are executed. Once the cycle begins, planning for the following cycle already starts. TC projects are not limited to two years, but can continue up to five years.The TC programme is developed through a consultative process with Member States to identify the priority development needs using a results-based management approach. 
The programme also uses a methodology called the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) to plan and design projects. The technique helps Member States to define the course of an entire project, identifying key problems, solutions to address them and feasible alternatives for implementation. The programme team includes the National Liaison Officer, Counterpart, IAEA staff, appropriate thematic institutions in Member States, and other partners. 
The national technical cooperation programme identifies stakeholders, end users and partners to ensure that the programme takes all possible participants into account. Pre-planning missions are also carried out, if requested by Member States, to support the preparation of project concepts. A country’s safety needs can be further assessed during these missions.National TC programmes are usually prepared to address priority areas identified in the Country Programme Framework (CPF), which is a programming tool that provides a frame of reference for technical cooperation between the IAEA and its Member States. 
The CPF serves to ensure that projects are effectively focused on agreed needs and priorities within the overall framework of Member State development plans , identifying where nuclear technologies can be used to address national development priorities, taking the relevant UN Millennium Development Goals into account. 
Photo: H.E. Dr Colin Scicluna, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the IAEA, and Kwaku Aning, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation sign Malta's Country Programme Framework (CPF).Assistance provided by other international organizations should also be taken into consideration. Partnerships with other UN agencies with a lead role in complementary areas, for example food, health and energy, should be established. 
Photo: Kwaku Aning, Head of IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation and Dmitri Piskounov, Managing Director of UNIDO’s Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division sign a Practical Arrangement for technical cooperation.
Safety issues are always considered when developing a national programme, as well as whether there is an adequate regulatory infrastructure in the country. Member States submit their national programme through the National Liaison Officer to the IAEA. This includes a programme overview, details of the consultation process and the regulatory infrastructure, together with project concepts.The submitted project concepts are checked for technical feasibility, and any safety issues are identified and addressed. 
Projects are also checked for proliferation risk by Safeguards, in accordance with the Statute, INFCIRC/267, and all other relevant decisions, including UN Security Council resolutions. The draft technical cooperation programme is released to Member States in advance of the annual November meeting of the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee (TACC). The TACC reviews the proposed programme, and submits it to the Board of Governors for approval. Implementation of the TC programme cycle starts in the January of the year following approval. 
Implementation is managed through the Department of Technical Cooperation with the cooperation of Member States and the IAEA’s Technical Departments. Implementation is primarily delivered through human resource capacity building activities and procurement. Capacity building is supported by expert missions and meetings, through the provision of fellowships and scientific visits, and via special training courses. Over the last five decades, the IAEA has trained over 29,000 people through fellowships and scientific visits. 
In 2011, around 1400 people benefitted from the fellowship and scientific visitor programme, and over 3000 people enhanced their knowledge through training courses.


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