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ARASIA Board of Representatives Convenes its 2020 Annual Meeting Virtually to Consider New, Flagship Projects

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Since entering into force in July 2002, ARASIA has helped to promote and coordinate activities for training, research, development and applications of nuclear science and technology. (Photo: S. Livnjak/IAEA)

The Board of Representatives of the ARASIA Agreement held their annual meeting online on 28 May. Board members from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates and Qatar discussed the project concepts proposed for the 2022-2023 technical cooperation (TC) cycle, and proposed a new strategic approach to ‘flagship’ regional projects.

The Cooperative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (ARASIA) entered into force on 29 July 2002. In cooperation with the IAEA, the ARASIA agreement promotes and coordinates activities for training, research, development and applications of nuclear science and technology in its State Parties.

Bilal Nsouli, Chairman of the ARASIA Board of Representatives and representative of Lebanon, noted that 11 new project concepts had been submitted to the ARASIA Board of Representatives for consideration for the next cycle by  the Agency. Nsouli emphasized the importance of introducing ‘flagship’ regional projects which would unite the efforts of the Agreements’ States Party and enable a comprehensive approach to addressing  persisting challenges and emerging needs.

Board Members from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates and Qatar made concrete recommendations and preparations for the upcoming 2022-2023 TC Cycle. (Photo: S. Livnjak/IAEA)

In keeping with this programmatic approach, the ARASIA Board agreed that nine of the proposed concepts would be submitted to the Agency, not as separate and discrete projects, but incorporated under three ‘flagship’ projects in the areas of human health, food and agriculture and the environment. The new strategic approach will allow ARASIA States Party to leverage complementary skills and resources, promote closer South-South cooperation and reduce or eliminate any duplication of efforts in the provision of support.

“Now is the time to be creative in our development of solutions and our delivery of support. The present global circumstances are unprecedented, and they invite novel and innovative problem-solving,” said Jane Gerardo-Abaya, Director of the TC Division for Asia and the Pacific. “Comprehensive flagship projects, as proposed by the ARASIA State Parties, will allow us to build new synergies and encourage virtual knowledge-sharing across the region. I’m confident such an approach will allow us to meet the challenges we are all facing worldwide, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Following a detailed discussion by all participants on the way forward for the 2022-2023 TC Cycle, the ARASIA Board agreed to officially submit the three proposed flagship concepts, which will be further developed into three comprehensive, large-scale projects.

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