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ARCAL Board of Representatives Endorse Ten New Technical Cooperation Projects at GC67


Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, speaking at the 24th Meeting of the Board of ARCAL Representatives, taking place on the margins of the IAEA 67th General Conference in Vienna, Austria, 26 September 2023. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) 

Delegates from ARCAL and the IAEA have convened on the margins of the 67th IAEA General Conference at the annual meeting of the Board of ARCAL Representatives. They endorsed ten new projects proposed for the upcoming 2024–2025 technical cooperation cycle and discussed ways to reinforce the ongoing regional programme. The proposed projects are set to address significant issues in Latin America and the Caribbean related to wastewater treatment, marine environment monitoring, energy planning and gender equality.   

“ARCAL has proven itself as an excellent framework for consolidating and coordinating efforts. Its aim is to develop a strategic and inclusive approach to using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in alignment with sustainable development goals. This initiative tackles global challenges within our region, which comprises a population of over 660 million people,” said Ambassador Rodrigo Olsen Olivares, Permanent Representative of Chile to the IAEA and new chair of ARCAL.  

Delegates reflected on the recent accomplishments achieved through the ARCAL agreement, including the establishment of RIALC, a new network of research reactors and associated institutions that will help address the demand for the analytical and technological services offered by research reactors, as well as the production of essential radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals within the Latin American and Caribbean region.  

Progress has also been made in the food and agriculture field. For instance, the IAEA supported the establishment of a new Data Sharing Committee in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of the RALACA regional food safety network, which monitors food for contaminants using nuclear techniques. The Data Sharing Committee is designed to harmonize food safety data collection and enhance regional collaboration to help ensure food safety and facilitate seamless international trade in food products. 

The Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL) was established in 1984. At present, 21 countries are party to the ARCAL Agreement. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) 

“Through the availability of harmonized and aggregated analytical data on pesticide and veterinary drug residues,  contaminants, additives and other substances in food; national food safety authorities will be able to manage available resources more efficiently, to respond effectively to risk trends and emerging challenges in food safety. The access to a shared data infrastructure and science-based information supports decision-makers in their efforts to ensure food safety for consumers on the national and international markets as well as to build more resilient food systems,” said Yajaira Salazar Chacon, Head of the Food Safety Department at the National Animal Health Service, Ministry of Agriculture Costa Rica. 

In the area of health, a series of pilot trials in Cuba and Brazil have been carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of the sterile insect technique (SIT) in the region. This nuclear technique has been successfully used worldwide for more than 50 years. Ionizing radiation is used to sterilize male insect that are mass-produced in special rearing facilities and subsequently released in the wild, where they mate with the wild population. No offspring are produced, leading to a decrease in the mosquito populations and reducing the prevalence of the diseases these insect pests carry. The trials have made substantial progress in mitigating diseases such as dengue, Zika fever and chikungunya in both Cuba and Brazil. Due to the transboundary nature of the diseases carried by these insect pests, participants agreed that a regional approach for pest control must be established, with relevant activities at the national level in each individual country. 

In his opening remarks, Director General Grossi highlighted ARCAL as a mechanism for regional cooperation. 

“ARCAL continues to be an important mechanism for the promotion of South-South cooperation and for tackling some of the most pressing socioeconomic challenges and delivering solutions to countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Next year ARCAL will celebrate 40 years of shared benefits from nuclear science and technology in the region,” said Director General Grossi.   

The attending delegates to the ARCAL meeting endorsed 10 new projects proposed for the 2024-2025 technical cooperation cycle. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) 


The Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL) was established in 1984. It provides a framework for Member State collaboration with the support of the IAEA and other international sources of cooperation. The agreement addresses key development priorities in the region, focusing on pressing needs related to food security, human health, environment, energy, industry and radiological safety. 

At present, 21 countries are party to the ARCAL Agreement:  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Since 2007, Spain has participated as a strategic partner of ARCAL. 

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