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Asian Regional Cooperative Agreement Members Commit to Expand, Assess and Recognize Achievements


“The RCA has demonstrated solidarity, proactivity and innovation in its timely response to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the IAEA has also played its part,” said DDG Hua Liu in his opening remarks to the national representatives. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA)

The formulation of a new Regional Programme Framework, the assessment of the programme’s socio-economic impact, and preparations for their 50th anniversary are among the outcomes to emerge following the conclusion of a recent Meeting of National Representatives to the Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA), held in April 2021.

“The RCA has demonstrated solidarity, proactivity and innovation in its timely response to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The RCA programme was well implemented in 2020,” said IAEA Deputy Director General (DDG) Hua Liu in his opening remarks to the assembled representatives. “Twenty-two regional meetings were organized virtually and attended by 458 participants last year, while 28 home-based assignments were conducted. I commend the tangible and significant achievements that have been made recently under RCA projects.”

On 28 and 29 April, more than 80 nuclear experts and decision-makers from 22 Asian and Pacific countries met to conduct their annual meeting. For the 43rd time since 1973, national counterparts to the Agreement convened to assess project concepts and designs, to share recent achievements, and to measure progress on the ground against the indicators and ambitions of the RCA 2018-2023 Medium-Term Strategy.

“In the last year, the RCA has had to undergo a number of developments and changes, both in terms of activities and management,” said Suchin Udomsomporn, Deputy Secretary General of the Office of Atoms for Peace, who assumed the Chairpersonship of RCA on behalf of Thailand. “But new guidelines and new approaches have helped to strengthen the cooperation of our 22 government bodies.”

“The TC programme can help to support regional priorities linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to enable synergies between both RCA and non-RCA activities through a results-based approach,” said Jane Gerardo-Abaya, Director of the TC Division for Asia and the Pacific. “New initiatives and proposals, such as the development of an RCA Scholarship programme, are helping to accelerate and expand the contribution of nuclear technologies in the region,” she continued.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the attendees to fully review and subsequently endorse a Regional Programme Framework (RPF) for RCA countries. Covering the period 2024 to 2029, developed by RCA State Parties the RPF document identifies strategic directions and priorities in the region and will guide RCA stakeholders in the development of regional projects in the coming five years.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the RCA Agreement, to be observed in 2022, RCA State Parties will conduct assessments of the socioeconomic impact of RCA efforts in two thematic areas: Non-destructive testing and radiotherapy. A first social and economic impact assessment of RCA mutation breeding projects was conducted last year.

At present, 22 countries are party to the RCA Agreement, namely: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.

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