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IAEA Signs Practical Arrangements for Triangular Cooperation with Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam

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(Left to right) Vice-Minister Pham Cong Tac, Ambassador Sithong Chitnhothinh, Secretary of State Ung Eang and DDG-TC Dazhu Yang displaying their respective copies of the signed PAs. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA) 

Following the signature of two separate but complementary Practical Arrangements (PAs) on 17 September, the IAEA has established a new framework for south-south cooperation involving three Member States in the Asia and Pacific region alongside with the IAEA.

The Arrangements provide a framework for collaboration in a broad range of priority areas, from non-destructive testing and other industrial applications to nuclear medicine and mutation breeding. In this new framework, Viet Nam is expected to support both short- and long-term education and training programmes in Cambodia and Lao PDR. Additionally, Viet Nam will help bolster the national TC programmes of its neighbours by providing experts and lecturers to nuclear science and technology institutions in Cambodia and Laos, and by making its own technical facilities available to the other signatories of the Arrangements, including analytical laboratories, which will ensure that their multi-faceted support includes practical and hands-on dimensions.

The operationalization of these Arrangements follows months of deliberations, facilitated by the Agency, and will mark the first time such a triangular approach has been formalized through PAs. The Arrangements, which cover an initial period of three years, will leverage contributions and resources from Viet Nam to support the implementation of the IAEA’s technical cooperation (TC) programme and to promote greater technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC).

The genesis of these Practical Arrangements, which were signed on the margins of the IAEA’s 63rd General Conference, can be traced back to August 2016, when authorities in Viet Nam expressed interest in supporting their neighbouring countries in the safe application of nuclear science and technologies. In advance of the 2020-2021 TC cycle, the Agency facilitated tripartite discussions, needs assessments and the development of a road map, which lead directly to the development and signature of these Practical Arrangements.

(Left to right) Vice-Minister Pham Cong Tac (Viet Nam), Secretary of State Ung Eang (Cambodia) and DDG-TC Dazhu Yang at signing.

These Practical Arrangements were signed, in the first case, between the IAEA, the Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Viet Nam and, in the second case, between the IAEA, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Viet Nam. The implementation of the activities foreseen under these Practical Arrangements will be carried out through the Agency’s technical cooperation programme, in order to ensure harmony with other ongoing TC efforts, while simultaneously responding to national development goals and enhancing the self-reliance and sustainability of nuclear science and technology institutions of the recipient countries.

The Practical Arrangements were signed on behalf of the IAEA by Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, and counter-signed by Ambassador Sithong Chitnhothinh, Secretary of State Ung Eang and Vice-Minister Pham Cong Tac on behalf of the Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese parties, respectively.

“These Arrangements provide a practical path forward, not only to support the South-South cooperation and implementation of the technical cooperation programme, but to encourage closer regional collaboration and increased exchange of experiences between Member States with varying levels of expertise in the application of nuclear technologies,” said DDG Yang.

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