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Meeting Partners, Meeting Expectations: The RCA Regional Cooperative Agreement Holds its 38th Regional Meeting

Attendees at the RCA 38th Regional Meeting.

For almost 45 years, the Government Parties to the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) have worked alongside the IAEA towards sustainable development goals in the region by sharing knowledge, experience and expertise in nuclear science and technology. From 17-20 May, 45 representatives from 20 state parties to the RCA were joined by IAEA experts in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where they met to review, discuss and agree on strategies to increase cooperation around the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology.

The meeting, hosted by the Government of Mongolia, marked the 38th time that national RCA representatives have gathered to review the status of the regional cooperative programmes and to discuss possible measures to enhance its efficiency.

Mr Dahzu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, was in attendance to extend the IAEA’s support to the RCA representatives. Mr Yang provided the meeting’s inaugural address and congratulated the achievement gained by the RCA, explaining, “Over the past 44 years, the RCA programmes have made significant contributions to sustainable social and economic development in the region through the application of nuclear science and technology in different sectors, including human health, food and agriculture, industry, water resources and environment.”

DDG Yang continued, “With the expansion of the RCA and its programme, I encourage RCA State Parties to work closely together to further strengthen the innovation, ownership, leadership and partnership of the RCA as a whole in the formulation, implementation and management of its programme. I also encourage RCA to continue to promote south-north and south-south cooperation within the region.”

During the meeting, participants reviewed the implementation of the RCA programme in 2015 and the current status of ongoing RCA projects in 2016. Looking forward, the attending representatives discussed and approved the implementation plan for the 2016–2017 RCA programme, and deliberated on the preparation of the 2018–2019 RCA programme. Furthermore, the meeting helped to finalise a draft amendment to the regional cooperative agreement, adopted a proposed expansion of the role of the RCA Regional Office, and endorsed the new director of the same office. With the aim of supporting the implementation of the RCA Medium-Term Strategy for 2018-2023, representatives also approved the terms of reference for new Working Groups. Other matters, including the mechanisms for outsourcing secretariat functions and measures to enhance the collaboration between the RCA and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA), were explored and discussed.

Background 
The Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) is an intergovernmental agreement among the IAEA Member States that are located in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, and the Far East.

It was first established in 1972 under the auspices of the IAEA to promote, coordinate and implement cooperative research, development and training projects in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology amongst the parties to the RCA.

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

Further information on the activities of the RCA can be obtained by visiting the following site: http://www.rcaro.org

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