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Members of Asian Regional Cooperative Agreement Chart New Path Forward for Technical Cooperation


IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of the Technical Cooperation, Hua Liu, delivers his opening remarks at the 52nd RCA Meeting. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Ahead of the IAEA’s 67th General Conference, delegates to the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) met in Vienna to review ongoing technical cooperation (TC) activities, to consider new challenges and plan for the implementation of the 2024-2029 RCA Regional Programme Framework.

On 22 September, 41 national representatives of 19 countries attended the annual meeting of RCA stakeholders, organized to allow the chairpersons of the Agreement’s working groups and committees to present the ongoing work channelled through RCA, and to explore opportunities to enhance the implementation of future activities.

“Since 1972, the RCA Agreement has provided a vital channel through which the IAEA’s Member States in Asia and Pacific have expanded the effective application of nuclear technology and techniques to address persisting and emerging challenges to development,” explained Natascha Spark, Senior Manager International Affairs, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, who assumed the position of RCA chairperson, representing Australia. “The challenges facing the 3,5 billion people living in our region are multivariate, but many issues—including climate change, food production and marine pollution—can be remedied through the application of nuclear techniques. If we hope to overcome these challenges effectively and speedily, close cooperation of Member States in Asia will be essential.”

Since 1972, in close coordination with RCA State Parties, the IAEA has supported the development of technical and human capacities in the 22 countries participating in the Agreement. This year alone, 22 regional training courses have been organized through the Regional Cooperative Agreement and an additional 12 are in the pipeline for implementation.

“As we look to the future, we can see that our planet is facing more challenges: climate change, energy demand, plastic pollution, zoonotic diseases, and cancer, to name but a few,” said Liu Hua, IAEA Deputy Director General (DDG) and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation. “It is crucial for the RCA and the IAEA to continue cooperating closely on the use of nuclear technology and techniques to address these challenges.”

“Among the priorities of this year’s RCA meeting is the need to ensure complementarity between RCA’s 2024-2029 Framework, adopted in 2021, and the forthcoming 2024-2025 technical cooperation cycle, for which project designs are now being finalized,” explained Jane Gerardo-Abaya, Director of the TC Division for Asia and the Pacific.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi joins staff of the Department of Technical Cooperation, as well as delegates and represents to the RCA, on the ocassion of the Agreement's 52nd annual meeting. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) 

On 26 September, on the margins of the IAEA General Conference, a Practical Arrangement was signed by DDG Hua Liu and by Pill Hwan Park, Director of the RCA Regional Office (RCARO), to enhance data- and information-sharing between the IAEA and RCARO, which is based in Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

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

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