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Major IAEA Conference on Technical Cooperation Concludes


Princess of Jordan Samaya bint El Hassan and IAEA Deputy Director General Dazhu Yang at the closing session. Vienna, Austria, 1 June 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Developing countries need technical cooperation to fully make use of nuclear science for development and partnerships increase the long term sustainability of this cooperation, a major international conference on the IAEA technical cooperation programme concluded last week.

“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires multi-actor collaboration, and cannot be addressed in isolation,” said Mr Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, in closing the conference. The technical cooperation programme, he said, has established mutually beneficial strategic, technical and financial partnerships with UN sister organizations, regional and international organizations, development banks and other financial institutions.

For 60 years, he said, IAEA Member States have improved their services in nuclear power generation, health, food and agriculture, environment and industry with the support of the technical cooperation programme. Also at the closing session, Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan commended the IAEA for its “commitment to building a society of equal partners in progress, where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds or occupations, may feel allied in some way to the potential and promise of science and innovation.”

She referred to the opening in Jordan of SESAME — the Middle East’s first Synchrotron — as a “beacon of cooperative science” in the region.

More than 1160 participants from 160 countries and 27 organizations attended the conference, which took place from 30 May to 1 June in Vienna. They reviewed the IAEA’s efforts in helping countries benefit from the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme. Country representatives had the chance to showcase their efforts in applying nuclear science to a wide development community.

Conference sessions

The conference was opened by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and high level officials from Bangladesh, Mauritius and Uruguay. It included five sessions. In the first one, representatives of IAEA Member States highlighted some of the socioeconomic impact and results they achieved with the support of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme and reviewed how the programme has contributed to establishing national nuclear infrastructure and capabilities in support of national development priorities.

This was followed by a deeper dive into individual projects in the second session, where participants gave examples of how nuclear technology in health and nutrition, food security, clean water and environment and innovative solutions in industry has contributed to development in their countries. They also shared their experience in the fields of energy planning and nuclear power infrastructure development, radiation and nuclear safety.

In the third session, participants demonstrated how regional approaches and different modalities of regional cooperation have addressed common needs and resolved issues of regional or global dimensions and how experience and knowledge sharing has strengthened international cooperation.

Delegates in session four examined global partnership opportunities across countries and development organizations. Participants presented their experiences in leveraging the support of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme.

Session five brought together high level speakers to examine appropriate approaches and concrete measures to help countries maximize their use of nuclear science and technology in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals targets.

Exhibitions and side events

On the sidelines of the conference, several Member States showcased their work through eight side events. The United Arab Emirates, for example, sponsored a ‘Youth Circle’ to share views on building technical capabilities in youth, and to discuss the challenges young people face in the area of nuclear science and applications.

Representatives from Indonesia presented the impact of support from the IAEA technical cooperation programme in plant mutation breeding. In a further side event, participants in a roundtable discussion explored how collaboration with private sector partners can be expanded to increase access to nuclear science and technology.

In addition to the side events, more than 20 Member States participated in two exhibitions. In the first exhibition they presented the impact, success stories and achievements of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme while in the second one Member States, UN partners, development banks, sponsors and vendors shared examples of cooperation in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology.

During the conference, IAEA representatives signed 15 agreements with partners.

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