• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

National Counterparts Describe Technical Cooperation Achievements at GC65 Side Event


More than 80 virtual participants and at least 25 in-person attendees joined the hybrid General Conference side event. (Photo: A. Tarhi/IAEA)

In recognition of the United Nations Day for South–South Cooperation last week, more than 100 national representatives and counterparts attended a panel discussion today to explore how collaboration in nuclear technology has contributed to socioeconomic development in Asia and the Pacific.

Held in connection with the launch of the 2020 IAEA publication Journeys to Success, the event’s panellists included Tran Bich Ngọc, the National Liaison Officer of Viet Nam to the IAEA, Khaled Toukan, a Jordanian synchrotron expert working at the SESAME Research Centre and Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at a UNESCO. 

The speakers drew the audience’s attention to recent achievements of the technical cooperation programme, published in the Journeys to Success compendium, including the establishment of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) facility in Jordan. SESAME houses the first particle accelerator in the Middle-East, and the facility regularly accommodates visiting scientists from across the region, facilitating their research and training.

“Between 2018 and 2020, three beamlines have entered full-user operation. This newly-inaugurated equipment has already helped to support energy conversion research by Pakistan’s National Centre of Physics, archaeological analyses conducted by experts at Helwan University in Egypt, and materials sciences investigations by the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad,” said Toukan. “Since 2018, the new beamlines have facilitated almost 30 scientific publications, including 16 published in 2021 alone.”

UNESCO has been a key partner for SESAME, said Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at a UNESCO who joined the event virtually from Paris.

“UNESCO helps in integrating SESAME in the community of UNESCO partners in science and promoting its participation in UNESCO’s science programmes in research, training and science education. SESAME has and continues to build scientific and cultural bridges between participating countries, and fostering mutual understanding and tolerance through international cooperation,” she said. 

Cooperation in the Mekong valley

Journeys to Success presents a collection of success stories, told by counterparts and experts in the region, which chronicle a litany of experiences and achievements realized through the programme. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA)

Since 2019, the IAEA has coordinated development efforts in Viet Nam, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to build capacities in all three countries in plant mutation breeding, industrial applications and radiation technology. Through an IAEA-supported arrangement, Viet Nam helped Laotian counterparts to build a centre for industrial non-destructive testing (NDT) and supported radiation training in Cambodia.

“South-South cooperation is a two-way street,” explained Tran Bich Ngọc, who underscored the continuous and persisting benefits originating from the 2019 signing of Practical Arrangements (PAs) between Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR, which was supported and instituted with IAEA guidance.

“We held a number of consultative meetings with Lao PDR and with Cambodia to clearly identify their needs, keeping in mind the technical capacities of Viet Nam, to ensure the complementarity of proposed activities,” explained Ngoc, Executive Deputy Director-General of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency (VAEA).

“By 2020, Viet Nam has provided more than 39 machines for measuring moisture density, delivered training in non-destructive testing and X-ray fluorescence techniques, and organized scientific visits in both Lao PDR and Cambodia to support laboratory accreditation,” she said. “This is now considered a model for triangular cooperation in the region.”

Cooperation among Pacific islands

In the Pacific region, the need to coordinate efforts around common challenges facing small island developing states (SIDS) is acute. SIDS include low-lying coastal countries which share a common vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, from ocean acidification and rising sea levels to reduced crop productivity.

“The Pacific Islands face many shared challenges: They are proportionally more vulnerable to climate change, they suffer a higher incidence of natural disasters, face longer travel and higher transportation costs, to name a few,” said IAEA Project Management Officer Javier Romero.

The IAEA has long been working to assist countries in the region to achieve both their national development priorities, and to meet the targets of the Sustainable Development Agenda, through the application of nuclear science and technology. Across myriad fields of activities—from health and nutrition, to agricultural and industrial production, to energy assessments and environmental monitoring—the programme has helped recipient countries to safely and sustainable harness the benefits of nuclear science to address persisting and emerging social challenges.

“The Sub-regional Approach to the Pacific Islands is being prepared as part of a new approach of the TC Programme through a set of sub regional projects, which will serve as an important complementary mechanism for greater effectiveness of their national programmes and build Pacific Islands’ resilience,” he said.

Pacific island countries will work in close cooperation with the IAEA and each other in the implementation of this new project.

“Close cooperation and collaboration with regional partners is critical to ensuring the successful implementation of any programme, and the technical cooperation programme is no exception,” said Andrea Muller, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations. “And with the new Sub-regional Approach to Pacific Islands, we hope to work with our closest neighbours to address common challenges across the region.”

The Journeys to Success book is available as a digital publication via the IAEA website.

Stay in touch