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National Liaison Officers from African Member States Gather in Arusha to Strengthen the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme


National Liaison Officers and National Liaison Assistants meet in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania. (Photo: IAEA)

From 11 to 15 March, the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Division for Africa held its annual meeting of National Liaison Officers (NLOs) in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania to explore and finalize strategies to further enhance the delivery of the Agency’s TC programme in the region. National Liaison Officers and Assistants (NLAs) from 40 African Member States attended the event, which was officially launched by William Tate Ole Nasha, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Tanzania. 

“Tanzania is particularly delighted to be associated with the level of achievement that African Member States have attained, and with the continued support by the IAEA,” said Minister Nasha. “To meet the growing need, an increasing number of fellowships, scientific visits and training courses have been offered by the IAEA. The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania appreciates these ongoing IAEA efforts, through its TC programme, to emphasize the development of human resources for the peaceful uses and applications of nuclear science and technology.”

In his opening statements to the attending NLOs, Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director of the Division for Africa, stressed that “the planning, coordination, formulation and management of TC national programmes strongly depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of the NLO’s Office.” Taking note of the high implementation rate achieved in 2018, Director Abdulrazak underlined the importance for recipient Member States “to promulgate laws and regulations to ensure the safe application of nuclear technologies, and to establish independent regulatory authorities to verify adherence to those laws and regulations.”

The week-long meeting accorded to the participants a unique opportunity to explore, review and discuss concrete measures with which to enhance the effectiveness of TC programme. Beginning with an assessment of the follow-up actions agreed upon during the 2018 NLO meeting, the delegates provided updates regarding their implementation of all the proposals and recommendations made during the 2018 event.

As radiation safety remains a priority for many Member States in the region, the meeting reviewed the national status of each participating country in this particular area—in terms of laws, regulations and the protection of workers, patients, public and the environment. National Liaison Officers were briefed on how they can use resources, such as the IAEA’s Radiation Safety Information Management System (RASIMS).

At the conclusion of the event, the attending NLOs and NLAs agreed to develop action plans to support the regular and timely submission of updates to the RASIMS platform. Moreover, the National Liaison Officers confirmed their adherence to previously-developed action plans, designed to gradually improve their radiation safety infrastructure. Regarding their respective national programmes, the NLOs agreed to assess and evaluate previous technical cooperation projects, with the aim of identifying and implementing lessons to improve the quality of project designs during the 2020-2021 cycle.

NLOs and National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) from 40 African Member States attended the meeting, including delegates from: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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