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New IAEA Publications Highlight Technical Cooperation Achievements in Asia and the Pacific

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IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi was joined by Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, and Jane Gerardo-Abaya, Director of the TC Division for Asia and the Pacific, in launching the publication. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

On 2 December, during a Meeting of National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and other representatives from Asia and the Pacific, two new IAEA publications were launched, cataloguing the impact and success of the Agency’s technical cooperation (TC) programme.

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. The second publication is as a first-of-its-kind Socio-Economic Impact Assessment, developed by the State Parties to the RCA Agreement on their Crop Mutation Breeding Programme.

“Our technical cooperation programme has made a huge contribution over the decades. And nowhere is that more visible than in the many journeys to success presented in this book,” said Director General Grossi.

Referring to the RCA Impact Assessment, Mr Grossi said, “The report found that the key impacts of research conducted through RCA mutation breeding projects included increased food production, enhanced environmental protection, strengthened regional capacity and capability, and economic impacts.”

 “Your journeys and achievements in the use of nuclear technologies for development are something that we can all be proud of,” said Deputy Director General Dazhu Yang, “The Journeys to Success compendium records these journeys and promotes what we can achieve together through the TC programme. These experiences will inspire others to emulate, innovate further and forge new partnerships.”

This virtual meeting was called to look back at the achievements over the last 20 years, assessing the evolving challenges faced by the regional programme and and taking note of novel and innovative solutions. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Journeys to Success

Each year, the TC Division for Asia and the Pacific organizes a meeting of National Liaison Officers and Assistants. Their 2019 annual meeting focussed on the development of means to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the TC programme. Among other decisions, the participants agreed to produce a compendium of experiences in applying nuclear technology, to showcase the positive contribution of the IAEA technical cooperation programme.  

The compendium, entitled Journeys to Success, brings together stories and articles written by NLOs and NLAs from over 30 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific. In their own words, TC programme participants offer a comprehensive overview of the concrete and sustainable progress that has been realized in the region through the programme.

For example, new skills and capacities in non-destructive testing have been developed in Malaysia, while seaweed-based growth-promoters are now being used on crops in the Philippines. Drawing on achievements from among 258 national and 65 regional projects, Journeys to Success describes the creation of a nuclear power roadmap in Sri Lanka, the inauguration of Cambodia’s first national cancer centre, the establishment of the nuclear power programme in the United Arab Emirates, and how Kuwait is growing is capacities for the sustainable management of ground water.

Journeys to Success is an exchange of best practices by countries in the region, and it effectively communicates the growing role played by nuclear science and technology, and the ways in which the IAEA is supporting this at national and regional level.

The NLO is the primary contact person between the IAEA and the Member State on matters relating to the IAEA, in particular the TC programme. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

RCA Socio-Economic Impact Assessment

The Social and Economic Impact Assessment of Mutation Breeding in Crops of the RCA Programme in Asia and the Pacific, also launched at the same meeting, is a pioneering new effort to identify and assess the sometimes unrecognized impact of IAEA-supported plant breeding activities in Asia and the Pacific, across nearly twenty years and 22 countries.

The assessment found that the programme has supported a significant body of research in the field of plant breeding. Following support and capacity building channelled through the TC programme and the RCA Agreement, more than 7300 promising breeding lines of fruit and vegetable were developed, with superior quality traits to local crop varieties.

In total, 254 new and improved mutant varieties of crops—selected from among the 7300 promising lines—have been certified, officially released to farmers. The new varieties display improved market and nutritional value, such as better grain sizes, shape and colour, milling quality, taste, and mineral, oil and seed protein content.

Produced by IAEA, FAO and RCA experts, with the support of economists and evaluation specialists in the region, the publication used a systematic, eight-stage approach to assess IAEA-supported plant breeding activities since 2000.

“RCA plans to carry out social and economic impact assessments of two more sub-thematic areas: non-destructive testing and radiotherapy,” said Mr Yang in his concluding remarks to the regional meeting. “The experience gained from these endeavours is expected to provide a model for the conduct of such impact assessments of other regional TC programmes.”

National Liaison Officers and Assistants from across the region participated in the virtual event. Here, the NLO of Fiji delivers a statement to the meeting participants. (Photo: D. Calma) 

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