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Partnership, Capacity Building Accelerates Development in LDCs


46 countries are recognized as Least Developed Countries by the United Nations, of which 36 are IAEA Member States: 27 in Africa, eight in Asia and the Pacific, and one in the Caribbean. (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

“The IAEA supports least developed countries (LDCs) in training and education through short and long term trainings both Master’s and PhD programmes, and in doing so, supports both human and institutional capacities,” said Ambassador Teodolinda Rosa Rodrigues Coelho of Angola, Chair of Vienna-based African Group, speaking at a roundtable discussion organized by the IAEA on the margins of the First Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom1) of the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).

The roundtable, held on 28 May, the final day of the PrepCom meeting, brought together four Ambassadors and Agency counterparts to showcase results and impact achieved through the technical cooperation (TC) programme to build human and institutional capacities in LDCs.

Since 1971, least developed countries have been recognized by the United Nations as a category of States whose development is constrained by structural, historical and geographical factors. Since 1981, the United Nations has organized a high-level conference every 10 years to evaluate and address the unique obstacles which hinder or delay the development of LDCs, with the fifth conference, LDC5 scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar in January 2022.

Through its TC programme, and with the support of international partners, the IAEA offers support to LDCs to address the capacity gaps in the areas of food and agriculture, health and nutrition, water and environment, energy, industry, and safety and security, using nuclear science and technology.

The speakers—from Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh and Senegal—described how the IAEA’s capacity-building efforts, delivered through training, education and technology transfers, contribute directly to improving socioeconomic conditions in LDCs. As new capacities are developed, LDCs are more and more able to maximize the benefits of nuclear technologies, accelerating the process.

“The IAEA’s TC programme remains a very important partner and is central to the peaceful and safe application of nuclear science and technology in our country,” said Ambassador Manizha Bakhtari of Afghanistan, one of the invited speakers to the event. (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

“In recent years, through its technical cooperation programme, the IAEA has supported the training of 272 Senegalese scientists through long- and short-term fellowships and scientific visits,” said Ambassador Cheikh Tidiane Sall, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the IAEA.

Elaborating on the real-world impact produced by the Agency’s work in LDCs, Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith of Bangladesh said, “The technical cooperation programme has been critical to helping overcome the socioeconomic challenges of recent decades. In cooperation with the IAEA, we have introduced new rice varieties in Bangladesh which have led to a three-fold increase in rice production, as compared to the 1970s.”

“Partnerships are very important for scaling up assistance to LDCs. We must work together to build and strengthen partnerships with development actors at the national level, with UN agencies, the private sector, NGOs and Foundations,” explained Liu Hua, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation.

Currently, the United Nations identifies 46 LDCs, of which 36 are IAEA Member States: 27 in Africa, 8 in Asia and the Pacific and 1 in the Caribbean.

Together, LDCs comprise around 880 million people—approximately 12 percent of the world population. These LDCs share a number of characteristics and challenges which do not help them to maximize the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

The LDC5 Conference in 2022 is expected to adopt a new, ten-year programme of action for LDCs, succeeding the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs (IPoA), which concludes this year. The IPoA was designed to help overcome structural challenges, with the ultimate aim of poverty eradication. LDC5 is expected to assess the results following the Istanbul Programme, and to adopt a new framework through which to support the development of LDCs.

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