Representatives from small island developing States (SIDS) from the Caribbean and the Pacific regions are meeting this week in Sydney, Australia, to discuss partnership and resource opportunities for a proposed interregional IAEA technical cooperation project on SIDS. International and regional organizations including the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the European Investment Bank and the US Regional Environmental Office are also attending the meeting.
The first day of the meeting provided a platform for interaction among SIDS representatives and IAEA staff regarding the TC programme and the development of the interregional project. IAEA representatives gave presentations on the contributions of nuclear techniques in those thematic areas which will be covered by the proposed project such as marine environment, cancer and nutrition , and food and agriculture.
In addition, the Deputy Director General of the Secretariat of SPC, Mr Cameron Diver, presented the strategic priorities of the Pacific region and SIDS in general, as well as the work of SPC, including combatting rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and non-communicable diseases which are responsible for approximately 80% of early deaths in the region. The need for strategic partnerships for both the implementation of project activities and resource mobilization was highlighted. As an example of such an effective partnership, the results of an EU-funded project in support of local Taro production in SIDS were presented . The presentation has highlighted the need to link programme activities effectively to end-users to ensure programme efficiency and effectiveness.
The meeting is focused on developing an effective implementation strategy for the proposed project, including the definition of roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and partners, and the specific contribution of potential donors working with SIDS. This triangular cooperation between Member States, regional and interregional partners and the IAEA will foster both sustainable regional capacity building, as well as promote cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and experience amongst SIDS.
Participants have also visited ANSTO facilities, including the Open Pool Australian Light Water (OPAL) Reactor, as well as laboratories dedicated to the application of nuclear techniques.