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Strengthening Radiological Emergency Preparedness in Africa: Second Coordination Meeting Held in Vienna

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Participants of the meeting. (Photo: H. Pattison/IAEA)

Many countries in Africa have made significant progress, with IAEA support, in establishing national radiation emergency plans. Ongoing assistance is needed, however, to train response personnel, support training, drills and exercises, and enable the conduct of Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) missions. The IAEA technical cooperation programme is currently providing this support through a regional project[1] designed to further strengthen national arrangements and capabilities to respond to nuclear or radiological emergencies, and to improve implementation of international safety standards. The project is being implemented in cooperation with African Member States, the Division for Africa, IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation, and the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

The second coordination meeting for the project took place 16-20 July 2018 in Vienna, Austria. Thirty-three delegates from 30 of the 34 African Member States participating in the project gathered to discuss and assess the current status of their national emergency preparedness and response (EPR) capabilities for nuclear or radiological emergencies.

In his opening remarks, Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director of the Division for Africa, highlighted the role of the IAEA over the past years in supporting the strengthening of regional and national arrangements and capabilities for responding to nuclear or radiological emergencies in African Member States. “Within the framework of previous efforts and the current project, implementation of international standards has increased. In addition, national and regional awareness of the relevance of well-established emergency response mechanisms has increased”, Mr Abdulrazak noted.

The participants identified priority needs following a review of regional and country work plans, and addressed gaps using project guidelines and IAEA publications. They discussed challenges and shared lessons learned. By the conclusion of the meeting, the participants had identified the actions needed to improve EPR capabilities for radiological or nuclear emergencies in each of the participating countries, and for the African region as a whole.  

Project RAF9055 supports emergency response personnel training, exercises, public communication workshops and Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) missions to prioritize further improvements in national capabilities.

Opening remarks from Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director, Division for Africa, IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation. (Photo: H. Pattison/ IAEA)

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[1] RAF9055, ‘Strengthening and Harmonizing National Capabilities for Response to Radiation Emergencies’

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