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Strengthening South-South Cooperation between Indonesia and African Countries

Mr Abdulrazak visited the IAEA Collaborating Centre on plant mutation breeding and met with two Mozambican fellows (Photo: Christina Johari/Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Vienna, Austria)

To identify potential areas for South-South cooperation between Indonesia and African countries in the application of nuclear science and technology, Shaukat Abdulrazak (Director – Division for Africa, IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation) conducted a fact-finding mission in Indonesia from 27 November to 1 December 2017 at the invitation of the Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN).

BATAN is an active hub for South-South knowledge transfer, with extensive experience in organizing training sessions, scientific visits, and fellowships for nuclear professionals, including from across Africa. It is also the IAEA technical cooperation programme’s main interlocutor in Indonesia, hosting the National Liaison Office and collaborating with the Agency on projects including human nutrition, materials science research, and nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures. Mr Abdulrazak visited BATAN facilities throughout the country, identifying additional areas for collaboration and knowledge transfer between Indonesia and African Member States.

  • At BATAN’s Center for Isotopes and Radiation Application (CIRA), which in September 2017 was designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre in the field of plant mutation breeding, Mr Abdulrazak met two visiting Mozambican technicians working with CIRA experts to conduct trials on new strains of climate-smart millet crops they hope will improve yields in Mozambique. These fellowship placements are supported by an ongoing national technical cooperation project[1].
  • In Bandung, Mr Abdulrazak witnessed first-hand the application of particle-induced X-ray emission and X-ray fluorescence technology to monitor air pollution. These nuclear monitoring techniques, which helped Bandung earn the title of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Environmentally Sustainable City earlier this year, could be applied in urban areas of Africa to improve air quality through science-based policy making.
  • In Serpong, Mr Abdulrazak visited the recently-inaugurated Merah Putih Gamma Irradiator, built with 84% local materials. The design, construction and operation of this facility could serve as a model for African Member States seeking to increase the shelf life and safety of food and medicines.

While in Indonesia, Mr Abdulrazak also had the opportunity to meet with Executive Secretary Hendriyanto Haditjahyono, Chairman Jazi Eko Istiyanto, and Deputy Chairman Khoirul Huda of the country’s Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency. Discussions with these officials centred on South-South cooperation in support of developing nuclear laws, sharing best practices in nuclear inspection, and implementing new nuclear technologies in cost-effective ways.

Later talks with Indonesian institutes of higher learning—namely the Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology, the University of Gadjah Mada, and the Bogor Institute of Agriculture—explored the creation of specialist degree and non-degree programmes as well as sandwich programmes between African and Indonesian universities. Mr Abdulrazak encouraged Indonesian experts to lecture at universities and institutes throughout Africa, and expressed his interest in fostering links between the Indonesian and African Academy of Sciences to facilitate and formalize partnerships for socioeconomic development.

Mr Abdulrazak (centre) with participants at the 2017 Nuclear Youth Summit in Yogyakarta. (Photo: IAEA)

On 30 November 2017, Mr Abdulrazak delivered a keynote speech at the 2017 Nuclear Youth Summit in Yogyakarta. His address focused on empowering Indonesian youth and he encouraged them to pursue studies in nuclear science and technology by demonstrating how research in these fields contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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[1] MOZ5007 “Enhancing Mutation Breeding of Sorghum and Pearl Millet to Develop High Yield, Disease Resistance and Drought Tolerance”

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