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Strengthening South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific: RCA Holds its 40th Regional Meeting

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Participants at the 40th National RCA Representatives Meeting in Busan, South Korea. (Photo: Ministry of Science and ICT/Government of the Republic of Korea)

From 27 and 30 March 2018, forty-five delegates from 21 countries in the Asia and the Pacific region participated in the 40th annual meeting of national representatives of the Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA).

RCA members share the objective of promoting the application of nuclear science and technology in support of sustainable socio-economic development. The IAEA works closely with RCA members to achieve this goal, particularly in the fields of human health, food and agriculture, industry, water resource management and environmental protection.

Hosted in Busan by the Government of the Republic of Korea, the annual meeting provided representatives an opportunity to review the preparation and implementation of the RCA programme and identify measures to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency, with a focus on increasing cooperation among developing countries on a North-South and South-South basis.

Mr You Young Min, Minister of Science and ICT for the Republic of Korea, opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of nuclear science and technology in social and economic development. He also affirmed his country’s close collaboration and strong commitment to the RCA programme.

Mr Imtiaz Kamal, the outgoing RCA Chair, highlighted the RCA programme’s impressive achievements of in 2017, and emphasized the role of good programme management.

Ms Najat Mokhtar, Director of the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation’s Division for Asia and the Pacific, delivered a welcome address highlighting the RCA’s contributions to the region. “Over the past 46 years, the RCA has proven itself to be an effective cooperative mechanism, and has made a significant contribution to sustainable social and economic development in Asia and the Pacific, especially in the areas of human health, food and agriculture, industry, water resource management and environmental protection. We are pleased that the RCA is exploring opportunities to strengthen partnerships with potential stakeholders and secure extra-budgetary funding in support of the proposed RCA programme.”

Over the course of the meeting, participants reviewed the implementation of the RCA programme in 2017 and the status of on-going RCA projects. They discussed and approved the implementation plan for the eight approved projects in the 2018–2019 RCA programme, and agreed on the guidelines for the formulation of the 2020–2021 RCA programme and related projects. Strengthening Regional Resource Units (RRUs) and integrating South-South cooperation in future programmes were identified as priority areas for action.

Other discussion topics included the re-organization of the Working Group on the RCA Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) 2018-2023, methods for better incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals within the MTS, possible mechanisms for financial resource mobilization for the RCA programme, appropriate measures to enhance the collaboration between the RCA and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA), and promoting cooperation within the Quadripartite Forum (AFRA, ARASIA, ARCAL and RCA).

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