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Triangular Cooperation on Nuclear Techniques: Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR Take Steps to Foster Mutual Assistance

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Representatives from Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic and the IAEA met in Vienna, Austria, 11-13 June 2018. (Photo: IAEA)

Representatives from Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic took an important step forward in support of triangular cooperation on nuclear techniques at a meeting hosted by the IAEA in June 2018. The meeting is the latest in a series of IAEA-supported activities to enable South-South cooperation between these three neighbouring countries.

In August 2016, authorities in Viet Nam expressed interest in developing triangular cooperation with its neighbouring countries, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic, with the goal of fostering technical cooperation among developing countries and encouraging South-South cooperation. Viet Nam approached the IAEA for support with facilitating such cooperation, and the Agency subsequently carried out consultations with national authorities in Cambodia and Lao PDR.

Working together, the three countries and the IAEA took a series of steps to develop a framework and facilitate collaboration. These steps include the establishment of a road map to guide the development of such collaboration, and the conduct of a trilateral meeting between Viet Nam, the IAEA and Lao People's Democratic Republic to agree on priority areas for cooperation. In addition, the IAEA supported a mapping exercise to identify capacity building and expertise needs in Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic, and to categorise available technical and human capacity in Vietnamese institutions.

Taking into consideration the needs of Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic and the available technical and human capacity in Vietnamese institutions, the following topic areas were identified as priorities for initiating cooperative activities:

  1. Non-destructive nuclear techniques
  2. Industrial irradiation (radiation processing)
  3. Nuclear medicine
  4. Radiation safety
  5. Mutation breeding

As a next step, the IAEA conducted a consultative meeting at IAEA Headquarters from 11 to 13 June this year, with the goal of developing triangular cooperation between Viet Nam, the IAEA and Cambodia, and between Viet Nam, the IAEA and Lao PDR. At this meeting, the participants discussed the priority needs of Lao People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia in each of the identified areas, reviewed the available institutional and human capacity in Vietnamese institutions, and identified and outlined concrete activities for triangular cooperation and implementation arrangements that could be supported through IAEA technical cooperation (TC) projects as part of the ongoing 2018–2019 TC programme cycle. A framework, together with specific triangular cooperation activities, was also outlined and developed for the 2020–2021 TC cycle.

These concrete meeting results set a good example for promoting substantive cooperation among Member States, and for utilizing the TC programme platform to facilitate this kind of cooperation efficiently and effectively.

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