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Virtual Induction: IAEA Experts Brief 24 Newly Appointed African National Liaison Officers and Assistants


Held annually but organized for the first time as a virtual event, this year’s induction workshop for newly appointed National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) was attended by representatives from 18 African countries. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA)

National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) form the primary contact point between Member States and the IAEA Secretariat for the technical cooperation (TC) programme. NLOs play two key roles: help the IAEA to understand their country’s needs and help their country to understand the IAEA. In July, the IAEA organized a three-day induction workshop to build mutual understanding and further enhance the performance and implementation of the programme by National Liaison Offices in Africa.

The virtual workshop, attended by 24 participants from 18 countries, was designed to inform and guide recently designated NLOs and NLAs, and also to support the exchange of views, experiences and ideas among the national representatives and their counterparts.

“This important meeting aims at providing you with a comprehensive overview of the roles, responsibilities and processes related to the management of the TC Programme, including the contributions of the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in your countries,” explained Shaukat Abdulrazak, IAEA Director of the TC Division for Africa. Abdulrazak underscored the need for commitment, leadership and strong coordination mechanisms across all aspects of the TC programme and highlighted emerging challenges facing the region that could be addressed through the IAEA-supported application of nuclear technologies. He also stressed the importance of planning, accountability and ownership of the programme by Member States.

The workshop included a review of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the formulation of Country Programme Frameworks, as well as presentations on finance, capacity building and programme procurement. With IAEA experts, the National Liaison personnel explored applications of nuclear science and technology in energy, food and agriculture, human health, physical and chemical sciences, as well as the work of the Agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). The legal frameworks and international instruments that ensure the safety and impact of those applications were discussed. The workshop’s final day focused on issues affecting the TC Programme, including ethics, awareness raising and communication, knowledge management and promoting the participation of women and young professionals.

The NLO for Senegal, Coumba Thiandoume, and NLA for Seychelles, Octavia Rose, shared their experiences, as established collaborators in the region. One of their recommendations was to establish a national steering committee with major stakeholders to discuss issues of common interest, to agree on priorities and to ensure monitoring and communication at the national level.

The workshop was attended by officers and assistants from Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania.

“As you embark on this journey, I would like to assure you that you are not alone. The principles underpinning our joint effort are shared responsibility and cooperation,” Abdulrazak said. “While these principles emphasize the idea of working as partners, I would like to remind you early on that the ownership of the TC programme resides with Member States. The IAEA is here to support you.”

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