The IAEA, and the Department of Technical Cooperation in particular, rely on harmonious and collaborative work with numerous partners over a broad range of policy levels to promote peace and development through the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology.
The Strategy and Partnership Section (TCSPS) of the Division of Programme Support and Coordination is at the forefront of developing and maintaining successful partnerships for the IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation. Part of the work of TCSPS involves streamlining the Country Programme Framework (CPF) process and building networks that support the United Nations one house approach.
Country Programme Frameworks are programming tools that provide a frame of reference for technical cooperation between the IAEA and its Member States in the medium term (4-6 years). They provide a concise frame for national development needs or problems that can be addressed using nuclear science and technology. In support of the Agency’s efforts to align and provide leverage for its technical cooperation activities within the larger development context, the CPF preparation process now makes extensive use of national development plans and United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). UNDAFs are the planning framework for the development operations of the UN system at the country level and help not only to ensure that the application of nuclear techniques is integrated with existing development initiatives and plans, but also to identify areas where such techniques might be usefully deployed.
In the past two years, 13 UNDAFs have been signed, reflecting the Agency’s focus on optimizing development activities at the country level. Currently the Secretariat is engaged in 22 ongoing UNDAF processes to ensure that the TC programme is aligned with the national development priorities reflected in these frameworks.
One outstanding example of the work that is possible within the UNDAF framework is demonstrated in a soil conservation project in Tajikistan titled ‘Developing Soil Conservation Strategies for Improved Soil Health’, part of a technical cooperation effort that started with the assessment of soil erosion and sedimentation for land use.
Limited capacity in former years to monitor national resources has led to poverty due to widespread soil erosion that has affected agricultural lands. A lack of essential soil redistribution information made it impossible for the nation to assess, monitor and address the processes of accelerated natural resource degradation.
The technical cooperation project was developed out of Tajikistan’s identified need for improved national capacities and facilities to provide the basis for soil erosion modelling and land use planning. The IAEA is providing expert advice in field sampling design, laboratory set-up, data interpretation and training, to contribute to a better understanding of the main factors affecting Tajikistan’s soil redistribution. As a result of this assistance, sustainable natural resource management will be possible, based on the identification of cost-effective soil conservation measures. This project has become associated with the project on Sustainable Land Management in the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains (PALM), an integrated transboundary initiative of the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and has involved numerous partners:
- The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other donors which provided financial support to PALM
- The State agencies for environment protection and forestry in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
- Partnerships were established with the University of Bern’s Centre for Development and Environment through the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, and with scientists from Moscow State University
- GEF directed complementary resources to the project through the PALM mechanism
- The United Nations University (UNU) helped to coordinate project activities.
These partners are working with the same Tajik counterparts as the IAEA, in particular the Tajik Soil Science Institute and the Tajik Academy of Agricultural Science, to offer complementary services and assistance.
Increased awareness of Tajik soil erosion trends and the appropriate mitigation and control options will provide the basis for land use planning and decision making and will promote soil and water conservation techniques for sustainable agriculture development in Tajikistan. The establishment of capacity and facilities for efficient and accurate soil erosion assessment in Tajikistan will support soil erosion surveillance not only within the country but also in the vast mountainous territories of Central Asia. The collaborative work of this project is an example of how partnerships can optimize land resource use to benefit the socioeconomic development of a country and a region.