How to strengthen the implementation and planning of the IAEA technical cooperation (TC) programme in Europe and Central Asia was the topic of discussion among 46 National Liaison Officers and Assistants in a meeting in Vienna last week, on the margins of the IAEA’s 64th General Conference. National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and Assistants (NLAs) form the primary contact point between the Agency and its Member State on matters relating to the IAEA, and particularly to the TC programme.
In his opening remarks to participants, Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the TC Department, highlighted the Agency’s ongoing implementation of its largest TC project to date in support of Member State efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that testing equipment and consumables had been delivered to 23 countries in Europe and Central Asia. “Nuclear science and technology continue to demonstrate their unique role in sustainable development, as well as in emergency response,” he said.
Stressing the importance of enhancing the shared responsibility for the TC programme between Member States and the Secretariat, Eve-Külli Kala, the newly-appointed Director of the TC Division for Europe, said: “It is especially crucial today, when the global community is facing unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to remain committed to joining our efforts in common cause to deliver the programme.”
At the meeting, presentations were delivered on the current implementation status of the ongoing 2020-2021 TC programme, with a particular focus on the challenges faced, and mitigation measures taken, in delivering services to Member States during the pandemic.
An update on planning for the 2022-2023 TC cycle was provided, covering important actions and milestones to come in the months ahead. Participants were also given a short overview of the Agency’s new Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action project, an initiative launched in June 2020 to help countries prevent pandemics caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses that originate in animals and can be transmitted to humans.
During the meeting, participants raised several issues, including how best to further strengthen project implementation in view of the ongoing global pandemic. National Liaison Officers play a key role in helping the IAEA to understand the country’s needs and helping the country to fully benefit from IAEA services, and National Liaison Assistant supports those activities. The participants agreed to conduct an in-depth review of the regional programme’s planned activities, including a thorough assessment based on the priorities set out in national Country Programme Frameworks and regional strategic documents.
National Liaison Officers and Assistants from 30 countries from the Europe region participated in the meeting, including delegates from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
A series of five interactive webinars have been scheduled to take place between 1 and 16 October 2020, to provide additional, more detailed information for national counterparts on the implementation of the TC programme.
The webinars will explain the roles and responsibilities that underpin the management and implementation of the technical cooperation programme. Designed for national project counterparts, lead project coordinators (LPCs) of regional projects, and NLOs and NLAs, the webinar series will provide a complete overview of the programme’s procedures and operational modalities, concentrating on essential timelines and milestones for implementation.
“This new online resource will offer a suite of tools available to Member States to facilitate collaborative work and distance learning with our main focal points in the Member States,” said Emina Alic, IAEA Programme Management Officer.