On the occasion of the IAEA’s 64th annual General Conference, country representatives and delegates to the Cooperative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology’s (ARASIA) convened their annual meeting of Board of Representatives, held virtually on 22 September, to review the implementation of the technical cooperation (TC) projects and to finalize arrangements for the forthcoming 2022-2023 TC cycle.
“The annual meeting with the ARASIA Board of Representatives has always been a platform to discuss actions and make decisions that support the sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness of the ARASIA programme,” explained Dazhu Yang, Deputy Director General of the Department of Technical Cooperation, who drew attention to the successful virtualization of many activities, from coordination meetings to training courses. “In this regard, let me congratulate ARASIA National Representatives on reaching a high level of implementation.”
In her remarks to the participants, Deputy Director General of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications Najat Mokhtar underscored the growing expertise and capacities available in the region, and drew attention to increasing use of the designated Regional Resource Centres: “I celebrate with you the opening of the first ARASIA Regional Resource Centres in Nuclear Medicine, in Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, the first of many such centres in key development areas that will help build regional institutional and human capacity and will contribute to enhanced south-south cooperation,” said Mokhtar.
The meeting’s 42 participants, including representatives from 8 Member States, built upon the consensus developed during the May 2020 meeting of the ARASIA Board by re-engaging with the previously-identified project designs, which channel regional activities and ambitions in the areas of human health, food and agriculture and the environment into three ‘mega’ projects.
Focusing on the future effectiveness of the ARASIA agreement, the meeting’s attendees turned their attention to the growing need to designate ARASIA Resource Centres for particular thematic areas. The Centre for nuclear medicine has already been designated, and the participants agreed that efforts must now be made to identify and begin the process of designating new Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDL) as resource centres.
Finally, the participants also discussed the preparations for the next annual Board of Representatives meeting, scheduled to take place in April 2021 in Amman, Jordan.
The Cooperative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (ARASIA) entered into force on 29 July 2002. In cooperation with the IAEA, the ARASIA agreement promotes and coordinates activities for training, research, development and applications of nuclear science and technology in its State Parties.