From March 27th to 30th, 40th Regional Meeting of National RCA Representatives took place in Busan, South Korea, which gathered 21 RCA member states: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Nepal, Palau, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. This year’s Meeting was attended by Ms. Najat Mokhtar, Director of the Division for Asia and the Pacific in the IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation; Mr. Hoang Van Sinh, RCA Focal Person; Mr. Hai Joo Moon, Director of RCA Regional Office (RCARO), and Vienna-based Permanent Missions of RCA member states.
The Regional Meeting of National RCA Representatives is organized annually to discuss issues related to strategy, policy and management of the RCA Programme, review on activities, evaluate progress and results of RCA projects throughout the year and approve on RCA programme for the next phase.
Vietnamese delegation participating the 40th National RCA Representatives Meeting (NRM) included Dr. Nguyen Hao Quang, Vice President of Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM), National RCA Representative of Vietnam and one officer of VINATOM who is in charge of RCA activities.
The 40th NRM approved the Report on the follow-up actions of the 46th RCA General Conference Meeting (GCM), reviewed the 2017 RCA Annual Report and the implementation of the 2017 RCA Programme. In 2017, Vietnam actively participated in 13 IAEA/RCA (RAS) projects, mainly in short training courses, workshops and meetings for planning, coordinating, evaluating and finalizing the projects. In particular, in 2017, Vietnam successfully hosted the RAS/6/083 Mid-term Review Meeting and Workshop in Theranostics, from February 20th to 24th, 2017 at Bach Mai hospital, Hanoi. In addition, from July 3rd to 7th, 2017 in Hanoi, the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI) fruitfully hosted the Coordination Meeting to review the Progress of the Field Trials under the project RAS/5/070 on “Developing Bioenergy Crops to Optimize Marginal Land Productivity through Mutation Breeding and Related Techniques.”
At the Meeting, Lead Country Coordinators (LCCs) presented progress reports and results of 10/13 IAEA/RCA projects carried out in 2017. Most of the projects have obtained certain achievements, contributing positively to the development of nuclear science and technology and the application of nuclear technology in the socio-economic sectors of RCA Member States.
Particularly, the majority of this Meeting’s duration was spent on discussion and decision making on project proposals to be continued their designing phases and submitted to the IAEA for approval in the period of 2020-2021. The participants agreed on 06 project proposals with the highest level of priority based on the regional needs, 01 proposal on radioactive incidents response funded by the Government of South Korea, 01 proposal on Management of the RCA Agreement and its Programme. One of six chosen proposals was Vietnamese one titled “Promoting food irradiation by EB and X-ray technology to ensure food security in the Asia Pacific region in the context of climate change”.
Regarding general management policy, the Meeting agreed to integrate the three groups of Human Resources Development (HRD), Financial Gap Analysis and Resource Mobilization (FGA&RM), and Mid Term Strategy 2018-2013 (MTS 2018-2023). Participants basically endorsed the new structure and TOR of the new working group (WG).
Attendees of 40th Regional Meeting assented to promote the cooperation, information exchange and experience sharing between RCA and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) and other concerning regional agreements under the auspices of the IAEA (The African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology – AFRA, The Cooperative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology – ARASIA and Regional Cooperative Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean– ARCAL).
The Meeting highly appreciated the RCA Regional Office (RCARO)’s contribution to the regional cooperation through the administrative support to the IAEA within RCA’s framework, RCA’s awareness promotion activities, as well as the organization of training courses hosted fully or partially by RCARO and UNDP, KAERI, KIRAMS, etc.
In terms of financial mobilization for the operation of RCA programme, RCA Member States are encouraged to make additional donation to RCA’s activities as the TC Fund is getting tight. This contribution is based on voluntariness and capacity of each Member State.
In order to take advantage of cooperative activities within RCA framework, Vietnam should focus more on preparing project proposals, synchronizing domestic research theme with RCA projects, matching the mid-term strategy and the regional needs. In the periods of 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, Vietnam has actively built up project proposals which initially meet these criteria, and this should be maintained in the upcoming periods.