From March 27-30, 2018, the RCA Conference of National Coordinators took place in Busan, South Korea, with the participation of 21 RCA members (Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Newzealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Nepal, Palau, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
Attending the conference were Ms. Najat Mokhtar, Director of the Division for Asia and Pacific in the IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation; Mr. Hoang Van Sinh, RCA Focal Person, TCAP, IAEA; Mr. Hai Joo Moon, Director of the RCA Regional Offfice (RCARO) and Vienne – based Permanent Missions of RCA Member States.
The RCA Conference of National Coordinators is an annual RCA activity that discusses issues related to strategy, policy and general management of the RCA programme, reviews activities, evaluates the progress and the results of the RCA projects throughout the year and approves RCA programme for the next phase.
The representatives of Vietnam who participated in the 40th RCA National Coordinator Conference, included Dr. Nguyen Hao Quang, Vice – President of Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM), RCA National Coordinator of Vietnam and RCA staff of VINATOM.
The meeting approved the results of the activities undertaken after the 46th RCA Plenary Meeting, reviewed the 2017 RCA Annual Report and the implementation of the 2017 RCA programme. In 2017 , Vietnam has actively participated in 13 IAEA / RCA (RAS) projects, mainly involved in short courses, conferences, professional seminars, meetings for planning, evaluating and summarizing the project. In particular, in 2017, Vietnam has successfully hosted the RAS / 6/083 Annual Report Session and the Nuclear Medicine Workshop on Diagnosis and Treatment from 20 to 24 February 2017 at Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi. In addition, from 3 to 7 July 2017 in Hanoi, the Institute of Agricultural Genetics also hosted the successful meeting for reviewing the progress of RAS / 5707 Project on “Develop bioenergy crops to optimize marginal land productivity through mutation breeding and related techniques.”
At the Conference, Lead Country Coordinators presented progress reports and results of 10/13 IAEA/RCA projects launched 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.
This Conference specially devotes much of its time to discussing and deciding on project proposals that will continue their design phases and submit them to IAEA for approval across the period 2020-2021. The participants agreed 06 project proposals with the highest priority based on the general needs of their own regions, 01 project on response to radiation incidents funded by the Government of Korea, 01 project on overall management will keep on the completion of the project design for submission to the IAEA. Among six proposals proposed by the Conference was a Vietnamese one on “Enhancing Food Irradiation using EB or X-Ray to Ensure Food Security in the context of Climate Change.”
Regarding the general management policy, the conference also agreed to merge the three HRD groups, including Financial Goal Analysis, Mobilization of Resources (FGA & RM) and the Medium-term development Strategy for 2018-2023 (MTS 2018-2023) into a joint working group on coordinating medium-term strategies for the period 2018-2023 (RCA MTS 2018-2023 Coordination). The participants basically agreed with the model and mission of this new working group.
At the Conference, the participants agreed that cooperation between RCA and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) and other regional cooperation agreements in the field of science and technology should be strengthened, to enhance inter-regional capacity under the auspices of the IAEA (The African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology – AFRA agreement, 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 agreement – ARCAL).
The Conference highly appreciated the RCA Regional Office’s contribution to regional co-operation through the administrative support to the IAEA to host major events within the framework of the RCA. RCA’s image promotion activities, as well as the organization of professional training courses, specialized seminars held by RCARO or UNDP, KAERI, KIRAMS etc.
On mobilizing financial resources to promote the RCA programme, the conference calls on RCA Member States to make additional contributions to RCA’s activities as the TC Fund is increasingly tight. This contribution will be based on voluntariness and the capacity of each Member State.
In order to effectively cooperate in the framework of RCA, Vietnam should focus on developing domestic research projects and activities which match up RCA’s projects, corresponding to medium-term strategies (MTS) and RCA general needs. In the period of 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, Vietnam has actively built up the RCA project proposals, initially having a domestic research theme in line with RCA’s general project and need to keep up in the next stages.
Pham Thi Thu Trang, Department of Planning and R&D Management