By David Borak, IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation
The IAEA was named the Partner of the Month for December 2020 on the South-South Galaxy (SSG) platform of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). The page showcases some of the examples of South-South and triangular cooperation facilitated through the IAEA’s technical cooperation (TC) programme.
UNOSSC, established in 1974, promotes, coordinates and supports South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. In March 2019, the IAEA collaborated with UNOSSC on a special edition of their publication, South-South in Action, which focused on the IAEA’s role in promoting sustainable development through the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.
“South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation have strengthened the impact of the work of the IAEA in transferring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to countries around the world,” said Director at the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Department, Dazhu Yang. “They have made technology transfer more closely aligned to the needs and priorities of beneficiary countries, fostered the efficient use of limited resources and reinforced national ownership and therefore sustainability of activities.”
South-South cooperation is a broad framework of collaboration among developing countries. It can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals. Triangular cooperation is collaboration in which traditional donor countries or multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems as well as other forms of support.
Many middle-income countries have acquired a high level of expertise in nuclear technology in areas such as human health and agriculture, and many actively support neighbouring countries, for example by providing training on nuclear techniques to doctors and scientists. South-South cooperation makes a vital contribution to helping the IAEA to deliver its support to its Member States.
With advanced equipment and IAEA support, medical staff in Bangladesh are expanding nuclear medicine and cancer treatment services for the country’s growing population. Over 500 more patients a year can now get vital medical exams thanks to a new nuclear imaging machine up and running in Bangladesh.
SSG serves as a consolidated South-South solutions platform for southern partners and the UN system, and acts as a one-stop-shop for all partners to utilize. SSG also hosts a database of hundreds of development solutions from UN organizations, member states, international organizations, NGOs, private sector entities and other development partners. The IAEA has contributed Good Practices to the SSG platform that are replicable, sustainable and scalable, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For example, the IAEA is currently implementing an ongoing large-scale project to support 13 countries in the Sahel region in Africa to enhance decision-making processes for the characterisation, management and monitoring of shared groundwater resources. By building capacities in water sampling and isotope hydrology, the IAEA has enabled over 100 scientists and technicians in the region to study the features of the main aquifers as well as the interaction between water bodies, and to assess the vulnerability of groundwater to pollution and the impact of climate change on water availability. The participating countries performed joint sampling campaigns in shared resources and pooled results.
In 2020, the IAEA launched a four-year technical cooperation project with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) aimed at establishing basic non-destructive testing infrastructure for building hydropower plants for electricity generation which need to meet international safety standards. The project is implemented with the support of experts from Viet Nam, addressing one of the areas of cooperation identified and agreed upon in a formal agreement signed in 2019 between the IAEA, Lao PDR and Viet Nam on Strengthening South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Implementation of the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme.
The IAEA’s partnership with the UNOSSC will allow practices like these to be shared via the SSG platform.