The newly appointed members of the three AFRA management committees (Programme Management Committee (PMC), Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization Committee (PBRMC) and the High-Level Steering Committee (HLSC) for Human Resource Development and Nuclear Knowledge Management met in Vienna from 8 to 12 November 2021 to discuss and agree on AFRA policy and programme-related matters and develop AFRA’s 2022 Action Plans.
The meeting started with a two-day induction workshop of AFRA Committees’ members following their recent appointment during the 32nd Meeting of AFRA Representatives held in September 2021 and was followed by three days of committee meetings to review, develop, and adopt their respective annual priorities and corresponding work plans.
AFRA Chairman Ali Ada welcomed participants at the meeting’s opening, expressing satisfaction with AFRA’s decision to appoint women to 60% of the committees’ seats.
During the induction workshop, the committees’ members heard presentations on the TC programme, with focus on the regional programme for Africa and IAEA flagship initiatives such as ZODIAC, NUTEC Plastics and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme. Relevant TC processes were introduced, including project formulation, implementation and closure, partnerships and resource mobilization, and the financial management of the TC programme.
AFRA committees’ members are encouraged to focus on key issues that can benefit from nuclear science and technology, with a view to contributing to the achievement of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals and the strategic objectives of Agenda 2063 of the African Union. TCAF Director Shaukat Abdulrazak (DIR-TCAF) emphasized the importance of promoting research, training-of-trainers, and establishing regional nuclear science and technology training centres. He also underscored strengthening the sustainability of the results achieved by AFRA projects and building synergies and complementarity between the regional projects and the national projects.
In his statement, Liu Hua, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation (DDG-TC), encouraged AFRA to focus on the priorities of the African region. Stressing the importance of energy, he called on AFRA's leadership to pay attention to the progress being made in the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which represent a real opportunity to meet Africa's energy needs.
Recognizing that the support provided by the Agency, while important, is not sufficient in itself to help build the capacities of AFRA States Parties in nuclear science and technology, DDG-TC encouraged AFRA’s leadership to explore other sources of funding and establish meaningful partnerships. In particular, he stressed the importance of partnering with the African Development Bank, as well as other development agencies working in Africa, emphasizing the importance of engaging with the private sector and South-South cooperation.
At the end of the meeting, the 2022 work plan of the new committees was approved. Members agreed to continue to work together online to take their work forward until the next committee meeting in May 2022.