A working visit of the Management of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) to Kenya took place from 23 through 25 July 2019, followed by a visit to South Africa from 26 through 29 July 2019. The delegation comprised Ambassador Ronald F. Lehman, Chairman of ISTC Governing Board; Eddie Maier, Deputy Head of Unit and Head of CBRN Sector, EC DEVCO B.5, EU REPRESENTATIVE AT THE Governing Board; David Cleave, Executive Director, ISTC;Willem Janssens, Head of Department of Nuclear Security and Safeguards, European Commission (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC); Kamen Velichkov, Senior Project Manager and Diplomatic Advisor, ISTC.
The working visits aimed to raise awareness at senior government levels of Kenya and of South Africa of the growing relevance of the renewed ISTC mandate in the volatile international security environment. The 2015 ISTC Continuing Agreement calls on the organization to broaden the thematic and geographical scope of its activities. In this context, ISTC is reaching out to selected potential new member countries in various regions, including Africa.
ISTC duly recognizes the participation of Kenya and of RSA nationals and entities in ISTC-implemented projects in Africa, funded by the EU Instrument supporting Stability and Peace and the Instrument for Nuclear Security Cooperation. While building on the accumulated experience from two nuclear projects, the mission sought to enlarge public support and to depict a larger spectrum of possibilities for cooperation that are of interest to potential partners from among the scientific and research communities, the universities, the specialized government agencies, the communities of practitioners, young professionals’ associations, the private sector, etc.;
In Nairobi the ISTC Management held meetings with the Kenya National Academy of Sciences; the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI); the Kenya Bureau of Standards; the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum; the Radiation Protection Board; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. The CBRN National Focal Point Ali Gakweli said it was an honor for Kenya to receive the ISTC mission in Nairobi, pointing out that many Kenyan experts benefitted from ISTC training, courtesy of CBRN Project-60 in East and Central Africa.
On the occasion of the ISTC Management visit, the Kenya Young Generation in Nuclear convened a special forum to allow for better interaction between the ISTC and potential stakeholders in Kenya. The event took place at the Intercontinental hotel with participation from government officials from KEBS, the Government Chemist Department, the University of Nairobi, the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Technical University of Kenya, the Nuclear Power & Energy Agency (NuPEA), the National Disaster Management Unit (NMDU), NACOSTI, Kenyatta National Hospital, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture, etc.
The meetings of the ISTC Management in South Africa started by a discussion with Professor Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Witwatersrand, the renowned research-intensive institution that hosts the African Research Universities Alliance. The ISTC Delegation was received by senior government officials at the Department for Science and Technology; the Department of Industry and Trade; the Department of International Relations and Cooperation; the National Nuclear Regulator; etc.
The ISTC Management became the first foreign delegation to officially visit the new Pretoria Headquarters of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), the custodian of the Pelindaba Treaty. The ISTC senior managers were received by Messaoud Baalioumer, Executive Secretary of AFCONE, and Adam Senoussi, Vice Chair, as well as members of the Secretariat. AFCONE and ISTC established relations in April 2019 when Dr Messaoud Baaliouamer took part in the Second Joint Meeting of the SADC Nuclear Regulators Network and the 5th Steering Committee Meeting of Project MC.01/15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards in Arusha, Tanzania. He underlined the importance of the project for capacity building in the SADC region, one of the most disadvantaged sub-regions of AFCONE. The Executive Directors of AFCONE and of ISTC agreed to elaborate a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two organizations and sign it before or during the visit of Dr. Messaoud Baaliouamer to the ISTC Main Office in Nur Sultan in August 2019.
The members of the ISTC delegations made presentations at a specially convened seminar for South African and SADC universities; participated in a Regional Training Workshop organized by AFCONE and IAEA on the topic of Strengthening and Establishing the State System of Accounting for the Control of Nuclear Material in African States Parties to the Pelindaba Treaty; and attended the 21st annual Awards Gala Dinner of the National Science and Technology Forum, alongside with more than 500 scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, data and research managers. The celebration of the South African Science Oscars was consonant with the spirit and nature of the entire working visit of ISTC Management to Africa.