From 16 through 19 September 2019 the ISTC Executive Director David Cleave and members of the ISTC Secretariat visited Vienna to participate in meetings and activities during the IAEA 63rd General Conference.
The General Conference, the IAEA central annual event, brought to Vienna over 3000 participants, including delegates from 152 IAEA’s Member States, and from international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the media. In his opening statement Acting IAEA Director General Cornel Feruta emphasized the Agency’s extensive work in helping Member States to keep nuclear and radioactive material and technologies safe and secure. This message was also addressed to African countries, where ISTC is engaged in implementation of EU-funded projects.
A total of 86 side-events took place during the GC 63 week showcasing the innovative work underway at the IAEA and in Member States using nuclear technologies. One of the most interesting among them proved to be the EU Side Event entitled: “Stronger Nuclear Security Through Effective Cooperation: EU Support Through Centres of Excellence in Eastern and Central Africa”, and organized by the European Commission, and featuring ISTC-implemented projects.
ISTC Executive Director David Cleave held a number of bilateral meetings with ISTC existing and prospective Partners:
In his meeting with Mr. Andreas Persbo, the Executive Director of Verification, Research, Training and Information Center (VERTIC), the interlocutors noted with satisfaction the useful cooperation between the two organizations, particularly since VERTIC became the most recent Partner of ISTC. The joint accomplishments include the successful implementation of the EU-funded ISTC-led Project 53 on biosafety and biosecurity in the Central Asian countries, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Pakistan – beneficiaries that are for the most part either ISTC State Parties or potential candidates for membership. At the same time, another ISTC State Party – Norway, has developed with VERTIC a project in science diplomacy in favor of nonproliferation, that ISTC may seek to support.
Mr. David Cleave met also Ms. Elena Sokova, the Executive Director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), a renowned international non-governmental organization established on the initiative of the Austrian Foreign Ministry and operated by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. The two Executive Directors expressed satisfaction from interaction between ISTC and VCDNP in the framework of a project on seismic themes, and agreed to expand and deepen that cooperation for the purposes of helping several interested African states gain greater degree of nuclear and radiation safety and security, in particular through the ISTC – implemented EU projects in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Sitting together on the EU Side Event Panel, the ISTC Executive Director and the Executive Secretary Messaoud Baalioumer of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) met for a third time in the last three months to continue their constructive dialogue that started in Pretoria, at AFCONE’s Headquarters, in July 2019, and led to the signature of the bilateral Memorandum of Cooperation, in August 2019, in Nur-Sultan, at ISTC Main Office. The agreement set up a framework for interaction in areas of common interests especially in scientific, technological and innovation-based research and capacity building programs.
In Vienna the ISTC Delegation continued also the dialogue with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), that started in Nairobi earlier this year, during the working visit of the ISTC Management to Kenya. During the meeting with KEBS Managing Director Dr. Henry Rotich, the organization’s candidacy to become ISTC Partner came into scrutiny, as well as the prospects for a structured relationship between ISTC and the Government of Kenya.
On the fringes of the IAEA General Conference Executive Director David Cleave greeted also Mr. Gaopalelwe Santswere, President of the African Young Generation in Nuclear, the continental chapter of the International Youth Nuclear Congress. ISTC supported the First African Youth Nuclear Summit in 2017, and also will be among the sponsors of the Second Summit to be convened in Centurion, South Africa, between 6 and 11 October 2019.
The ISTC Delegation visited the stands of several ISTC State Parties and potential candidates at the special nuclear technology exhibition – the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Jordan, UAE, South Africa, as well as the corner of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology.
Kamen Velichkov, ISTC SPM and Diplomatic Advisor attended the working meetings of the Executive Director during the visit and participated in the discussions on the EU-funded ISTC-implemented projects in Africa.