16 February 2016

Strengthening Ties for Sustainable Development with GCC Member States

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the opening ceremony of the symposium in Kuwait

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the opening ceremony of the symposium in Kuwait (photo: IAEA)

From climate science and natural resource management, to good health and industry: Nuclear science and technology can drive sustainable development across a broad range. The IAEA's work to harness science and technology to respond to 21st century challenges in sustainable development is the focus of a two-day symposium involving Member States of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), taking place in Kuwait on 15 – 16 February. The six GCC Member States are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"I often summarise the IAEA's mandate as Atoms for Peace and Development", said Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, in his opening speech at the Symposium. He added: "Member States determine their own development priorities. We help them to achieve their goals in areas where nuclear science and technology have a special contribution to make."

The event's objectives are to foster dialogue among relevant stakeholders in GCC Member States and bring together national decision makers, scientific and research institutions and foundations with an interest in science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. The opening statement of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, delivered by His Excellency Mr. Anas Khaled Al-Salah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Oil of Kuwait, pointed out that the regional approach of the symposium "reflects our continued engagement to further promoting regional cooperation with our sister countries of the GCC and through the multilateral channel of the IAEA."

The Symposium also focuses attention on the benefits nuclear science and technology can provide to help address national development priorities in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as other challenges of global and regional significance. "The areas where nuclear techniques can be applied are so diverse. However, there is often a lack of awareness, among authorities, academia, and civil society, about day-to-day applications and the benefits that can be derived," said Adnan Shihab Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.

The Symposium's six sessions address the support Member States receive from the 12 laboratories managed by the IAEA's Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications (NA) in Austria and Monaco. The assistance provided by these facilities include training, analytical services and research. These laboratories are a unique resource in the United Nations system. The benefits of their research are transferred to Member States through a variety of mechanisms, the most important of these being the IAEA Technical Cooperation programme. In relation to this, the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories project (ReNuAL), which will begin the planned modernization of the eight NA laboratories located in Seibersdorf, Austria, is also discussed.

During the symposium, partners from GCC Member States give insights into their own activities in nuclear science and applications, as well as their cooperation with the IAEA and its laboratories, and human resource and institutional developments resulting from their joint work. The IAEA has many partnership mechanisms for strengthening ties with GCC Member States, including direct lab-to-lab cooperation, coordinated research projects and technical cooperation projects.

The symposium is jointly organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Government of the State of Kuwait, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS).

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