During the Side Event to the Fourth Joint Meeting of SADC Nuclear Regulators’ Network and the Steering Committee of the EU Project MC 5.01 /15 B) which took place on November 27th, 2019 in Gaborone Botswana, the project partners were greeted by ambassador Jan Sadek, Head of the EU Delegation to Botswana and to SADC, who praised the meeting as another illustration of the partnership between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community that covers many areas of mutual interest, including nuclear safety and security. He emphasized that the event is consonant with the objectives of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership (EPA), as it touches on the security/development nexus. The EU feels important that Europe should offer its best practices to its African partners.
Remarks by H E Jan SADEK
Ambassador of the European Union
to the Republic of Botswana and SADC
Master of Ceremonies,
Ms Mogami, Secretary for Justice
Ms. Zwikula , Acting Director, Radiation Protection Inspectorate, Botswana;
Dr. Messaoud Baaliouamer, Exec Secr, African Commission on Nuclear Energy
Members of the Diplomatic Corps, incl EU Member States
Representatives of SADC Secretariat and Member States
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today and to have been invited to take part on the launch of this side event in the field of radiation and nuclear safeguards. Today’s event is part of the EU funded project Support to the Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards managed by the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) and led by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).
This pilot project is also the most ambitious and important geographic outreach under the INSC towards third countries, namely towards the African continent. The event is yet another illustration of the partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that covers many areas of mutual interest, like regional economic integration and industrialization, peace and security, natural resources management and capacity building to regional institutions, and certainly also nuclear safety and security.
Uranium mining activities are developing rapidly in Africa and gradually more countries are considering starting uranium mining activities. Exporting uranium ore concentrate poses a number of challenges that con not be tackled only at a national level. For example, for many SADC countries it implies cross-border transportation through neighbouring states. Therefore, a high degree of cooperation at regional level is needed to ensure safety and security and avoid Illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials. Modern detection equipment along with appropriate capacity development can prevent and help in counteracting illicit trafficking.
This project, designed in mutual consultations between European and African partners, focuses on uranium mining, milling and transport and it involves four countries, namely Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia. It will develop a regional case study and establish nuclear safety and safeguard provisions in each country for both the licensing and control of uranium-mining activities and transport. The project will further identify and address training needs, and will provide a web-based communication system for incidents, movement of nuclear materials, exchanging documents, etc.
This is a good example of peer to peer cooperation by which Europe can offer some of its best practices. For instance, the European Regulatory Cooperation Forum brings together European countries with advanced nuclear energy sector, as well as smaller countries with emerging nuclear power programs. Nuclear regulators in SADC countries may wish to follow this model to have a forum that unites diverse countries with nuclear sectors at different stages of development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The EU has a large toolbox of EU policy instruments that can be used in a coordinated manner to support specific policy areas. Apart from the aforementioned Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), DG DEVCO through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (ICSP) has created eight EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation (EU CBRN) Centres of Excellence, in which national teams from 60 countries (half of them African) cooperate to reinforce their preparedness and capacity to respond to natural and accidental CBRN hazard events through the elaboration of needs and risks assessments and National Action Plans.
The Centers of Excellence Initiative aims at strengthening national CBRN policies and capacities in partner countries and promoting national, regional and international cooperation on CBRN risk mitigation. In the absence of such a Center in Southern Africa, it may very well be that SADC, by assuming coordination functions, creating specialised units and working groups, can play a useful role in updating the national legislature and preventive policies.
Nowadays many joint undertakings depend on the technologies applied. In this sense I wish to refer to another European good practice, namely the real-time on-line decision support system (RODOS) for off-site emergency management, which collects all relevant data information in a fast, continuous, comprehensive and consistent manner.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The web-based communication system under the current Project may pave the way for African countries to follow also this example. The system provides an opportunity for information sharing among the authorities of participating countries while allowing for other SADC countries to take part upon request. The information, technology and security (ITS) trainings provided by the project have allowed participants to become familiar with the software and identify future capacity development needs.
The project has also allowed for conducting a very successful study visit to Finland in June 2019 and stands ready to offer additional study tours or exchange of experiences in the field of radiation and nuclear safety and safeguards, for example to emergency first responders.
Finally, we, at the EU, are proud to be associated with the involvement of civil society and professional organizations that can have a very important role in contributing to achieving a greater degree of safety and safeguards in the nuclear field. One of the initiators of today’s forum is African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN), a youth led, non-profit and non-partisan organisation which was founded in March 2017, bringing together national networks of young professionals in the nuclear field and other related disciplines. AYGN works through its national networks in educating the general public and facilitating knowledge transfer from the current generation of leading nuclear experts to the young generations. Last month AYGN held it Second African Summit in South Africa, and the EU was again present, through the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), to witness and support the growth of youth's enthusiasm and talent.
Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen
In closing, allow me to thank on behalf of the EU, the International Science and Technology Center for implementing this important project and convening this meeting, as well as the SADC secretariat and the experts from SADC member states present here today. I wish you all a very fruitful discussion and success in advancing in our common agenda,
Ke a leboga. Pula!