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Interregional Consultative Meeting held

Interregional Consultative Meeting of Policy-Decision Makers on the establishment of a National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety


16 December 2015| More than 50 high-level policy and decision-makers from national ministries and regulatory bodies from Member States in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America gathered together on 16-17 December at the IAEA Headquarters to participate in a 'Consultative Meeting on the establishment of a National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety'.

The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness among the policy-decision makers about the importance of building sustainable competence in radiation safety through the establishment of a national strategy for education and training, with the aim of encouraging their commitment to facilitate adoption of this approach.

Mr Juan Carlos Lentijo, Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Mr Dazhu Yang, DDG of the Department of Technical Cooperation, provided opening remarks during the Opening session. DDG Lentijo invited the participants in the meeting to move 'from a reactive to a proactive approach in building competence' to make 'national radiation safety infrastructure more robust, more sustainable, and more effective' in order 'to take full benefit and advantage from the safe use of ionizing radiation'.

The meeting was very participative with emphasis on discussions. Delegates from Member States from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa regions chaired the sessions. The first session 'Setting the scene' was chaired by Ms Maia Bitadze, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia. This session addressed the benefits from adopting a national strategy for education and training in radiation safety. A discussion was held on the concept of the strategic approach and its key factors for success, including Countries' ownership, needs-driven approach and optimization of national and IAEA's resources. Mr Peter Johnston, Director of the Division of Radiation Transport and Waste Safety (NSRW), highlighted that the many benefits of radiation technologies can only be fully realized when there is an associated high-level of radiation safety - which requires an educated, trained and competent workforce. Mr Andrea Luciani, radiation safety training specialist, NSRW, presented a sustainable approach to build competence in radiation safety through a national strategy for education and training. He emphasized that this approach should start with an in-depth analysis of the national situation considering: radiation technologies currently used in the country; legal and regulatory requirements for education and training in radiation safety; and what education and training courses are currently available. The output from the analysis could then be used to develop the national education and training programme needed to address the needs. Some of the points raised during the discussion that followed the presentations were: whether the national strategy on education and training should be incorporated with other national strategies or stand alone; the difficulties faced by countries with limited resources; the importance of the stakeholders' participation; and the ways to facilitate Member States in their processes of accreditation of training providers.

The next session 'Experience gained, challenges faced and solutions adopted by Member States in establishing a national strategy for education and training', was chaired by Mr Abdelmajid Caoui, ex-Secretary General of the Moroccan National Centre for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (CNSTEN). Participants from Cuba, Ghana, Greece, Mauritania, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Uruguay shared their experience on the establishment of their national strategy. Different stages of development in the establishment of a national strategy were covered. Examples were provided for Member States that have: received an expert mission to initiate the process; organized a national workshop with national main stakeholders to draft the policy or strategy and for completing some specific tasks (e.g. analysis of the training needs); developed a national education and training programme; developed a national policy and strategy. The topics discussed included: common challenges; country-specific solutions, leading organization and involvement of other national stakeholders; development and endorsement of national policy and strategy. The discussions that followed the presentations highlighted that the commitment of the government and national stakeholders is a key-factor to success. The different national approaches discussed provided valid examples for Member States to implement the IAEA methodology for the development of their national strategy focusing on their own priorities.

The Closing session was chaired by Ms Maria Esther Anchia, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health, Costa Rica. A summary of the sessions was provided followed by a discussion on the path forward. In the conclusions of the meeting it was recognized that the sharing of experience had been very valuable.

The meeting participants noted that adopting a strategic approach to education and training that is based on national needs and that is specifically tailored to national situation will enable competence in radiation safety to be developed through education and training in an effective and efficient manner. Important factors to consider when developing the strategy include: planned as well as current uses of radiation technology; an analysis of currently available education and training resources; plus an appraisal of regulatory requirements for education, training and competence in radiation safety.

It was also noted that the successful development and implementation of the strategy depends heavily on government commitment. Other points recognized were: the establishment of a national steering committee composed of all key stakeholders would greatly facilitate the development and oversight of the national strategy; the involvement of the regulatory body is essential, with exact role being dependant on the national arrangements; endorsement of the policy is a government responsibility; funding can be a challenge and adequate resources must be allocated by the government for the development and implementation of the strategy.

From the IAEA perspective, the Secretariat will continue to provide assistance to Member States in the development of the national strategy, as well as supporting education and training events that are tailored to regional and national needs.

Closing remarks were made by the chair-person of the session followed by Mr Luis Longoria, Director of the IAEA Division for Latin America, with the final remarks being made by Mr Peter Johnston, Director of NSRW, who then closed the meeting.

Background

The IAEA 'Strategic Approach to Education and Training in radiation, transport and waste safety (2011-2020)' (Note 44 to the Board, September 2010 ) recognizes the importance of Member States developing and implementing national strategies to strengthen education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety in order to achieve the desired level of competence.

In 2012-2015 20 workshops were held in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish under the projects RAF/9/048, RAS/9/066, RER/9/109, RLA/9/070 and RLA/9/075 to support Member States to establish a national strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety according to the methodology developed by the IAEA. One of the main conclusions of these workshops was that a strong support and clear commitment of national policy-makers and relevant authorities is definitely required for an effective establishment of a national strategy.

Outputs

  • Commitment of participating Member States on the development of a National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety
  • Experience shared among Member States on initiatives taken, challenges faced and solutions rendered to establish the national strategy
  • Awareness raised on the need of: addressing sustainability when building competence in radiation protection and safety; optimizing national resources in complementation to IAEA's assistance; planning human resources' development on the basis of the actual training needs

Audience

The workshop was primarily addressed to senior officials of governmental authorities and/or heads of regulatory bodies who have, or may have, a lead role in establishing a national strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety.

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| Last update: Tuesday, 01 March, 2016.