Press – release (pictures courtesy of IAEA)

26 July 2012

Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the IAEA

South Africa enhances its co-operation with the IAEA.

On 20 July 2012, the Government of South Africa made a contribution of R15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million Rand), equivalent to approximately 1,5 million Euro  paid from the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund (ARF) in support of the IAEA efforts to strengthen animal diseases diagnostic capacities in veterinary laboratories in pre-determined Member States from Africa. The South African contribution will be utilised by the Joint FAO-IAEA Division’s veterinary laboratory network, which was so successful during the Rinderpest eradication campaign.

This contribution will be used for the IAEA project on the improvement of veterinary laboratory capacities in Sub-Saharan countries, and will be implemented through technical assistance and support from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. The partner institutions of this project include the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as well as the Governments of Japan and the United States of America. The total cost of this project is approximately 3 million Euros, and will be implemented over a four year period.

The objective of this project is to support Sub-Saharan African countries affected by transboundary diseases (TADs) through building and enhancing capacities for animal disease diagnosis in a sustainable manner. This will be done through training but also by providing adequate equipment and reagents to enable implementation of different disease diagnostic tests, in particular molecular biology and nuclear-based techniques, guidelines and expert backstopping and support. One of the objectives is to promote a collaborative network in each region. To reduce the cost of the project, main support will be provided to one laboratory per region with a number of satellite laboratories. Countries involved in the project are the following:

- In West Africa:
Côte d’Ivoire as main laboratory, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali.

- In East and Central Africa:
Ethiopia as main laboratory, Tanzania, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo.

- In Southern Africa:
Botswana as main laboratory, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia.

The “on-site” technical laboratory support (infrastructure improvements, staff training and capacity building, transfer of technologies, implementation of tests, technical backstopping) that will be provided to veterinary laboratories in those countries will complement the efforts made by FAO to establish regional veterinary laboratories to react to regional animal health risks (mainly supported through the Avian Influenza H5N1 campaign). In addition to this objective, and linked to it, will be to carry out the validation of new generation molecular-based Nuclear and Nuclear related diagnostic techniques and their transfer and implementation to African countries. It is foreseen that this project will utilize all expertise in the IAEA and involve all the technical, operational and administrative departments to achieve the expectations of setting up reference veterinary diagnostic laboratories in a sustainable and value added manner.

South Africa encourages other IAEA Member States to make contributions to this important project.

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