The Philippines hosted last 22 to 26 August the Regional Workshop for Planning of Waste Management Activities on East Asia ant the Pacific, with twelve foreign delegates and three local participants in attendance.
The Workshop was conducted under the framework of the IAEA interregional project on "Sustainabe Technologies for Managing Radioactive Waste", which is under the technical charge of Mr. Mohamed Al-Mughrabi. It provided a venue for addressing policy and operational issues concerning radioactive waste management, with special emphasis on managing sealed radioactive sources.
Representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand gave country presentations that highlighted the key issues they were facing, while also identifying priorities that they seek to be addressed in a potential regional project for the next cycle 2007-2008.
The Planning Workshop was chaired by Ms. Eulinia M. Valdezco, Chief of PNRI's Regulatory Division.
IAEA's Programme Management Officer for the Philippines, Dr. Reyad Kamel, was in town a few days ago (22 - 27 August) to review the progress of the ongoing Technical Cooperation projects of the Philippines with IAEA and to discuss programming prospectives for the next project cycle.
While on his one-week mission, Dr. Kamel had the chance to meet with the Secretary of the Department of Science & Technology, top officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and with the local project counterparts and collaborators.
He was also able to conduct a national seminar detailing the latest Technical Cooperation trends and strategies being adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Philippines currently implements national Technical Cooperation projects in the following areas: enhancing agricultural productivity through radiation technology, water resources management, assessment of erosion and sedimentation processes, evaluation of air pollution, training in non-destructive testing, siting for a near-surface disposal facility, and the upgrading of the existing gamma irradiation facility.
The RCA Regional Office (RCARO) in Korea has sent its Special Advisor, Dr. Carlito R. Aleta, on a mission to the Philippines - among other countries - in an effort to improve the visibility and increase the viability of the Regional Cooperative Agreement (RCA) Programme.
The visit to the region aims to explore potential partnerships with United Nations and other developmental organizations that would have programme thrusts in keeping with the Millennium Development Goals. The RCA programme implements nuclear technology projects in thematic areas such as agriculture, health, environment, industry and energy which seek to addres priority needs of the Member Countries through a regional cooperative framework.
While in the Philippines, Dr. Aleta was able to visit the World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, Food & Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Programme, and the International Rice Research Institute. He likewise met with the local RCA National Project Counterparts to gather success stories and acquire insights on the partnerships which they have established in the course of project implementation.
Dr. Aleta is the immediate past RCA Coordinator in Vienna, Austria, and the Director of PNRI prior to the incumbent.
Two experts were sent by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last 15 to 19 August, to examine achievements and constraints under selected projects of the IAEA environmental programme implemented in the Philippines.
The mission team, composed of Mr. Dalibor Kysela of IAEA and Mr. Katsumi Hirose of Japan, sought to gather evaluative evidence, best practices and other relevant experiences from past and ongoing Technical Cooperation projects on the marine environment for possible inputs to IAEA's future programming.
The team was able to meet with project staff from the PNRI, the U.P.-Marine Science Institute (MSI) and National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). Visits to international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO-PEMSEA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were also conducted. Similarly, Messrs. Kysela and Hirose had the opportunity to meet with Science Secretary Dr. Estrella F. Alabastro and PCAMRD Director Dr. Rafael Guerrero III.