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French Research Aims To Help Developing Nations

UN Nuclear Agency And French Institute Boost Ties To Help Developing Nations

New York, Oct 1 2008 10:10AM

The United Nations atomic watchdog agency is boosting cooperation with a leading French research institute in the use of nuclear techniques to address the needs of developing countries in such areas as pest control, and soil and water management.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and France’s Institut de Researche pour le Développment (IRD) are already working together on a sterile insect technique project aimed at fighting Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya in the French island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

The new agreement, signed yesterday in Vienna during the IAEA’s 52nd General Conference, aims to boost this collaboration to improve crop productivity and water use efficiency.

“We are formalizing this partnership with IRD, a key institution that brings significant scientific capacity, experience and resources for addressing key development problems. The first concrete area of cooperation we have discussed is the use of SIT for controlling Malaria transmitting mosquitoes,” said Werner Burkart, IAEA’s Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.

The two organizations will also be working together to tackle soil and water management. “Specifically, we are interested in the development of soil management technology packages to enhance soil quality and land productivity in response to changes in land use and farming practices,” said Mr. Burkart.

“A second area of interest is the management of irrigation water and soil organic matter for enhancing crop water productivity with more crops per drop and no water wastage from the plant-growing areas under both rainfed and irrigated conditions,” he added. IRD President Jean François Girard stressed the importance of international cooperation to improve living conditions in the developing world, saying intergovernmental organizations such as the IAEA and national research institutes such as the IRD must collaborate, “combining our joint expertise” to promote science to address the needs of countries in the South.

ENDS

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