IAEA Mission Says Nigerian Nuclear Regulator Committed to Safety, Sees Areas for Improvement

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said that Nigeria has a committed regulatory body that works for the continuous improvement of nuclear and radiation safety, but noted challenges related to its independence in implementing regulatory decisions and activities.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team concluded a 10-day mission today to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Nigeria. The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) is the body responsible for regulatory oversight in the country.

“The IRRS team recognizes the strong commitment of Nigeria to improving nuclear and radiation safety. The team was extended full cooperation by all parties in this review,” said team leader Lamberto Matteocci, Technical Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection at the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA). “We believe the outcome of this mission will be of great help to the country in order to enhance its national regulatory framework.”

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety, while recognizing the responsibility of each State to ensure safety.

Nigeria makes extensive use of radiation sources in medical and industrial applications as well as in science and research. The country also has a research reactor used for the analysis of materials and training. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has decided to include nuclear power in its energy mix to meet an increasing demand for electricity and support economic development. The country has been developing its nuclear power infrastructure for several years.

The team of experts made recommendations and suggestions to the Government and the NNRA to help them further enhance the country’s regulatory framework in line with IAEA safety standards.

The team recognized that the NNRA is committed to improving safety and to protecting people and the environment. It noted that the regulatory body faces challenges in ensuring its full independence in decision-making and in developing its competence to effectively conduct regulatory activities, particularly in light of Nigeria’s planned nuclear power programme.

The 12-member IRRS team comprised senior experts from France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, Pakistan, Slovenia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe, as well as three IAEA staff members.

“The Nigerian Government will work with the IAEA to develop a work-plan for the implementation of the mission’s recommendations and suggestions,” said NNRA Director General Lawrence Dim. “Nigeria is always ready to cooperate with the Agency in the area of nuclear and radiation safety, as well as in other areas. We are committed to using the IAEA safety standards and international best practices to improve our policy, and legal, technical and regulatory infrastructure.”

During the mission, team members observed regulatory activities and held interviews and discussions with the Government and NNRA management and staff. They also visited the Abuja National Hospital, a gamma irradiation facility and the Centre for Energy Research and Training.

The team identified a good practice in the NNRA’s routine training for news media to inform them about its processes and decisions as well as the possible radiation risks associated with facilities and activities.

The mission provided recommendations and suggestions for improvements, including:

  • The Government should establish a national policy on safety and ensure that the corresponding legal framework is in line with IAEA safety standards.
  • The Government should ensure that the NNRA is effectively independent and is functionally separate from entities having responsibilities or interests that could influence its decision-making.
  • The NNRA should carry out an analysis of all competencies needed to cover its responsibilities, and develop and implement a human resource and training plan.
  • The regulatory body should ensure that all facilities and activities have a valid authorization, and establish and implement an enforcement policy to respond to non-compliance.
  • The NNRA should consider formalizing cooperation with other authorities having responsibilities related to safety.

The final mission report will be provided to Nigeria in about three months. Authorities in Nigeria have told the IAEA that they plan to make the report public.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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Boosting Intra-African Trade Crucial to Africa’s Development says ECA’s Stephen Karingi

The Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 opened at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) headquarters in Geneva today with the Economic Commission for Africa’s Capacity Development Division (CDD) Director, Stephen Karingi, emphasizing the need to boost intra-African trade.

Boosting intra-African trade is the most effective channel for trade to deliver development on the African continent, said Mr. Karingi, adding deeper trade integration is the surest way to speed up Africa’s economic transformation.

“Trade contributes towards industrialization and structural transformation. Intra-African trade currently stands at a mere 13 percent of the continent’s total trade, which is very low. As the ECA we are saying there’s need for African governments to do more to grow intra-African trade,” he said, adding Africa’s relatively low intra-regional trade is also as a result of barriers created by limited connectivity within the continent.

“With this we should think of physical connectivity, infrastructure, where the gaps remain significant,” said Mr. Karingi to participants attending the Africa Session of the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017.

“Equally, we should consider softer aspects of connectivity. Non-tariff and tariff costs both influence how African countries can link with each other.”

Higher volumes of intra-African trade, said Mr. Karingi, are essential so African countries can do business with each other more frequently and with wider margins. He said policies to enhance intra-regional trade on the continent are crucial, adding strategies to implement, enforce and monitor their progress and impact are also needed.

This year’s Global Review is dedicated to the theme of “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development”, and will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to look at how Aid for Trade (AfT) can contribute to the integration of developing countries and least developed countries into the multilateral trading system and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Global Review will in the next three days examine how Aid for Trade promotes connectivity and inclusion and focus on crucial trade and development issues, such as the trade dimension of the SDGs, digital connectivity, women’s empowerment and trade facilitation.

Mr. Karingi said key initiatives on the continent for boosting intra-African trade include the on-going Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations, which are set to be concluded this year, and the Boosting Intra-African Trade initiative (BIAT).

BIAT, he said, is a useful framework for addressing connectivity issues in Africa while the CFTA aims to, among other things, create a single continental market for goods and services, promote the free movement of business persons and investments and expand intra-African trade. The CFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise levels.

Mr. Karingi also spoke about the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade which has seven priority clusters: trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information and factor market mobility.

“For Aid for Trade to deliver on Africa’s priorities, it should be aligned with these frameworks and the continent’s priorities,” he said.

The entry into force of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 22 February 2017 has given trade policymakers a powerful tool for reducing the physical trade costs that prevent many firms in developing countries from participating in international trade.

Implementation of the TFA, and the benefits to developing countries from the associated reforms, will be one of the key themes addressed at the Global Review.

Another key theme of the Global Review is how firms are using digital technology to log on to the multilateral trading system.

Action to bridge the digital divide, and in particular the strong gender dimension to this divide, will also be discussed as it the Review aims to address women’s economic empowerment and examine how Aid for Trade is promoting women’s empowerment as part of broader efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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The Bani Walid Municipality Commits to Address the Involvement of Children in the Armed Groups

The local council of Bani Walid has committed to release, rehabilitate and reintegrate children associated with armed groups. Within the framework of UNICEF’s national campaign ‘Together for Children’, launched in April 2015, Bani Walid is the third municipality in Libya to take the decision of addressing the involvement of children with the armed groups.

“I welcome the decision of Bani Walid Local Council and extend the invitation to all municipalities in Libya to follow suit,” said Dr. Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Special Representative in Libya.

UNICEF will provide the technical support and the needed expertise to Bani Walid to ensure the success of the initiative in line with child rights standards. On the 10th of July 2017, 25 stakeholders and child protection actors from Bani Walid started a five-day workshop in Tunis to learn about the legal obligations and international mechanisms for the protection of children in armed conflicts. The workshop will focus on child rights-based mechanisms to release, rehabilitate and reintegrate children involved in armed groups.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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Benin signs the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration

On 10 July, Benin signed the United Nations Convention in Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“The Mauritius Convention on Transparency”).

The Convention has been ratified by Canada, Mauritius and Switzerland. It will enter into force on 18 October 2017.

The Convention has further been signed by Belgium, Cameroon, Congo, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Convention is open for signature, ratification, and accession by States and regional economic integration organizations. For up-to-date information about the parties to the Convention as well as its signatories, see the UNCITRAL website.

The Mauritius Convention on Transparency aims to provide States and regional economic integration organizations with an efficient mechanism that extends the scope of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“Rules on Transparency”) to investment treaties concluded before the Rules entered into force on 1 April 2014. The Rules on Transparency provide procedural rules that ensure transparency and public accessibility to treaty-based investor-State arbitration, the proceedings of which have traditionally been conducted behind closed doors. Together with the Rules on Transparency, the Mauritius Convention on Transparency takes into account both the public interest in such arbitrations and the interest of the parties to resolve disputes in a fair and efficient manner. It is expected that the Convention will significantly contribute to enhancing transparency in investor-State dispute resolutions.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS).

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