The tsunami event in December 2004 severely affected several RCA Member States in South Asia. Aside from the widespread and serious socio-economic impact of the event, extensive environmental damage on the near-shore marine ecosystems is expected to have occurred in the region. The expertise of the RCA MSs in assessing the environmental impact using nuclear and isotopic analytical techniques is regarded very useful. Because RCA has been striving to become an effective partner in socio-economic development of the region by providing nuclear technologies that can solve regional problems, the RCA should also be actively involved in assisting in the analysis and assessment of post-tsunami environmental impact.
One of the mandates of RCARO given by the Member States is to promote partnerships for RCA programme and attract donors. RCARO approached UNDP(K) and secured fund for environment project with emphasis on the post-Tsunami environmental impact study. The UNDP(K)-supported programme will contribute to the RCA endeavors for a better management of the environment for the benefit of the Member States. In September 2005, the 34th RCA GCM in Vienna has endorsed this RCARO initiated project. The project contract was concluded in late June 2006 among RCARO, UNDP (K) and MOST of the Korean Government.
This Meeting was organized by the RCARO, with the local support of BATAN, Indonesia, to launch the project on a timely manner and to develop implementation plans for 2006 and beyond as well as to decide necessary measures to be taken for immediate action. The Meeting was held at the Century Hotel in Senayan, Jakarta in 22-25 August 2006 with participation of major stakeholders of the Project. Local National Project Coordinators (Local NPCs) from the countries directly affected by the tsunami such as from MAL and BGD participated. In addition, many end-users in INS also participated during the first day of the meeting for better interaction with the Project. (Annex 1: List of the Participants).
As the organizer of the Meeting and as Implementation Partner of the Project, Mr. Kun-Mo Choi, Director of RCARO opened the Meeting. He thanked the BATAN for hosting the Meeting. He also thanked for those who contributed to preparing the Project Contract Document, in particular Mr. Andreas Markwitz (NZE, TSLCC for RCA Environment Sector) and Ms. Elvira Sombrito (PHI, PLCC for the Project). Mr. Choi pointed out that this Project is an effort to find means through which nuclear technology can contribute to relieving the pain of the population in the environmentally affected areas. He further remarked that this Project is the RCA’s first attempt to be initiated as a non-IAEA funded project.
Welcoming the participants, Mr. Soedyartomo Soentono, Chairman of BATAN stressed the importance of this Meeting as a starting point of implementing a program with participation of 14 RCA MSs who have been affected (directly and indirectly) by the 2004 tsunami. He reminded that Indonesia, by far, was the country hardest hit by the tsunami. He indicated that this project would produce the necessary and useful analytical data on the post-tsunami environment impact by using advanced nuclear analytical techniques (NATs). The project is expected to share the results with the concerned member countries and with end-users for integration into an environment management strategy for policy action.
Mr. Kun-Mo Choi, Director of RCARO, gave an introductory presentation on the RCA-UNDP project. He explained the events leading to the initiation of the Project; and the prospectus of the Project dealing with three main technical areas, i.e. coastal sediment, coastal water and soil, and coral reefs. He also explained that RCARO has already constructed a designated menu for the Project within the RCARO homepage so that all relevant documentations and information would be archived and accessed on a timely manner. He added that the designated menu would also be available as an intranet type communication mechanism among the project stakeholders on a real time basis. He stressed that this Project can be regarded as a role model through which the usefulness and efficacy of non-IAEA funded projects can be examined.
Ms. E. Sombrito presented the overall Project Concept. She reiterated that the project would focus on three key areas: sediments (sediment profile for selected trace elements), water & soil (trace elements in marine deposits in coastal agricultural areas), and coral reefs (sediment impact on corals and associated fisheries). She emphasized that the output of high-quality data from this Project can provide policy makers with the useful and necessary data for integration into an environment management strategy for policy action. Mr. S. K. Jha (IND) and Mr. S. I. Bhuiyan (BGD) joined in explaining the unique capabilities of NATs compared to other conventional techniques to the local end-users.
Mr. Eko Yulianto (Research Center for Geotechnology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences) presented on the paleo-tsunami study. His study was based on the C-14 dating method. He mentioned that age determination could be a problem (in some areas) as well as distinguishing which tsunami event is indicated in a certain tsunami deposit found on a given area. Mr. Zainal Abidin (BATAN, INS) elucidated on the use of certain isotopes that could be used in determining the origin of deposited materials.
Mr. Ali Arman Lubis (BATAN, INS) presented the nuclear applications in marine environment in relating to the environmental impact of the tsunami, with emphasis on the Indonesian case. Mr. Teuku Said Mustafa (Head of Environmental Impact Management Agency [EIMA] of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province) joined in the presentation in explaining the EIMA’s integrated coastal management, human safety and sustainable development.
In the afternoon, presentations by local end-users were highlighted. Mr. Darmalius (on environmental quality impact of tsunami [PUSARPEDAL ? KLH]), Dr. Farhan Helmy of the Ministry of State for Environment on post disaster environmental assessment: Indonesian experience and Mr. Fauzi of the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency, ASEAN Earthquake Information Center on establishment of Indonesian tsunami warning system
4. DISCUSSION WITH THE END-USERS
A general discussion with the local end-users was carried out in the afternoon with participation of representatives from several federal and provincial environment management authorities and also from international environment organizations in Jakarta such as UNEP and UNDP. As an introduction, Mr. Sanjay K. Jha (BARC, IND) explained the advantages of using NATs. The end-users expressed interests in the accuracy of NATs, the promptness of service time, and the cost compared to other conventional analytical techniques. Mr. Jha (IND) elucidated on the levels of accuracy of NATs and the speed of sample analysis using NATs. Ms Elvira Sombrito (PNRI, PHI) clarified the uniqueness of NATs that could accurately verify the elements and processes occurring in the marine ecosystem. Regarding the cost, Mr. S.I. Bhuiyan (BAEC, BGD) offered his country’s reactor as in-kind contribution to those in need of nuclear analysis. It was mentioned that public safety should be everybody’s concern and that all contaminants should conform to national standards.
The local end-users expressed concerns on effective and efficient linkages and coordination among major stakeholders to deal with the post-tsunami environment management matters. They also questioned how fast the data can be made available to them to support policy-makers. There was specific concern about drinking water quality in Banda Aceh province (well water) and how the nuclear techniques can be used to help them. Dr. Zainal Abidin (BATAN, INS) explained the use of tracer techniques (stable and radioactive) to determine the movement and direction of groundwater. The data can be useful in determining sources of groundwater contamination and future rehabilitation of contaminated wells. The combination of stable isotopes and chlorine ion measurements is a powerful tool to assess intrusion of seawater. There was also an expressed need by the local end-users to assess the date of the sediment profile.
The engagement with the local end-users was very lively and informative.
5. TECHNICAL SESSION
At the technical session on 23 August (Wednesday), the Meeting formally confirmed the composition of the Project Committee (PC) based on the designation of Local National Project Coordinators (Local NPCs) by respective National RCA Representatives (NRs) of the participating Member States (MSs). The PC comprises Local NPCs of AUL, BGD, CPR, IND, INS, ROK, MAL, MYA, NZE, PAK, PHI, SRL, THA and VIE. (Annex 3: Composition of PC).
The Meeting also confirmed Ms. Elvira Sombrito (PHI) as the Project Lead Country Coordinator (PLCC) and Mr Zainal Abidin (INS) as the Assisting Project Lead Country Coordinator (APLCC). The Meeting reconfirmed IND as the Objective Lead Country Coordinator (OLCC) for sediment area, SRK as OLCC for soil and water, AUL as OLCC for coral reefs.
The Meeting elected Ms Elvira Sombrito as the Chair. She then appointed Mr. Efren Sta. Maria (PHI) and Mr. Ali Arman Lubis (INS) as rapporteurs. The Meeting adopted the provisional agenda. (Annex 2: Agenda of the Meeting)
Mr. John K. Chung (Programme Officer, RCARO and National Project Coordinator) made presentations on the framework for the project implementation, roles and responsibilities of major project stakeholders, administrative guidelines with particular emphasis on the reporting system, and in-kind contributions by the participating Member States. RCARO stressed the need of dedicated contributions by the local NPCs to lead the Project to success. The Meeting reconfirmed that the National Project Team (NPT) is important. All participating Member States in the Project are requested to form NPTs to support their works as well as for better interaction with the end-users in each country. It was understood that the role of NPTs would be more important in the tsunami affected countries. It was strongly suggested that local end-users should be part of the NPTs. Regarding the reporting, the Meeting was of the view that all information and relevant reports should be shared with the major project stakeholders, and with the NRs when necessary. (Annex 3: Composition of the Project Committee, Annex 4: Project Framework, Annex 5: Roles and Responsibilities of Major Project Stakeholders, Annex 6: Administrative Guidelines, Annex 7: In-kind Contributions by Participating Member States, Annex 8: Reporting System)
6. 2006 WORK PLAN REVISITED AND CONFIRMED
The Meeting revisited the 2006 work plan; in particular the 3rd and 4th quarter work plan (July-December 2006). The Meeting developed implementation plans based on the work plan that has already been considered by the NRs and recognized by the donors in the project contract document (Annex 9: 2006 Work Plan).
With regard to the expert missions, the Meeting in principle viewed that the experts should be first recruited from the region in the spirit of RCA’s TCDC (Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries). In 2006, two expert missions are planned; one in water and soil field, the other one in coral reefs field. SRL requested an expert in water and soil in early November. IND offered to make available BARC expert (Mr N V Navada) for the mission. SRL was requested to submit a detailed TOR (terms of reference) to PLCC for review. PLCC then will request RCARO for implementation. IND added that BARC would also support analysis work of the samples collected in SRL.
With regard to the coral reefs expert, Ms Elvira Sombrito (PLCC), was requested to contact with Mr Ron Szymczak of AUL for availability of his duty assignment or to recommend an appropriate expert to work for about 10 days in THA, INS and THA (each for a couple of days). The main mission of the expert is to give advice on establishment and maintenance of aqua-laboratory for corals.
In the meantime, THA requested the Meeting to allocate an expert from AUL in coral reefs health for two days in late September. It is noted that in late September there will be a technical meeting in Phuket, Thailand with focus on coral reefs and an expert in this field from AUL (Mr Clive Wilkinson) could be available for extra assignment for the RCA-UNDP project. The Meeting requested THA to submit a work plan for the expert to PLCC for her review and then to RCARO for administrative procedures.
Regarding the reference materials and radiotracers, the Meeting agreed that each country should submit a request to PLCC for procurement or provision. Ms Elvira Sombrito was requested to discuss with IAEA-MEL for possible in-kind contribution by way of providing reference materials.. INS said they could provide radiotracers that are produced from their research reactor. At the same time, the Meeting requested possible contribution of the radiotracers from KAERI since they are also producing quality radiotracers. The Meeting agreed that based on the individual request of such materials and goods, PLCC together with APLCC will look into the availability of the provision, either by purchase or voluntary contribution.
7. REVIEW OF 2007 WORK PLANS
Among the various activities planned in 2007, the Meeting mainly discussed on the Programme Assessment Meeting and the Regional Training Workshop. The Programme Assessment Meeting is scheduled to be held in the 2nd quarter of 2007. The Meeting agreed in principle that the Meeting will be held in June 2007 in Phuket, Thailand for 5 working days. Korea and Philippines would be alternative venues.
With regard to the Regional Training Workshop, the Meeting decided that the Workshop would cover both public information as well as technical aspects. The Meeting recommended that the Workshop would be held in early next year (preferably in February) in order to maximize the benefits to be achieved from the training event. Based on the preliminary prospectus prepared by Mr. S. I. Bhuiyan (BGD), the Meeting agreed to finalize the prospectus of the workshop by the end of September 2006 by PLCC. The Meeting recommended India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka or China as the candidate venue of the Workshop.
Mr. S. K. Jha (IND) proposed that a certain amount of fund would be put aside for encouraging participation of the major project stakeholders in international conference for presentations or contribution of articles to the major journals of international environment societies. RCARO mentioned that a total of $8,000 has been allocated for such purposes for 2007 and 2008, respectively.
7. REVIEW OF 2008 WORK PLANS
The Meeting agreed that the 2008 Work Plans should be left as it is and would be revisited later to make the necessary changes.
8. TECHNICAL VISIT
The participants visited BATAN’s Center for Research and Development of Isotope and Radiation Technology in Pasar Jum’at on 24 August 2006. Ms Renaningsih Setjo, Director, welcomed the participants and briefed on the major activities of the Center. The participants visited mass-spectrometer lab, radiation processing facility, and others.
9. WRAP-UP DISCUSSION
At the Meeting on 25 August 2006, the participants adopted several recommendations for a successful implementation of the Project. The Meeting also considered items to be taken by the local NPCs with immediate actions.
The recommendations highlighted better communication among the project stakeholders, in particular among Local NPCs, NRs, the implementing partner (RCARO), the donors (UNDP and MOST) and the end-users. It was also requested that NRs should provide every possible support to Local NPCs in order to lead the Project successfully. The recommendations adopted by the Meeting are as follows.