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IAEA Helps Cambodia Set Up its First National Cancer Centre

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Photo: N. Mokhtar/IAEA

Cambodia today opened the doors of its first ever national cancer centre. The new facility was built with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and will significantly increase the country’s capacity to fight a growing cancer burden.

The Techo Santepheap Centre, located at the Calmette Hospital in the capital Phnom Penh, is part of a national strategy to increase cancer care coverage. Until today, Cambodia only had one radiotherapy machine.

The Government of Cambodia dedicated € 36 million to ensure the centre’s completion, and the IAEA contributed around € 2 million in expertise related to its design, the commissioning of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine machines, as well as specialized staff training.

“I congratulate you on the opening of the new centre. This is one of the most important projects we have undertaken together since Cambodia rejoined the IAEA in 2009,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said. “The Government and people of Cambodia can take great pride in this achievement, knowing that many thousands of your fellow countrymen and women will benefit from modern cancer treatment and diagnostic services in the coming decades.”

Cambodia’s Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng, a senior IAEA representative and other high level dignitaries attended the centre’s inauguration event in Phnom Penh.

According to the International Agency for the Research on Cancer, Cambodia faces 15,000 new cancer cases each year. Increased life expectancy and lifestyle changes, such as smoking and fatty diets, together with low screening rates, have made cancer one of the main causes of death in the country.

The new centre has one radiotherapy machine, with two more planned in coming years. Plans also include the installation of a PET-CT scanner and a cyclotron for the production of radiopharmaceuticals to improve medical imaging procedures. Early diagnosis is crucial to increase cancer survival rates. More than 70 per cent of cancer patients in Cambodia are referred to oncologists in the advanced stages of the disease, when treatment options are limited. In developed countries, this ratio is less than one-third.

“Techo Santepheap Centre is a great step towards enhancing medical care in Cambodia,” said Hun Sen. “This achievement has been possible thanks to continuous support from the IAEA in the provision of expertise, medical equipment and in human resources development.”

Cambodia plans to complete two additional cancer centres with radiotherapy and nuclear medicine facilities in the next five years in the north and west of the country.

Cancer is a growing global health and economic challenge, and governments are under increased pressure to meet rising demands for more affordable quality cancer services. The IAEA works to support low- and middle-income countries in responding to this challenge.

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China to Improve Inland Waterway Transport with World Bank Support

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$150 million loan today to improve the capacity and reliability of inland waterway transport along the Han River in China’s Hubei Province. The project will increase connectivity between the less developed central and western regions and the more prosperous eastern provinces, and yield local and global environmental benefits by promoting a green mode of transport and producing renewable energy.

As part of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, China is relocating industries in the less developed inland regions of the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. This requires an efficient multimodal transport that can move freight over long distances in a sustainable manner.

“Inland waterway transport is a cost effective and environmentally friendly mode of transport that is underexploited in China. The new project will increase inland waterway transport along the Han River and promote a shift from roads to waterways, which reduces carbon emissions from transport,” said Zhai Xiaoke, World Bank’s Senior Transport Specialist and leader of the project.

The Hubei Inland Waterway Improvement Project will construct the Yakou Navigation-Hydropower Complex in the middle reaches of the Han River. It will upgrade about 53 kilometers of waterway between the Yakou and the Cuijiaying Complex to Class III navigation standards and help enable the completed investments at other cascades to realize their full navigation capacity and economic benefits. The hydropower station will supply renewable energy to Yicheng City, which is located 16 kilometers from Yakou.

The project will also provide gravity flow irrigation to over 5,300 hectares of existing farmland. Other anticipated benefits of the project include the significant reduction of lifting costs, the improvement of flood resilience, and the creation of a better landscape for recreational tourism.

The total investment of the project is US$515.13 million; the IBRD loan will finance US$150 million and the Hubei Provincial Government will invest US$365.13 million. About 5.61 million residents along the Han River are expected to benefit from the economic development and ecological improvement brought about by the greener transport mode.

Starting with the First Inland Waterways Project in 1995, the World Bank has supported seven inland waterway projects in China, with each successive phase introducing important additionality, ranging from technical innovation to integrated development and management of multi-purpose inland waterway transport, as well as improved institutional capacity and environmental aspects.

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EU investment in gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Serbia to enhance energy security in the region

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To boost the diversification of energy sources in the Western Balkan region, reduce dependency on one dominant supplier and increase energy security, a joint commitment to implement the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia has been signed today 17 May by the Energy Minister of Bulgaria, Ms. Temenuzhka Petkova, and the Energy Minister of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Antić, on the occasion of the Western Balkans summit of Leaders in Sofia, Bulgaria. This interconnection will for the first time link the gas systems of Bulgaria and Serbia.

This new political impetus to the project showcases the political will of all parties. Once completed, the interconnector will constitute a major contribution to the solidarity in the Energy Union. The interconnector will allow for the transfer of between 1 and 1.8 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually from Bulgaria to Serbia and 0.15 billion cubic metres from Serbia to Bulgaria. The project forms part of the EU’s Projects of Common Interest and is a priority in the context of the Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity High Level Group (CESEC).

The European Commission is contributing notably to the Serbian side of the Bulgaria-Serbia Interconnector with a Pre-Accession grant of EUR 49.6 million. The Commission is actively facilitating progress on this priority project in close contact with both the Bulgarian and the Serbian authorities.

The new gas pipeline will provide a new supply route from Bulgaria not only to Serbia, but also to other parts of the South-East European region. This will enable access to liquefied natural gas from Greece, Azeri gas from the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as gas from Black Sea offshore production, and ensure improved integration of these sources into the EU’s internal energy market.

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ASEAN youth promotes “green” entrepreneurship at ASEAN Youth Expo 2018

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ASEAN youth leaders and youth entrepreneurs showcased their efforts and creativity in promoting environment-friendly enterprises at ASEAN Youth Expo 2018 held on 3-4 May at the Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel, Jakarta.

The expo, themed “Proliferating Youth Entrepreneurship: Tacking Environmental Issue by Being Greenpreneurs”, was hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Indonesia. It was held in conjunction with the Ninth ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY IX) and the Eighth ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (8th SOMY+3)

The ASEAN Youth Expo is a recurring activity under the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020 led by Indonesia. This year’s event aimed to strengthen collaboration among the youth in ASEAN and the Plus Three Countries in addressing environmental problems through entrepreneurship.

Each country sent four best youth representatives to join the youth-organised and youth-led event which comprised workshop, seminars, discussions, and an exhibit of the products of the youth entrepreneurs. A total of 450 youth leaders and youth entrepreneurs participated in the two-day event.

Nineteen display booths were installed featuring their “green” or environment-friendly products such as biodegradable plastic bags, fresh and processed fruits from organic and integrated farming, and other environmental friendly and recycled products.

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