“ISTC is again open for business”, said Executive Director David Cleave, quoting Ron Lehman, the Chairman of ISTC’s Governing Board, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on 1 March 2018, at The Square Business Center on Turan Avenue in Astana. In his opening remarks, David Cleave reminded the milestones on the way of ISTC to the capital of Kazakhstan that hosts the organization’s Head Office since 2014. Not only the location of ISTC changed but its mandate, geographic and thematic scope of operations. The entry into force of ISTC’s Continuing Agreement on 14 December 2017 proved to be a turning point in many aspects, ensuring equal involvement in the decision making of all States Parties, donors and beneficiaries alike.

Mr. Akan Rakhmetullin, the MFA Director for Multilateral Cooperation, underlined in his remarks the consistent and sustained support of Kazakhstan, the host country, for ISTC, a position consonant with the major priorities of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy – non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. As a person who has belonged to the research community of physicists, Mr. Rakhmetullin, recalled the considerable role ISTC has played to ensure better professional conditions for the scientists and researchers who are at the edge of the technological progress that Kazakhstan and other CIS countries aspire after. The MFA Director also acknowledged the efforts of his colleagues from the Ministry of Education and Science to ensure Government support and better working conditions for the ISTC Secretariat. The presence at the ceremony of Mr. R.Kokenov, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the MES Science Committee illustrated that commitment.

The US Ambassador Mr. George A.Krol also vowed the US continuous interest in ISTC activities, particularly in the field of nuclear safety and security. He stated that the organization has successfully established a presence in Astana, and wished its leadership and the Secretariat further achievements.

The Charge d’Affairs of the European Delegation, Mr. Zoltan Szalai, Head of the Political, Press and Information section, re-iterated the EU’s staunch support for ISTC as manifested by the numerous large EU – funded projects, that are currently at the focus of the ISTC agenda - on bio-safety and bio-security as well as on strategic export control. He praised the reliable partnership between the Secretariat and the European Delegation that will endure.

Mr. Kim Daesik, Ambassador of South Korea, pointed out in his statement the dynamic international developments in Asia, including on the Korean peninsula, and pledged further support of his government for ISTC, including through examining the possibility for secondment of Korean experts at the Secretariat.

Mr. Okawa Soichiro, Deputy Head of mission, Embassy of Japan, echoed the congratulations to ISTC, an organization that Japan intends to support fully, including through funding projects in nuclear safety but also other areas of advanced research.

At present, ISTC stakeholders comprise of the European Union (representing all its 28 Member States), the US, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Many more states, however, are participants in ISTC implemented projects, such as: Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Republic of South Africa alongside with twelve countries from East and Central Africa.