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May 9, 2019 Briefing on recent success with the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Sterile Insect Technique in Africa

May 9, 2019 Briefing on recent success with the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Sterile Insect Technique in Africa


Please join us on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 17:00 CAT for a telephonic press conference on recent success with the IAEA’s Sterile Insect Technique in increasing agricultural productivity and boosting income in Senegal, funded by the United States of America.


The United States is the exclusive funder of a nearly $5 million IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) project, “Contributing to Agricultural Development in West Africa through the Control of Tsetse Flies and Trypanosomosis,” having contributed $4,993,367 to this project since its inception in 2010. 

The project aims to eradicate the tsetse population (Glossina palpalis gambiensis) from the Niayes region, northeast of Dakar using the IAEA’s Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).  The tsetse fly population is now approaching confirmed eradication and the project has had significant positive socioeconomic benefits on farmers in the region.

These results indicate the technology has the potential to improve productivity and human health in other countries in the region.  Currently, the continuing presence and advancement of tsetse into new agricultural systems prevents sustainable and profitable livestock system in almost two thirds of sub-Saharan Africa.

The are many benefits of using the technology such as a significant reduction in crop and livestock production losses; protection of the horticultural and livestock industries through prevention of pest introductions; significant reduction in production and human health costs; and environmental protection through a reduced use of insecticides.



  • Shannon Petry, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
  • Marc J.B. Vreysen MSc PhD, Head of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory and Advisor to SIT Programmes against Tsetse Flies

Date:    May 9, 2019
Time: 17:00 CAT | 11:00 EDT

* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language:  English.  French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: On the record

Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP

RSVP:  RSVP via Eventbrite

Twitter: We will use the hashtag #AFHubPress for the call.


  • Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early. 
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location.  When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy’s name and location.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers.  Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue.  NOTE:  You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion.  We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed.
  • Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call. 


Shannon Petry is a Political Officer at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, where she covers the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  She joined the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 2011 and has also served at posts in Canada and Saudi Arabia.  Prior to joining the State Department, she worked in Belgium on U.S.-EU trade policy issues.  Shannon holds a M.A. in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and a B.A. in Political Science, French, and Italian from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Marc J.B. Vreysen obtained his MSc in Biology from the University of Leuven in Belgium, and his PhD in Entomology from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. He has 30 years of experience with area-wide integrated pest management approaches and the sterile insect technique for major insect pests of crops, livestock and human health. He spent 12 years working and living in sub-Saharan Africa where he was guiding and advising SIT programmes against tsetse flies, including the successful eradication programme on the Island of Zanzibar. He has been working for the FAO and the IAEA since 1987, of which the last 11 years as Head of the Insect pest Control Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria.  

Additional Information:

SIT is an environmentally-friendly insect pest control method involving the mass-rearing and sterilization, using radiation, of a target pest, followed by the systematic area-wide release of the sterile males by air over defined areas, where they mate with wild females resulting in no offspring and a declining pest population. 

More information on SIThttps://www.iaea.org/topics/sterile-insect-technique;

In French:  https://www.iaea.org/fr/themes/technique-de-linsecte-sterile

More information on PUIhttps://www.iaea.org/services/key-programmes/peaceful-uses-initiative;

In French:  https://www.iaea.org/fr/services/les-principaux-programmes/quest-ce-que-linitiative-sur-les-utilisations-pacifiques

B-roll for broadcast media:  https://iaea.wistia.com/medias/k90knqvaex

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.Africa Regional Media Hub
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