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South Africa has a long history with the use of radiation in medicine and industry. The nuclear industry is an important economic contributor in the areas of uranium mining, nuclear power generation and radioisotope production. South Africa plays an important role in African regional affairs and within the group of emerging economies within the world. These dimensions bring special meaning to the Congress theme providing a valuable opportunity to share the lessons learned in radiation protection worldwide and to discuss emerging challenges. The scientific programme of the Congress will address three broad thematic areas of the radiation protection system: Fundamental Science, Philosophy and Principles, and Practice and will be structured in a series of keynote plenary presentation sessions, parallel topical sessions, poster sessions, key issue discussion sessions and plenary summaries. The programme structure will enable delegates to gain an overview of radiation protection science, philosophy and practice; to engage in detailed discussion and debate around key issues in their particular area of interest and to hear summaries of all the deliberations. Particular consideration will be given to distilling the key messages from poster presentations and featuring them in the discussion of key issues and the presentation of conclusions.