IAEA Board of Governors
IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee (TACC)
Statement by Dr Kath Smith, Alternate Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 2 – Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2018-2019
20 November 2017
Thank you, Chair,
We thank the Director General for his report entitled Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2018–2019 (GOV/2017/45) and for the two Annexes to that report. We also express our thanks to Deputy Director General Dazhu Yang for his helpful introductory remarks, and to the Secretariat for its informative briefing held for Member States on 31 October.
Australia continues to place great significance on the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme. These projects address many of the basic needs of human life – health and nutrition, food and agriculture, protection of the environment, safety and security – and thus play an important role in raising the standard of living in recipient countries. Engagement in the Technical Cooperation Programme also benefits donor countries by promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. This is one of the principal ways that the IAEA can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Within our region, the prime mechanism for Technical Cooperation is the “Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific” (the RCA). This treaty was established in 1972, is the oldest of the regional agreements and is still going strong. The revised 2017 RCA entered into force on 11 June and has already been
accepted by 14 of the 21 Government Parties. Australia has been a member of the RCA since 1977 and maintains an active role in its programme of work.
The thematic analysis of the TC core programme budget provided shows that safety and security, health and nutrition, the environment, and food and agriculture continue to be the leading areas for projects both across the Technical Cooperation Programme and within the Asia-Pacific region. Australia considers this an appropriate use of Agency funds, in line with its objectives and Statute. In regard to regional distribution of the programme budget, we note that projects for the Asia-Pacific in the 2018-2019 Programme represent 25.6% of total funds. This represents a very slight decrease from the 2016-2017 allocation of 25.7%, a slight increase from the 2014-2015 allocation of 23.2% but is still less than the 29% allocated in the 2012-2013 cycle. We appreciate that allocations will vary slightly from cycle to cycle, but encourage the Secretariat to continue to monitor distribution of Technical Cooperation funds to ensure that they are allocated according to the needs of Member States and in proportion to regional size and population.
Australia considers that it is crucial that each Member State fulfil its responsibility to contribute on time and in full to the TCF to assure required funding for the TC programme. To this end, Australia pledged its commitment to meet its assessed contribution to the TCF prior to the General Conference, and we will ensure that this is followed through with timely payment. We encourage all Member States which have not yet done so to follow this example.
In this context, we note the value of recipient states paying their share of the costs of national projects. Not only is this important in confirming those states’ commitment to the projects and thus the sustainability of their outcomes, it is also an important factor in making projects attractive to potential extra-budgetary donors. We also note the utility of the Due Account Mechanism, and encourage further discussions with a view to finding common ground on proposals to strengthen it, to ensure limited resources are channelled to where they are most needed.
Australia notes the Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the Technical Cooperation Programme continues to be delivered in a manner which is consistent with the Agency’s high standards of Safety, Security and Safeguards. We note that a comprehensive project design and review process is fundamental in that regard, and that the Secretariat continues to be thorough in its application of that process.
Lastly, we welcome the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology: Addressing Current and Emerging Development Challenges which will be held in November next year. Noting the Ministerial engagement attracted by the very successful International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme: Sixty Years and Beyond – Contributing to Development, which was held in May-June this year, and the many synergies between Nuclear Applications and Technical Cooperation, we expect that the NA conference next year will draw heavily on the Department of Technical Cooperation’s experience and include many Technical Cooperation themes in its program.
With these comments, Australia supports approval of the 2018-2019 TC Programme proposed in document GOV/2017/45.
Thank you, Chair.