Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Austria
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia and Slovenia

ACC23Nov15Item2

IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee (TACC)
Meeting Commencing 23 November 2015
Agenda Item 2 – Technical Cooperation:
The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2016-2017


Thank you, Mr Chairman.

We thank the Director General for his report entitled "Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2016–2017" (GOV/2015/60) and for the three 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 3 November.

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, 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.

Noting the importance of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation role, we make the following brief comments on the Director General’s report and proposed programme.

Mr Chairman,

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 (RCA), which is the oldest of the regional agreements. 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 Programme budget provided shows that safety and security, health and nutrition, 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 2016-2017 Programme represent 25.7% of total funds and that this is an increase from the previous biennium’s allocation of 23.2% of total funds. 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 in proportion to regional size and needs of Member States.

Mr Chairman,

Our delegation notes the constructive discussion held in this year’s negotiations on the Technical Cooperation resolution at the General Conference, particularly in regard to government cost-sharing. Australia believes that program resources should be sufficient, assured and predictable, and thereby lead to improved development outcomes.

Australia agrees that “it is crucial that each Member State fulfil its responsibility to contribute on time 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.

Mr Chairman,

Lastly, Australia notes the Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the Technical Cooperation Programme is delivered in a manner which is consistent with the Agency’s high standards of Safety, Security and Safeguards, many of which are set out in Article III A.6 of the Statute and INFCIRC/267. 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.

With these comments, Australia supports approval of the 2016-2017 TC Programme proposed in document GOV/2015/60.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.