IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by HE Mr Richard Sadleir, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 6(c): Safeguards Implementation Report for 2020
9 June 2021
Australia thanks the Director General for the Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) dated 11 May.
The SIR for 2020 highlights how the Agency has overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain a level of effectiveness of safeguards implementation consistent with previous years.
Given the vital importance of effective safeguards to international security and nuclear non-proliferation, we commend the Secretariat for ensuring the continued application of safeguards throughout the pandemic.
The effective implementation of safeguards requires a cooperative effort between the Agency and States, and Australia notes the efforts made to facilitate safeguards activities in challenging circumstances.
At the same time, the SIR highlights the long-term trend of increasing demands on the Agency to implement effective safeguards in the global context of a growing quantity of nuclear material under safeguards.
We commend the Agency’s efforts to continuously improve internal work practices and ensure consistency in the development and implementation of state level approaches (SLAs).
We call upon all States that have yet to bring an AP into force to do so as soon as possible.
Australia notes that the Secretariat was unable to draw the broader conclusion for one state that had previously received that conclusion. We recognise this entailed circumstances involving no fault on the part of the state concerned, and recall the IAEA’s evaluation that based on the safeguards relevant information available to it, the Agency did not find indications that would give rise to proliferation concern.
In addition, we note that issues which prevented the Agency from drawing the broader conclusion for another state in 2019 have been resolved through the implementation of safeguards activities.
We thank the Secretariat for its technical rigour and professionalism in reporting on these matters.
We note the SIR should contain enough detail to enable Member States to understand the operation of the Agency’s safeguards system and assess the effectiveness of safeguards implementation.
We encourage the Secretariat to continue to develop the SIR to improve its presentation, content and accessibility in future years.
Australia notes the Agency’s SIR for 2020 as contained in GOV/2021/23, and we welcome the release of the Safeguards Statement for 2020 and of the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.