IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by HE Mr Richard Sadleir, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 6(b): Safeguards Implementation Report for 2019
16 June 2020
Australia thanks the Director General for the Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) dated 29 April and thanks DDG Aparo for the technical briefing on 2 June.
The SIR highlights the ever increasing demands on the Agency to implement effective safeguards in the global context of an increasing number of safeguards agreements and a growing quantity of nuclear material under safeguards.
Given the vital importance of effective safeguards to international security and nuclear non-proliferation, we commend the Secretariat’s efforts to increase the efficiency of its approaches and processes, while not compromising effectiveness.
In particular we commend the Agency’s efforts to improve internal work practices and ensure consistency in the development and implementation of state level approaches (SLAs).
Despite this, Australia notes the modest increases to the Agency’s regular budget over the last few years have not kept pace with the Safeguards Department’s increased workload.
In our view full implementation of the State Level Concept is necessary for the continued strengthening of the safeguards system, and we look forward to the Agency’s further development and implementation of SLAs for all states.
We welcome the progress toward universalisation of the Additional Protocol (AP) reflected in the SIR, and we commend Benin and Ethiopia for bringing their APs into force in 2019.
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. This is an important precedent and reminder that the broader conclusion is neither automatic nor permanent; it is based on an annual evaluation of all safeguards-relevant information available.
We thank the Secretariat for its technical rigour and professionalism in reporting on this matter and look forward to the state involved resolving the outstanding matters with the Agency.
We welcome the Safeguards Department’s renewed emphasis on gender equality in the SIR and we look forward to future SIRs documenting the outcomes of efforts to promote gender balance among its staff.
The SIR should assist Member States to understand the operation of the Agency’s safeguards system, and the challenges and problems the Agency faces in safeguards implementation and drawing conclusions.
In this respect, we welcome the greater transparency and improvements in the presentation, content and accessibility of this year’s SIR. We particularly commend the Agency for its improved use of graphics in the SIR to visualise multi-year trends in safeguards implementation and we look forward to further enhancements to the SIR in future years.
Australia notes with concern several areas of difficulty in safeguards implementation, including delays in reporting and restrictions on inspector access by some states. Many areas of difficulty are long-standing and the SIR describes them only in general terms. We encourage all States to continue to work with the Agency to address these implementation issues.
The SIR should contain enough detail to enable the Board to assess the impact of these difficulties on the effectiveness of IAEA safeguards and to track progress in their resolution.
Australia notes the Agency’s SIR for 2019 as contained in GOV/2020/9, and we welcome the release of the Safeguards Statement for 2019 and of the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.