IAEA Board of Governors – Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee (TACC)
Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 2 – The Agency’s Proposed TC Programme for 2020-2021
18 November 2019
Thank you, Chair.
Australia thanks the Acting Director General for his report entitled Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2020-2021. We also express our thanks to Deputy Director General Yang for his introductory remarks, and to the Secretariat for the informal briefing on the proposed programme that was provided on the 5th of November.
The IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme is key to assisting Member States to benefit from nuclear science and technology. We recognise the Programme’s value in assisting developing Member States to meet their development goals, and, more broadly, in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Technical Cooperation Programme is also a major mechanism for fulfilling the third pillar of the NPT.
The success of the Technical Cooperation Programme requires sufficient, assured and predictable funding. Australia has always paid its assessed contribution to the TCF in full and on time. We encourage all Member States to do likewise.
In addition to our TCF contribution, Australia has a long history of making extra-budgetary contributions to the TC Programme, and also provides significant in-kind contributions through hosting training programs, fellowships and scientific visits, and through providing experts for Agency-related projects and missions, particularly in our region through the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific - the RCA. We encourage other Member States in a position to do so to consider making similar contributions.
Just as the TC Programme requires sufficient, assured and predictable funding, it also requires efficient and effective management in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for Member States.
We welcome the efforts of the TC Secretariat to coordinate its activities with the other parts of the Agency, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the programme, improving outcomes for Member States, and achieving efficiencies through the better use of available resources and the avoidance of duplication.
We also welcome the reduction in footnote-a activities, both as a proportion of all activities and in total value. We understand that, in part, this has been achieved through the identification of potential duplication in project proposals and the merging of like-projects as considered appropriate by the relevant Member States. We commend the Secretariat and Member States involved in achieving this.
We do note that the proposed TC Programme does still contain a significant number of footnote-a activities. We urge the Secretariat to continue its efforts aimed at addressing this, including through the strengthening of partnerships with other relevant organisations and through the mobilisation of new and existing resources. We also encourage Member States to continue seeking efficiencies in Technical Cooperation project designs and proposals.
In our experience, regional projects are particularly effective at delivering lasting benefits to Member States. In our own region, regional projects carried out under the RCA also have a higher rate of implementation – more than 92% last year. We encourage Member States that are considering, designing and proposing future national TC projects to consider whether a regional approach might provide additional benefits.
Australia continues to hold concerns that TC resources are not necessarily being distributed to those with the greatest development need. As we have stated previously, we believe that all Member States in a position to fund their own Technical Cooperation activities should do so, thereby allowing TCF resources to be utilised to benefit developing countries – particularly Least Developed Countries – to the greatest extent possible. We note this does not prevent participation by any Member State in TC projects, but rather helps to ensure that resources go to where they are needed most.
As we have previously noted in statements to the Board, reaching gender parity at the IAEA is an important objective on equity grounds alone, but we also emphasise the benefits that gender parity can bring in organisational efficiency and effectiveness. Nowhere is this truer than in Technical Cooperation, where the diverse communities delivering and benefiting from the Technical Cooperation programme will be best served by an IAEA that reflects this diversity.
With these comments, Australia supports approval of the actions recommended by the Acting Director General in document GOV/2019/47.