IAEA Board of Governors: 14 November 2016
Statement by Dr Kath Smith, Alternate Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 2 – Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2017
Thank you, Chair.
We thank the Director General for his report entitled "Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2017" (GOV/2016/50). We also express our thanks to Deputy Director General Dazhu Yang for his helpful introductory remarks, and to the Secretariat for the informative briefing it held for Member States on the 28th of October.
Australia continues to place great value on the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme and notes that the programme for 2017 reflects that approved for the 2016-2017 biennium by the Board of Governors last year. The projects under the programme address many of the basic needs of human life – Health and Nutrition, Food and Agriculture, Safety and Security, and Water and the Environment – and thus play an important role in raising the standard of living in participating countries. Engagement in the Technical Cooperation Programme also contributes to fulfilling the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology pillar of the NPT. This is one of the principal ways that the IAEA can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
We are pleased to see that in 2013-2015, the majority of technical cooperation disbursements to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) supported their development needs in the areas of Food and Agriculture and Health and Nutrition. Australia notes, however, that Developing Countries, particularly LDCs, face a number of challenges that limit their ability to benefit from the range of nuclear science and technology applications that could assist them to meet their sustainable development goals. These include the lack of radiation regulatory infrastructure, inadequate human and technical capacity, and limited financial resources., We support, therefore, the finding of the Evaluation report that the Agency should develop additional guidance and training for project stakeholders and should promote a results based management culture, from the design phase of projects onwards.
Australia welcomes increased membership from and engagement by our Pacific neighbours. However, we note that projects for the Asia-Pacific in the 2016-2017 budget remain below the previous biennium’s budget. While we acknowledge that allocations will vary slightly from cycle to cycle, we encourage the Secretariat to continue to administer distribution of TC funds to ensure that the needs of Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries are met.
Australia acknowledges the need for the TCF to be adequately funded. 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 to do likewise.
In addition to our TCF contribution, Australia also provides significant in-kind contributions to the TC Programme through hosting training programs, fellows and scientific visitors, and 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. Most recently, we contributed $30,000 (Australian dollars) to support the participation of Small Island Developing States in the Pacific to attend the Interregional Meeting on Aligning the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme with the Development Goals of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), 2-4 November. We encourage other Member States in a position to do so to consider making similar contributions.
We commend the Agency for its active engagement in the global development dialogue. This has helped to underline the significant contribution the Agency’s TC program is making in assisting countries to meet their Sustainable Development Goals, and strengthened the case for partnerships with other development-driven organisations such as UNDP and UNESCO. We encourage the Agency to continue in its efforts to secure additional TC funding from other multilateral organisations and non-government philanthropic organisations.
Our delegation also thanks the Director General for his report entitled “Addressing the Challenges Facing Least Developed Countries in the Peaceful Application of Nuclear Energy through the Technical Cooperation Programme” (GOV/INF/2016/12).
Australia believes that the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, such as nuclear medicine, can benefit all nations and strongly agrees with the Guiding Principles expressed in INFCIRC/267 that:
- the provision of technical assistance constitutes a high-priority function of the Agency; and
- Agency resources for technical assistance should primarily be allocated to meet the needs of developing countries.
With these comments, Australia supports approval of the 2017 TC Programme proposed in document GOV/2016/50 and notes the findings reported in GOV/INF/2016/12.
Thank you, Chair.