IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by Dr Kath Smith, Alternate Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 3: Technical Cooperation Report
5 June 2018
Thank you, Chair.
Australia thanks the Director General for submitting the Technical Cooperation Report for 2017, along with its Supplement, to the Board. We also thank Deputy Director General Yang for his helpful introductory comments, and the Secretariat for the informative briefing on 16 May.
Underpinned by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty’s provisions for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Australia continues to recognise and support the important role that the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme plays in assisting all Member States to benefit from nuclear science and technology. We also acknowledge the Programme’s valuable work in assisting developing nations to meet their identified development goals and in fostering regional and global networks for our common benefit.
Comments on the Strengthening of the Agency’s TC Activities
We all understand that the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme is only one part of the international development landscape. Consequently, Australia is pleased to support the Agency’s stakeholder ongoing outreach and engagement activities. In particular, Australia commends the Agency’s participation in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. We also note with approval the Agency’s work to address the specific needs and priorities of each country and region, and its efforts, where possible, to align these with identified Sustainable Development Goals.
Australia is especially appreciative and supportive of the Agency’s activities to identify and address the needs of least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Comments on TCF Financial Reporting
Like other Member States, we recognise that the success of the Technical Cooperation Programme requires sufficient, assured and predictable funding. To this end, Australia has consistently paid our assessed target share of the TCF in full and on-time. We continue to believe that this is the best way to provide certainty to the Programme.
We welcome the advice that at the end of 2017:
- The percentage of the amount pledged to the TCF against the total target share was 99.6% and
- the rate of attainment on pledges was 97.7%, both of which represent significant increases since last year;
- one of the eight States with Assessed Program Costs arrears had paid the entire amount, and the other seven have paid at least part of the assessed amounts; and
- National Participation Costs arrears have dropped from 812,676 Euros to 405,558 Euros.
We hope that these trends continue. Payment of all TCF target shares, Assessed Programme Costs and National Participation Costs, regardless of how small, is important to the effective operation of, and demonstrates Member State commitment to, the Technical Cooperation Programme. We encourage all Member States to pay their assessed contributions on time and in full.
Comments on Australia’s additional support to the TCP
Over the years, Australia has made a number of extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA for its development programs under the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI). We encourage other Member States, in a position to do so, to consider making PUI contributions.
In 2017, we made a modest PUI contribution (27,727 Euros) to support a meeting to align the Technical Cooperation Programme with the development goals of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which resulted in the formation of an inter-regional SIDS project in the 2018-2019 TC cycle.
In addition to our TCF target share, Australia also provides significant in-kind contributions to the Agency, by providing experts for Agency-related projects and missions, and hosting training programs, fellows and scientific visitors.
For example, in the last year Australia hosted:
- A Regional Training Course on “The Use of Isotopic Techniques for Groundwater Dating”, 14-18 August 2017;
- the Final Progress Review and Coordination Meeting of a project on“Building Capacity for Applications of Advanced Non-Destructive Evaluation Technologies for Enhancing Industrial Productivity”, 20 to 24 November, 2017;
- the Final Coordination Meeting and Workshop on “Application of SPECT, SPECT/CT and PET/CT on Clinical Paediatric Nuclear Medicine”, 13 - 17 November, 2017;
- A Review Meeting and Workshop on “Updates on Theranostics”, 16 to 20 April 2018; and
- A Regional Workshop on “Establishment and Maintenance of National Dose Registries”, 24-25 May 2018
Australia has also committed to host forthcoming events including:
- A Regional Training Course on “Radiochemical Analysis of Marine Environmental Samples”, 4 to 15 June, 2018;
- A Regional Training Course on the “Application of Fallout Radionuclides and Stable Isotopes to Soil Quality and Soil Erosion Research”, 5-9 November 2018;
- A Regional Training Course on “Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy”, 5-9 November 2018.
Comments on Regional Reporting
The report shows that in Australia’s region, Asia and the Pacific, the highest percentages of ‘actuals’ for programme distribution were in the areas of ‘Safety and Security’, ‘Health and Nutrition’, and ‘Food and Agriculture’. These themes are of great importance in enabling our region to continue to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.
An analysis of actuals by Member State again suggests that resources are not being necessarily distributed to those with the greatest development need (see in particular Supplement Tables B.3, B.4 and C.3). As we have stated previously, Australia’s view is that if possible Member States should fund their own Technical Cooperation activities so that the TCF resources can be utilised to benefit developing countries – particularly Least Developed Countries. We note this does not prevent participation by Member States in TC projects, but rather helps to ensure that resources go where they are most needed.
Comments on Women’s participation
As we commented last year, Australia is appreciative of the explicit reporting of women’s participation in TC in both the Report and Supplement (Report Section: A.2.3 Female participation in the TC Program; Supplement Table C.4: Women’s Participation in Technical Cooperation 2017).
Australia notes that women’s participation in TC varies greatly around the world and that women’s participation in TC training activities is considerably higher than their participation as experts. Over time we anticipate this disparity will disappear. In this context, we suggest that it might be useful for the data in Supplement Table C.4 to be presented in graphical form as a function of time so that trends can be tracked.
With these comments, the Australian delegation takes note of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2017 and its Supplement, and recommends their transmission to the General Conference.
Thank you Chair.