Statement of the Group of 77 and China during the Informal Consultations regarding the IAEA draft Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021, on 6 July 2017, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Reza Najafi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Vienna, 6 July 2017
Mr. Raja Adnan, Acting DDG,

1. The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Secretariat for preparing a revised draft of the Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021, as attached to Note 58, and for organizing these informal consultations. In addition to remarks made during our last meetings, the Group would like to offer the following comments.

2. The Group would like to recall the General Conference Resolution on Nuclear Security adopted in 2016 (GC(60)/RES/10), which called upon the Agency to develop the Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021 in a close consultation process between the Secretariat and Member States. In this regard, the Group would like to underscore once more the need for as many consultations as required until consensus is reached.

3. The Group would like to reiterate the notion that the role of the Agency in enhancing nuclear security and the scope of its activities in this field must be determined by Member States and must be guided by the General Conference resolution on nuclear security.

4. The Group notes that there are still some elements in the revised draft of the Plan which are not in line with the GC Resolution. In this regard, the Group once again requests the Secretariat to include cross references in the Plan with the GC Resolution and, as appropriate, the Ministerial Declaration – a practice that was followed for the Nuclear Security Plan 2014-2017.

5.  The Group holds the view that paragraph 3 of the revised Plan should be clarified to avoid the impression that the development of the Plan 2018-2021 is based solely on Programme 3.5 of the Agency’s Programme and Budget 2018-2019.

6. The Group would like to mention a few parts of the draft Plan, which, in its view, do not constitute an accurate reflection of what is contained in the GC Resolution:

- The Group underscores that the responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with that State. While this important principle has been mentioned in paragraph 2 of the revised Draft Plan, the Group notes that the use of the expression “at the same time” in the following phrase can be interpreted as a qualification of that principle. For this reason, the Group is of the view that the expression “at the same time” should be deleted.

- The Group reiterates its principled position that nuclear security considerations should not hamper international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, the production, transfer and use of nuclear and other radioactive material, the exchange of nuclear material for peaceful purposes and the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and should not undermine the established priorities of the Agency’s technical cooperation programme. This important principle has been stated in the resolutions on nuclear security adopted by the General Conference and reflected in the two Ministerial Declarations, adopted in 2013 and 2016.

- In this regard, the Group notes with appreciation that the language which did not reflect what the GC resolution states has been deleted. As previously stated by the Group, that language seemed to attempt to set a conditionality which would be unacceptable in light of the inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

7. The Group also notes with appreciation that the initial sections of the document – sections A, B and C of the previous version of the draft – have been made more concise and that the revised text is more limited to factual statements. At the same time, the Group holds the view that paragraphs 14 and 15 of section B.1. – “Priority and cross-cutting issues” – would merit further clarification, including cross-references to the GC resolution.

8. The Group notes that several similar references to United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 have been included in the revised text. The Group would like to mention that, in order to make the text more concise, a single reference to that document, in the exact terms in which it appears in the GC resolution, would suffice.

9. Bearing in mind that the responsibility for nuclear security within a state rests entirely with that state, the Group recalls that the Nuclear Security Plan aims to be a framework to provide assistance to Member States, upon request, to build their respective national capacities in nuclear security. In this regard, the Group highlights the need to reflect this principle consistently throughout section B of the Draft Plan.

10. The Group would request further information on the planned output contained in paragraph 62 for the period 2020-2021, which reads “Activities addressing current and evolving challenges and risks to nuclear security”.

11. The Group would also request further clarification on the activity listed in the section “Radiological Crime Scene Management and Nuclear Forensics Science”, which reads “Assisting States in building the capability to determine if nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control is consistent with national holdings and to query other States if nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control is not consistent with national holdings”.

12. The Group notes that the Agency’s first comprehensive plan of action was approved in March 2002 by the Board of Governors, together with the creation of a voluntary funding mechanism, the Nuclear Security Fund, in order to implement the Plan. The Group highlights the need to ensure an appropriate balance between activities in the promotional and non-promotional areas. In this regard, the Group urges the Secretariat to avoid the introduction of any elements in the Plan that do not enjoy consensus and requests further information on the implications of paragraph 10, in Section B, and of Section C of the revised Draft Plan, on Programme Management and Resources, in particular with regard to the following points:

- paragraph 10 states that “Each project includes a task focusing on overall management, typically funded through the regular budget”, a notion that was not found in the previous version of the draft;
- in paragraph 64, the draft mentions that “increases to the share of its funding that comes from the regular budget will be sought within the context of the overall regular budget allocation”;
- in paragraph 66, it is mentioned that “Although an increase in the regular budget to fund staff implementing core activities would facilitate programme implementation, the Agency will continue to rely on extrabudgetary funds to finance programme activities.” In spite of the fact that paragraph 66 has been changed when compared with paragraph 81 of the previous version of the draft, it retains – and even strengthens – the notion that there should be greater reliance on the regular budget;

- in paragraph 68, the document asserts that “the Secretariat must be prepared to address possible reductions in contributions to the Nuclear Security Fund”.

13. With these comments, the G-77 and China looks forward to further consultations on the draft Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021 with a view to its finalization in due course.

Thank you, Mr. Raja Adnan, Acting DDG.

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