Statement of the Group of 77 and China during the Informal Consultations regarding the IAEA draft Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021, on 20 March 2017, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Reza NAJAFI, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Vienna, 20 March 2017
1. The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Secretariat for preparing the draft Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021 and for organizing these informal consultations. In addition to remarks made during our last meeting, 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 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 some elements in the current draft of the Plan which are not in line with the GC Resolution. The Group holds the view that the Plan should be more concise and reflect the language in the resolution. The Group requests the Secretariat to include, as appropriate, cross references in the Plan with the GC Resolution and the Ministerial Declaration – a practice that was followed for the Nuclear Security Plan 2014-2017.
5. 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. The Group notes that this important principle has not been fully mentioned in paragraph 3 of the Draft Plan. In paragraph 6, the principle is combined with an assertion of a different nature.
- 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 concern the language used in paragraphs 2, 3 and 6 of the Draft Plan of Action, which does not reflect what the GC resolution states. Furthermore, this language seems 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. Paragraph 2 mentions that “a sustained focus on nuclear security” would be required “to enable the continued use of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy”. Paragraph 3 states that “appropriate and effective national systems for nuclear security are vital in facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy”. Paragraph 6 asserts that “Nuclear security should be considered an indispensable component of, rather than an impediment to, the development of peaceful nuclear applications”.
6. The Group requests that these parts in the aforementioned paragraphs be deleted or redrafted to reflect the GC Resolution and the Ministerial Declarations of 2013 and 2016.
7. The Group is of the view that the Secretariat should consider limiting the text of the Plan to factual statements, as has been done in paragraph 4 of section A. The text should also identify clearly those assertions which correspond to the Secretariat’s assessment.
8. In this regard, the Group notes that the draft contains a number of assertions by the Secretariat which have not been considered by Member States, namely:
- in paragraph 7, the document mentions that “States have increasingly recognized that nuclear security requires a global response to a global threat”;
- also in paragraph 7, it is mentioned that “the Agency provides a platform for global response by providing nuclear security guidance, good practices, information, education and training applicable to all States”;
- also in paragraph 7, it is mentioned that “States increasingly expect that the Agency will respond to this need through further development of this role in nuclear security”;
- in paragraph 8, the draft affirms that “new and rapidly developing technologies are posing challenges to which national nuclear security regimes must respond”;
- in paragraph 10, it should be made clear that it was the Secretariat that identified the lessons mentioned in that segment of the draft.
9. The Group notes that the Draft Plan refers to the emergence of additional areas and the evolution of existing areas and changes in the global security situation. The Group reiterates the need to have a thourough discussion on the elements mentioned in paragraph 9, pages 3 and 4 of the Draft Plan, such as bullet 8, which mentions “the identification of alternative technologies where economically viable”, as well as bullet 10, which relates to the Agency supporting Member States in confronting evolving challenges pertaining to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), interconnected computer-based systems etc.
10. 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 requests the Secretariat to reflect this principle consistently throughout section D of the Draft Plan.
11. 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 requests further information on the implications of Section E of the Draft Plan, on Programme Management and Resources, in particular with regard to the following points:
- in paragraph 79, the draft mentions that “The Secretariat continues to seek increases to the share of its funding that comes from the regular budget”
- in paragraph 81, it is mentioned that “the Secretariat anticipates greater reliance on the regular budget”
- in paragraph 83, the document asserts that “the Secretariat must be prepared to address possible reductions in contributions to the Nuclear Security Fund”.
12. The Group is still considering the document and may come up with additional comments in subsequent meetings.
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.