Statement by the Group of 77 and China during the Board of Governors of the IAEA starting on 8 June 2015, delivered by the Chairman of the Group of 77
H.E. Ambassador Armin Andereya, PR of Chile
Agenda Item 2: The Annual Report for 2014
1. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China, I would like to thank the Director General for his introductory statement and the Secretariat for preparing the draft of the Annual Report for 2014 as contained in document GOV/2015/27.
2. The Group notes that nuclear power remains an important option not only for countries with existing nuclear programs, but also for developing countries with growing energy needs. The Group further notes that more than 30 countries are considering, planning or starting Nuclear Power Programmes, of which the majority are developing countries.
3. The Group encourages the Agency to continue providing the necessary support to Member States interested in launching and expanding their nuclear power programmes. The Group takes note with satisfaction of the guidance provided by the Agency in its support to existing nuclear power programmes, as well as its facilitating role in the sharing of knowledge among interested countries, and encourages the Secretariat to continue pursuing activities in this field.
4. The Group welcomes the work of the Agency in the applications of nuclear technologies and, specifically, the assistance provided to Member States in this regard. Nuclear technologies and applications make an important contribution to sustainable development and, therefore, the Group welcomes the fact that in 2014 the Agency continued to assist Member States, based on their national priority needs. The Group, therefore, encourages the Agency to continue helping Member States to build, strengthen and maintain capacities in the safe, peaceful and secure use of nuclear technology, as well as to keep providing assistance to interested Member States in building up their capacities for national energy assessments and planning through technical assistance, review services, training, capacity-building and knowledge networks.
5. The Group underlines the need to increase the transfer of nuclear technology to and the sharing of nuclear knowledge with developing countries, to enhance their capabilities. In this regard, preservation and management of nuclear knowledge continues to be a high priority for many Member States. In this regard, the Group is pleased to note that the Agency continued to conduct knowledge management assist visits during the period under review, to G-77 countries. The Group also welcomes the continued support by the Agency of activities of and collaboration among regional nuclear education networks. In this regard, the Group welcomes the work conducted in 2014 with regional networks for nuclear education in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Group encourages the Secretariat to continue to provide its assistance to interested Member States in capacity building and nuclear knowledge management.
6. On the collection and dissemination of information, the Group acknowledges the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) as a key provider of knowledge on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, and welcomes the assistance and on the job training provided by the Agency to a number of national INIS centres during the reporting period. The Group is pleased to note that the INIS Collection was made readily searchable through the internet. The Group encourages the Agency to continue providing assistance and on the job training to national INIS centres as well as perfecting the capabilities and maximizing the potential of INIS.
7. The Group encourages the Agency to continue to provide support to Member States, in particular to developing countries, in the enhancement of the skills of the human resources involved in their nuclear programmes.
8. The Group attaches high importance to the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), as a relevant forum gathering technology holders and users with the aim of achieving innovations in nuclear reactors and fuel cycles. The Group welcomes the growing interest of Member States in INPRO, and welcomes the accession of Bangladesh and Thailand to INPRO.
9. The Group welcomes that an increase in the allocation of INPRO has been proposed for 2016, and calls for continued support for INPRO from the Regular Budget.
10. The Group also values the support of the Agency to interested Member States for an integrated use of assistance in building national capacities in energy analysis and planning; Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions, and national Nuclear Energy System Assessments (NESAs) for the development of long term strategies for nuclear energy deployment using the INPRO methodology.
11. The Group notes with appreciation the meetings and training courses organized by the Secretariat during the reporting period, in the identification and extraction of uranium resources, and in the assessment of the availability of unconventional uranium resources. The Group encourages the Agency to continue on this path, and requests the Secretariat to continue to promote the participation of experts from developing countries in future activities organized to this end.
12. The Group attaches great value to Small and Medium-Sized Reactors (SMRs), and their potential benefit as a source of power generation, especially for Member States having relatively isolated communities or otherwise limited electrical grids; as well as their successful use in seawater desalination and their overall cost-effectiveness, as demonstrated through various projects in some Member States. The Group urges the Secretariat to continue its support to Member States in this regard.
13. The Group welcomes elaboration in the document under review, on the various activities carried out by the Agency in the field of atomic and nuclear data; research reactors and accelerator based technologies which serve social and economic development and have a wide variety of applications in the sectors such as energy, health, agricultural, educations and environment. The Group hereby reiterates its full support for the activities of the Agency in the realm of nuclear science, and urges the Secretariat to enhance its efforts in terms of the assistance provided to Member State to increase their capabilities in the development and application of nuclear science as a tool for their technological and economic development. The Group attaches the utmost importance to the attainment of this objective, which is enshrined in Article III.A.1 of the IAEA Statute.
14. The Group recognizes that radioisotope products are essential for nuclear applications and therefore appreciates the Agency's activities in this field which focus on promoting innovation in Member States. In light of the importance of this field of activity, the Group urges the Secretariat to enhance its efforts to strengthen national capabilities for radioisotope production and for the use of radiation technology; and to effectively contribute to improved health care and safe and clean industrial development in Member States.
15. In this context, the Group welcomes the activities carried out by the Agency in radioisotopes and radiation technology and, more specifically, its research on alternative technologies to produce medical isotopes. In this regard, we are pleased to note that the use of cyclotrons for producing medical isotopes, especially technetium-99m, is being explored as part of a coordinated research project. We encourage the Agency to keep pursuing this type of activities, with a view to averting future recurrence of molybdenum-99 shortages. In this context, the Group also welcomes the fact finding missions conducted by the Agency to developing countries in 2013 to assess infrastructure and define production requirements to supply national demand.
16. The Group attaches great importance to the various activities in the application of nuclear and isotopic techniques in the fields of food and agriculture, human health, management of water resources, environment, industry, as well as in radioisotope and radiation technology.
17. As regards Food and Agriculture, the Group commends the work that the Agency has been conducting over the years in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization, through the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. In particular, the Group welcomes the work done in 2014 in the areas of animal production and health; sustainable management of major insect pests; crop improvement through mutation breeding; soil and water management and crop nutrition; and food and environmental protection. We urge the Secretariat to maximize its efforts with a view to enhancing the capabilities of Member States in the application of nuclear techniques for sustainable agricultural development, with due focus placed on developing countries. In this regard, the Group encourages further expansion of these techniques to help attain essential objectives such as the eradication of animal diseases and increased yields in food production.
18. In the field of human health, the Group commends the work of the Agency in 2014 in expanding the use of radiation medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The Group encourages the Agency to continue to investigate the relevance of proton therapy to treat cancer for low and middle income countries. The Group urges the Agency to continue building capacities in developing countries, including those that still have no access to radiation medicine techniques and radiotherapy. The Group highly commends the continued efforts to strengthen collaboration of the Agency with leading cancer organizations through the WHO/IAEA Joint Programme on Cancer Control under the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). The Group encourages the Agency to continue addressing Member State requirements for comprehensive cancer control capacity and needs through the integrated missions of PACT (imPACT), and to foster more regional PACT programmes.
19. The Group acknowledges the efforts of the Agency to integrate PACT into the Technical Cooperation Programme. The Group is of the opinion that the Division of PACT should retain capacities and mechanisms to facilitate and support cancer control-related resource mobilization, its competence and its access to relevant technical expertise required to optimize the Agency’s efforts in cancer control, in accordance with the Resolution on Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications, adopted by the General Conference at its Fifty-Seventh Session GC/(57)/RES.12). The Group takes note with satisfaction that the PACT name has established itself as a known and respected brand in Member States and the international community.
20. The Group notes the outcomes of the International Symposium on Understanding Moderate Malnutrition in Children for Effective Interventions and that the Agency is making an important contribution to capacity building in this area. The Group further welcomes the support provided by the Agency to assist Member States, through the use of stable isotope techniques to evaluate programmes designed to treat malnutrition in early life. The Group encourages the Agency to continue with this work and to keep Member States informed in this regard.
21. The Group attaches great value to the role of the Agency’s Nuclear Applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, which have assisted Member States in enhancing their access to the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies since 1962. The Group appreciates the contributions made by certain Member States toward construction costs of the laboratories and calls on all Member States, in a position to do so, to provide the appropriate support to ensure that the Seibersdorf Laboratories are renovated in accordance with resolution GC/(58)/Res/13.
22. The Group recognizes the unique role that the Agency plays in enhancing the capabilities of Member States in managing the marine and terrestrial environmental pollutants using nuclear techniques and by providing reference materials to Member States to improve quality, accreditation and measurement procedures for the analysis of environmental samples. In this context, the Group takes note of the seven new reference materials developed by the Agency to assist regional laboratories to improve the quality of their analysis of marine and terrestrial samples. The Group attaches high importance to understanding environmental processes and identifying problems caused by radioactive and non-radioactive pollutants and climate change through the use of nuclear techniques and isotopes. The Group urges the Secretariat to pursue the efforts to this end with a perspective of the larger benefit of Member States. The Group notes with appreciation the periodic visits arranged by the Agency to the Environment Laboratories in Monaco.
Nuclear Safety and Security
23. The Group reiterates its appreciation for the Agency's continuing efforts to promote nuclear safety worldwide and welcomes the diverse Agency activities undertaken in 2014 in this area. While recognizing that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the States, the Group believes that the Agency plays an important role in this field as provided for in Article III of the Statute. The Group remains of the view that nuclear safety and nuclear security considerations should not hamper the utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
24. The Group attaches great value to the Agency’s assistance to developing countries embarking on nuclear power programmes and encourages the Agency to continue its efforts in developing and strengthening the nuclear safety infrastructure needed to develop nuclear power as part of their national energy mix.
25. The Group takes note of the Agency's continued efforts to disseminate lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Group also values the Agency’s support provided to Member States to strengthen their national safety regulatory bodies and takes note of the IRRS Missions and follow-up missions undertaken in 2014 in G-77 countries. The Group further takes note, with appreciation, of the Agency’s activities during the reporting period to support the development of solutions for the safe disposal of radioactive waste, especially low and intermediate level waste. Furthermore the Group takes note of the Agency’s continued efforts to improve occupational radiation protection.
26. The Group also appreciates the Agency’s efforts to strengthen national emergency preparedness and response capacities through EPREV missions in G-77 countries in 2014 and the Agency’s continued efforts to enhance the EPREV, including the establishment of Emergency Preparedness and Response Standard Committee. The Group also notes that the Agency began with the development of the Emergency and Response Information Management System (EPRIMS) and looks forward to more information in this regard in future. The Group further appreciates the Agency’s efforts to strengthen global, regional and national networks and the International Conference hosted by the Agency in China to this end.
27. The Group notes the Agency’s continued efforts in 2014 to contribute to global efforts to achieve effective nuclear security. The Group reiterates its view that the responsibility for nuclear security rests entirely with each State and that nuclear safety and nuclear security should not be a condition or pre-requisite for technical cooperation projects.
28. With regard to the section of the 2014 Annual Report on Technical Cooperation, the Group of 77 and China reiterates its call for the strengthening of the promotional activities of the Agency, including technical cooperation through the provision of adequate resources, so as to properly respond to the growing needs of Member States and to enhance the use of nuclear technology for sustainable development in Member States. The Group will provide detailed comments on this topic in its statement under agenda item 4, on the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014.
29. With these comments, the Group takes note of the Agency’s Annual Report for 2014 contained in document GOV/2014/27.
Agenda Item 3: Strengthening of the Agency's Technical Cooperation Activities-Technical Cooperation Report for 2014
1. The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, Mr. Kwaku Aning, for his introductory remarks under this agenda item. The Group also thanks the Technical Cooperation Department for preparing the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014 and its Supplement, both contained in document GOV/2015/24 and for the briefing provided to delegations on the 15 May, 2015.
2. The Group wishes to express its deep appreciation to Mr Aning for his dedication and unwavering support to the Technical Cooperation Programme and his commitment to promoting peaceful application of nuclear technology for development as well as his deep understanding for developing countries` priorities. The Group welcomes and looks forward to working closely with Mr. Yang, in the same spirit.
3. The Group highlights the paramount importance of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) in the promotion and transfer of nuclear technology for sustainable socioeconomic progress in developing countries, which is a key function of the Agency, as provided for in its Statute.
4. The Group reiterates that the Technical Cooperation Programme is a shared responsibility and that its success depends on the combined efforts of the Department of Technical Cooperation, other relevant departments and Member States. These efforts are crucial for the planning and successful implementation of the Programme, which should be based on the needs, evolving priorities and ownership of Member States implementing TC projects.
5. Indeed, the Group wishes to emphasise the importance of a TC Programme that is tailored to respond to the specific needs of individual countries, subregions and regions. The Group would also like to draw attention to the established process of the mid-term national planning mechanisms, such as Country Programme Frameworks, regional profiles and strategic frameworks through which these needs are identified and defined. The Group would like to reiterate that any changes to the established TC programmatic approach by the Secretariat should be considered in close consultation with Member States and, in particular, those participating in the TC Programme.
6. The Group takes note of the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat in 2014 with the purpose of enhancing transparency and efficiency in the delivery of TC projects. In this context, the Group reiterates that the present guidelines and criteria as contained in INF/CIRC/267 for the screening of TC project proposals, programme implementation and subsequent evaluation are sufficient and effective.
7. The Group further wishes to note the flexibility of the TC programme in responding to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in 2014 and is pleased to note that, whilst the TC programme emphasises forward planning and the development of cohesive national programmes, it is also able to respond rapidly to unforeseen events and provide much needed support to Member States.
8. The Group notes with concern that the rate of attainment on payments to the TCF for 2014, as at 31 December 2014, was 89.5%, lower than the 92.7% rate for 2013. The Group calls on all Member States to pay their contributions in accordance with the indicative scale of assessment in full and on time. The Group also requests the Secretariat to work closely with Member States to improve the rate of attainment on payments to the Technical Cooperation Fund, including through the Due Account Mechanism.
9. Furthermore, the Group notes with concern that despite the increasing number of developing countries that are recipients of technical cooperation from the Agency, the resources for the Technical Cooperation Programme, both financial and human, have remained stagnant over the years. This situation becomes all the more striking when comparing the TCF to the availability of increased funds to non-promotional activities. Figure 5 on page 18 of the TC Report clearly illustrates that the level of the TC Fund was only marginally more in 2014 than the level in 2007 resulting in a net-loss in funds available for TC implementation in the past.
10. In this context, the Group remains concerned that the resources available to the Technical Cooperation Programme are still not sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP) to meet the objectives mandated in Article II of the Statute, as called for by the General Conference year after year in its resolutions on technical cooperation. The Group also calls for sufficient human resources and adequate funding assigned to Major Programme 6 in the Regular Budget, in order to facilitate a successful delivery of the Technical Cooperation Programme and to enable the Technical Cooperation Department to meet the increasing needs of Member States.
11. In this regard the Group recalls the comments made by the External Auditor in the Agency’s Financial Statements for 2012, on the case load of Programme Management Officers. The External Auditor noted that the approximately 23 projects per PMO per year on average was a fairly large average and recommended that the Agency consider undertaking an evaluation of the number of personnel it requires to discharge the current obligations towards the projects. With the increase in the number of countries that will require technical cooperation programmes in the new biennium, the Group reiterates its concern regarding the case load of PMOs and urges the Agency to evaluate the situation and report to Member States in this regard.
12. The Group appreciates the extra budgetary contributions to the TC Programme and notes the recent announcements by Member States at the NPT Review Conference of increased contributions in this regard. The Group reminds Member States that extra-budgetary contributions are not assured and predictable and cannot replace the Technical Cooperation Fund, which is essential for ensuring a stable and strategic TC Programme. The Group calls on all Member States to ensure that the TC Fund has sufficient resources to fully implement the TC Programme.
13. The Group reiterates its call on the Agency to address long-standing obstacles such as delays and denials of equipment, as well as travel and visa restrictions arbitrarily imposed by a number of Member States, which negatively impacts programme delivery and rate of implementation.
14. The Group welcomes the success of the Technical Cooperation activities in the different regions, and commends the Secretariat for its support and assistance to Member States. In particular, the Group takes note, with appreciation, of the Technical Cooperation projects aimed at developing human resources and building capacity. The Group also notes the work of the Agency to correlate global development goals with the Agency’s fields of activity, with the view to supporting the alignment between the TC programme and the post-2015 development agenda. In this regard, the Group reiterates its strong position that TC should not be subject to any kind of conditionality under any guise, and urges the Agency in these efforts, to respect this principle.
15. The Group notes with appreciation the efforts made by the Agency in 2014 to help Member States develop their national and regional programmes for the 2016-2017 cycle. The Group also appreciates the continued efforts of the Secretariat to enhance the quality of the TC Programme providing support to Member States to ensure that the projects for the next TC cycle have measurable and attainable objectives.
16. The Group recalls GC resolution GC (58)/RES/12, which requests the Secretariat to continue examining in depth the specific characteristics and problems of the LDCs with respect to the peaceful applications of nuclear energy and to report its conclusions on this matter to the Member States during the next Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee, and to issue a report, in the form of a supplementary document to the next Technical Cooperation Report. The Group requests the Agency to make these findings available before the next General Conference.
17. As stated before by the Group, alignment with United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs) should not be made a requirement for TC projects. However, the Group takes note of the Agency's increasing visibility within the UN system with a view to contributing toward the global development agenda through its TC programme.
18. In this context, the Group stresses the vital role of the National Liaison Officers (NLOs) in TC project design and implementation. The continued strengthening of the NLOs’ management capabilities, together with the strengthening of the role of the Programme Management Officer (PMO) and the coordination with the Permanent Missions in Vienna, would be essential to enhance country programme delivery. In this regard, the Group expresses its appreciation for the support given by the Agency to a strengthened role of the NLO, in particular through the NLO meetings biennially hosted in Vienna.
19. The Group believes that the Programme Management Officer (PMO), who is the direct interface between the Agency and the Member State, acts as the Agency’s resident expert on a Member State’s needs interests and priorities. In that regard, taking into account the technical nature of the Agency’s programmes, the close collaboration between the PMO and its counterpart in Member States, usually the National Liaison Officer (NLO), cannot be delegated to UN resident representatives. The joint responsibility of the PMO and the Member State’s counterpart is to carefully design projects based on the Central Criterion and developmental strategies of the Member States concerned, using the IT-based Programme Cycle Management Framework (PCMF).
20. The Group welcomes the information in Annex 1 of the Technical Cooperation Report, providing examples of technical cooperation projects by thematic sector in the fields of health and nutrition; food and agriculture; water and the environment; energy planning and nuclear power; radiation protection, nuclear safety and nuclear security; and nuclear knowledge development and management.
21. With these remarks, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2013 and its Supplement, both contained in document GOV/2014/21.
Agenda Item 4: Report of the Programme and Budget Committee
1. The Group of 77 and China takes note of the Report of the Programme and Budget Committee on its meetings held from 4-5 May 2015. The Group would like to thank DDG Janice Dunn Lee and her team for their efforts during the deliberations of the Committee, as well as the External Auditor and his staff for their report.
2. The Group thanks the co-chairs of the Working Group on the Regular Budget and TCF Targets 2016-2017 for leading the consultations.
3. The Group reiterates its position made during previous meetings on the preparation of the Agency's programme and budget for the biennium 2016-2017, as well as through the statement it delivered during the deliberations of the Programme and Budget Committee.
4. The Group would like to highlight once again its concern over the asymmetry that exists between the promotional and non-promotional activities of the Agency as reflected in the increases of the proposed regular budget directed towards non-promotional activities. In particular, the Group wishes to reiterate that an increase of 2.9 % for Major Programme 6 is not sufficient if the TC Department is to deliver a Technical Cooperation Programme that meets the needs and requirements of all Member States.
5. With regard to the deliberations in the Working Group on Programme and Budget and TCF Targets and the Co-Chairs proposal, the Group would like to make the following comments.
• The Group of G-77 and China has agreed to the proposal for TCF targets for 2016 and 2017 as reflected in paragraph (d). This proposal does not constitute an increase on the IPF dollar figure agreed to in 2013. This is a difficult concession for the Group to make, but has been in the spirit of compromise.
• The Group wishes to note that whilst the IPF’s for 2016-2017 were converted into Targets without any increase on the dollar amount, this should not be seen as setting a precedent. The Group shall negotiate for appropriate increases in the TC Targets for 2018-2019, taking into account the IPFs, the price increases and all other relevant factors.
• The Group views the IPFs for the biennium 2018-2019 as the basis for negotiations for the TCF Target for that biennium and the Group will negotiate for appropriate increases to the TCF Target for that Biennium.
6. The Group reiterates that the IPF is essential for the predictability of the TC Programme as it enables the TC Department and Member States, making use of Technical Cooperation, to plan projects for the coming biennium.
7. In addition, the Group would like to emphasize the importance of making the resources of the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) Sufficient, Assured, and Predictable (SAP). Whilst the currency fluctuations and the decision to set future targets in Euro have increased the resources of the TCF, the Group is of the view that these resources are still not sufficient.
8. With these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Report of the Programme and Budget Committee as contained in document (GOV/2015/32) and recommends its adoption.
Thank you Madame Chairperson.
Agenda Item 5: Report by the Working Group on Resource Mobilisation
1. The Group of 77 and China thanks the co-chairs of the Working Group on Resource Mobilization for leading the consultations of the Working Group and congratulates them for achieving a successful outcome.
2. The Group reiterates its support for the generation of additional sources of funding for Technical Cooperation activities and, in this regard, the concept of an Agency-specific Public-Private Partnership in line with the practice in the UN and in specialised agencies.
3. The Group is of the opinion that the Draft Strategic Guidelines on Partnerships and Resource Mobilization will strengthen the Agency’s capacity to tap into new and additional resources through resource mobilization and public-private partnerships for Technical Cooperation, in order to complement the current sources of funding to the TC Programme.
4. The Group reiterates its principled position that additional sources of funding, such as public-private partnerships and extra-budgetary funding cannot replace the Technical Cooperation Fund, which is essential for a sustainable and strategic TC Programme.
5. With these comments the Group takes note of the Draft Strategic Guidelines on Partnerships and Resource Mobilization.
Agenda Item 8: Assurances of Supply – Establishment of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank for the supply of LEU to Member States
1. The Group of 77 takes note of developments relating to the issue of assurance of supply, and reiterates its views and concerns expressed on this matter in its statements during the previous sessions of the Board, from 2009 onwards, which, inter alia, stated that any arrangement for assurance of supply shall be in full accordance with the Statute and take into account the respective legal obligations of Member States, as well as the principle of non-discrimination, whereby the inalienable right of Member States to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including national nuclear fuel cycles, is duly respected.
2. Taking into account that, according to paragraph 32 of document GOV/INF/2015/10, current IAEA LEU Bank funding is sufficient to cover all aspects of the project at least until the end of the initial 10 year term of the Host State Agreement, the Group calls on the Secretariat to provide more information on the financial implications for the Agency’s resources, including the Regular Budget, in the event of a shortfall in funds for the Banks operation.
3. The Group requests the Secretariat to keep Member States informed of further developments, on the issues of concern.
4. With these remarks, the Group takes note of the documents GOV/INF/2015/10, GOV/2015/23 and GOV/2015/36.
Item 12: AOB – Establishment of Emergency Preparedness and Response Standards Committee
1. The Group of 7 and China thanks the Secretariat for the information provided in document GOV/INF/2015/9 on the establishment of a new Emergency Preparedness and Response Standards Committee (EPReSC) under the Commission on Safety Standards.
2. The Group welcomes the establishment of the EPR standards committee, and notes that it will provide for more consistency and effectiveness in developing and harmonizing Emergency Preparedness and Response standards.
3. The Group also notes that the EPR standards committee will enable to strengthen the role of EPR professionals and experts in the overall process of establishing the Agency’s safety standards. The Group further notes that the involvement of EPR experts will achieve an increase in quality, transparency and consistency of EPR aspects within the Agency safety standards.