Statement of the Group of 77 and China during the Working Group Meeting on the Medium-Term Strategy, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, Permanent Representative of Algeria

Vienna, 27 October 2010

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Group of 77 and China, I wish to thank Ambassador Feruta for his continued efforts at leading the discussions of this open-ended working group on the preparation of the Medium Term Strategy for 2012-2017, as well as the Secretariat for the preparation of the initial draft of the new MTS. The Group wishes to assure you of its support and cooperation as we aim to conclude the discussions on the MTS.

While reiterating its views in its previous letters of 12 April 2010, 25 May 2010 and 12 July 2010, the Group believes that this initial draft can serve as a good basis for the continuation of discussions. The Group wishes to raise the following initial comments on the draft document:

The Group is pleased to note that the current draft is more streamlined and focused in its approach, while maintaining a certain degree of flexibility that will enable the Agency to adapt to new developments and the changing needs and priorities of Member States in its implementation.

On "The Chapeau": the Group believes that a clear reference should be added to the Agency's role in nuclear disarmament in conformity with Article III.B.1 which stipulates that the "Agency shall conduct its activities ... in conformity with policies of the United Nations furthering the establishment of safeguarded worldwide disarmament and in conformity with any international agreements entered into pursuant to such policies".

On "Section A: Facilitating Access to Nuclear Power", the Group believes that the specific reference to some of the services being provided by the Agency in the areas of nuclear safety and nuclear security as well as non-proliferation are misplaced since safety, security and safeguards are cross-cutting issues and there are already separate sections in the draft wholly devoted to these issues. Further, "safety standards" and "security guidance" should be distinguished from each other as they have different legal status. The reference to "international instruments" should also be deleted as these can only be used as reference and be legally-binding to States that have ratified the same, and can only be changed by amendment.

On "Section D: Providing Effective Technical Cooperation", while the Group does not object to the promotion of partnerships and utilization of existing mechanisms at the regional and bilateral levels, where appropriate, the Group is concerned at the primary focus in the draft MTS in advancing partnerships. The Group stresses that these should not be pursued as an end in itself, and therefore cannot be used as a criterion for the assessment of achievement under the TC Program. The Group reiterates that the Agency shall continue to pursue its primary statutory objective "to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contributions of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world" as laid out in Article II of the Statute, particularly since the Agency is the only international organization with the technical competence and expertise to fulfill this objective. The TC Programme should continue to play its central role in fulfilling the Agency's statutory function as an essential vehicle for cooperation by facilitating Member States' free access to the peaceful uses of atomic energy, the transfer of nuclear technology, the development of research, the application and utilization of atomic energy for peaceful purposes based on their needs, priorities and capacities.

On Section F: providing efficient, innovative management and strategic planning, the Group would like the inclusion of a paragraph stating that "The Agency will encourage member States' ratifications of the amendment to Article-VI of the Statute. Once entered into force, it will enhance the representative and broad-based character of the Board, thereby contributing to greater political ownership and effectiveness of Agency's programmes. The Secretariat will enhance its outreach activities to fulfill this objective."

On Technical Assistance: The Group also wishes to stress that the provision of TC assistance is made based on the request of each Member State pursuant to the provisions of INF/CIRC 267. The Group further stresses that in the provision of such assistance, neither the Statute nor INFCIRC/267 make any distinction between developing Member States with respect to their level of development.

The Group also believes that greater emphasis must be placed on the Agency striving to ensure that resources to the TCF are sufficient, assured and predictable.

Finally, the Group also wishes to seek clarification on the provision in the draft that there will be "emphasis on the expanded use of regional goods and services so that Member States increasingly become resources for technical cooperation activities". The Group maintains its view that the increased use of such facilities could be encouraged so that they become sustainable. The Group cannot agree that this is turned into an objective to "graduate" Member States so as to reduce the number of TC recipients.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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