On behalf of the G-77 and China, I wish to thank the acting Director-General, Mr. David Waller for his opening statement, on behalf of the Director-General and also DDG Qian, for introducing the proposed TC programme for 2003-2004.
As this is the last TACC meeting to be attended by DDG Qian as head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, I should like to convey to him the Group's sincere appreciation for the service he has rendered over the past 10 years. He has injected into the management of the TC programme a great deal of conceptual innovation and operational improvements, the overall result of which has been better TC projects with significant impact.
We shall always remember him as a hands-on manager with boundless energy; an accessible person with a frank and open manner.
We wish him all the best in his future endeavours, as he returns to his homeland.
The Group reiterates the great value it attaches to Technical Cooperation Activities and in this respect sees merit in the main tools included in the Technical Cooperation Strategy: the central criterion, thematic planning and Country Program Frameworks.
2. In this connection, the Group notes that these main concepts are included in the introduction to document GOV/2002/52, and believes that they can contribute to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Technical Cooperation.
3. This notwithstanding, the Group is of the view that these tools should not be implemented in a way that may create cumbersome and unnecessary pre-conditions that may actually hamper Technical Cooperation instead of enhancing it. The Group thus strongly believes that the application of the central criterion should be undertaken with enough flexibility so as to allow the Secretariat to take into account specific situations in various Member States and continue to respond to the needs and priorities defined by recipient Member States.
4. In the same vein, in relation to the ideas conveyed in paragraph 6, while believing that the goals of self-sufficiency and sustainability of nuclear institutions are valid ones, the Group stresses that these concepts should by no means constitute a pre-qualification for the approval of Technical Cooperation projects submitted by Member States. Moreover, the Group believes that not too much emphasis should be put on the market aspects of nuclear activities, since in a great majority of recipient Member States these activities are mainly conducted by the Government and do not aim primarily at financial profits.
5. In addition, the Group believes that further efforts should be made to identify more Regional Resources centres and to develop outsourcing mechanisms in the context of enhancing Technical Cooperation among Developing countries (TCDC), as requested by the 46th session of the General Conference in resolution GC(46)/RES/8. The Group considers that TCDC will continue to be an important element of the Agency's Technical Cooperation Strategy.
6. In the context of the Group's strong support for regional and inter-regional projects, the Group would like to encourage the expeditious and successful conclusion of the negotiations on the initiative 'Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East' (SESAME), which aims at enhancing collaboration in radiation science, technology and application.
7. The Group deems it important to recall that both Technical Cooperation and Verification are statutory activities of the Agency and that an equitable balance should be maintained between these two basic fields, so that the IAEA may continue to correspond to the aspirations of developing Member States.
8. In the Group's view, however, the current trends do not seem promising. On the one hand, the target for the Technical Cooperation Fund was frozen at US$ 73 million from 1999 to 2002. The last General Conference decided to set this target at US$ 74,75 million for 2003 and 2004, an amount that represents an adjustment of less than the inflation average in each year. In this connection, the Group recalls that it endorsed the rate of attainment mechanism established by resolution GC(44)/RES/8 on the understanding that such mechanism would lead to a substantial increase in the actual payment of contributions to the TCF. As we are aware, the rate of attainment of 85% for 2002 might not be achieved, a prospect that is not encouraging and that indicates the need for an early review of this mechanism.
9. On the other hand, the Group recalls that it reluctantly agreed to remove the shielding scheme according to resolution GC(44)/RES/9 on the understanding that this would facilitate the timely payment of the full share of the contributions of major donors to the Technical Cooperation Fund. The results of these financing arrangements, however, do not seem to correspond to the Group's expectations. Besides the de-shielding process, which will begin in 2004, next year Member States will consider a proposal to increase the safeguards budget by about US$ 30 million per year. The Group thus once again stresses the need for adequate, predictable and assured resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund.
10. In this connection, the Group would like to stress that the implementation of additional activities in the field of nuclear security should not take place at the expense of the established priorities of the Technical Cooperation Program. Such priorities should continue to be defined by recipient Member States, according to their national interests and socio-economic development plans.
11. All these elements point out to the fact that the necessary balance between promotional and verification activities of the IAEA may be seriously impaired in the near future, which is a matter of great concern for the Group of 77 and China.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
The Group attaches great importance to the evaluation of Technical Cooperation activities, which can have a substantive contribution to improve quality standards of Technical Cooperation implementation.
2. The Group notes with satisfaction the preliminary conclusions of the self-evaluation initiated by Brazil in 2001 and believes that similar self-evaluation exercises may help enhance national planning and implementation capabilities in other Members of the Group.
3. In relation to paragraph 10 of the document, the Group is glad to note that the majority of Member States are already implementing the Technical Cooperation strategic reorientation towards the end-user and a focus on results linked to socioeconomic development. This conclusion reinforces the Group's view that the central criterion should be seen as an auxiliary tool, and not as a pre-condition for the approval of Technical Cooperation projects. If countries are moving in the right direction with respect to the reorientation of the Technical Cooperation strategy, the Agency should seek ways to encourage them to continue enhancing their respective planning capabilities in the framework of nationally defined priorities.
4. The Group is still analyzing the recommendations contained in Annexes A and C and will convey its comments in due course.
5. Finally, the Group takes note of the Evaluation Work Plan for 2003, which includes important fields for evaluation.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.