Allow me, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive introductory statement and the DDG for Technical Cooperation, Ms. Ana María Cetto, for presenting this agenda item. I would also like to thank the TC Department for preparing the documents under this agenda item.
The Group wishes to take this opportunity to extend its warm congratulations to you and is confident that under your able guidance the meeting will achieve significant results in advancing the Agency´s technical cooperation programme.
The G-77 and China wishes to reiterate that it attaches great importance to the Agency´s technical cooperation activities, as they are the main statutory vehicle for transferring nuclear technology to developing countries for their socio-economic uplift through the peaceful application of atomic energy.
Last year, the G-77 and China proposed a number of actions which translated the Group´s vision on the IAEA´s technical cooperation programme. These proposals were not intended to replace the unique efforts implemented by the Secretariat to improve the efficiency of the technical cooperation programme, but, rather, to complement them. By proposing those actions, developing countries sought to ensure that the technical cooperation activities are strong, efficient and effective in meeting their national needs in a sustainable manner and that TC activities continue to match the growing needs of developing countries in key areas for their sustainable development, such as the peaceful applications of nuclear technology in power, water management, health, industry and agriculture.
The proposals also aimed at enhancing the Agency's contribution to the fulfillment of the Millennium Declaration goals and ensuring that the Agency is really seen as an important partner for development. Other actions proposed were the introduction of possible new sources of financing and practical mechanisms allowing for the incorporation of footnote a/ projects into the core technical cooperation activities, the development of strong operational partnerships between the IAEA and other international agencies and financial institutions, South-South cooperation and increased efforts to improve the rate of implementation of the overall programme. While recognizing that some of these actions are already being implemented by the Agency, the Group of 77 and China would very much appreciate being kept informed about the development of the above-mentioned proposals.
Let me now turn specifically to this year´s agenda. In what concerns document GOV/2004/80, on the Agency´s proposed technical cooperation programme for 2005-2006, the G-77 and China takes note of the initiatives undertaken by the Department of Technical Cooperation to improve the preparation of the technical cooperation programme for the next biennium, especially the increased reliance on Country Programme Frameworks and the enhanced use of thematic planning. The Group hopes that these and other management initiatives described in the document will help improve the planning and delivery of the TC Programme in the interest of developing countries. The Group of 77 and China stands ready to participate more closely with the Secretariat in the preparation and follow-up of such initiatives.
The Group notes with concern the presence of a large number of footnote a/ projects in the proposal and urges the Secretariat to find out concrete ways and means to seek financial resources for such projects.
As regards the application of the due account mechanism, the Group is of the view that the Secretariat should engage in consultations with concerned Member States prior to its application. The Group is also very interested in receiving additional information on the application of the "due account" to donor Member States, an integral part of the mechanism, and trusts the Secretariat will develop additional ways to apply the mechanism to those States.
The G-77 and China notes with satisfaction that the priority areas selected by the department of TC in its one-year plan include promotion of TCDC. In this context further efforts should be made to prepare the guidance for using regional resource centres.
As for recommended action (f), contained in document GOV/2004/80, the G-77 and China is of the view that the Secretariat should consult Member States before adjusting the core programme if there is a shortfall of the funds made available to the Technical Cooperation Fund.
Regarding document GOV/INF/2004/13, on the Implementation of the Model Projects for Upgrading Radiation Protection Infrastructure, the Group of 77 and China notes with satisfaction that "the Model Projects have", inter-alia, "played a major role in the Secretariat's activities aimed at facilitating Member States' compliance with the BSS", that "they have been instrumental in introducing effective and harmonized regulatory mechanisms contributing to sustainability in all relevant areas of the safety of radiation sources, and they have enhanced global and regional cooperation and helped to promote the worldwide standardization, harmonization and implementation of internationally adopted safety measures and procedures". The Group is of the view that, when requested to do so, the IAEA must assist Member States to overcome existing problems in this area and improve their safety related capabilities, by providing the requested technical assistance.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I wish to express the appreciation of the Group of 77 and China to Mr. Ibrahim Ali Zeekeh, Director, Office of Internal Oversight Services for presenting the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in the year 2004 as contained in document GOV/INF/2004/14.
The Group of 77 and China would like to express the importance it attaches to evaluation processes as a means to enhance efficiency in the implementation of the TC Programme. In order to achieve this purpose, it is important that evaluations remain neutral and transparent, do not prejudge a particular result and are as exhaustive as possible in terms of the matter under evaluation, the countries and people interviewed and the time frame to carry out such exercise.
In this context, the Group recognises the positive overview of recommendations on two successful regional projects, the Model Project for Upgrading Radiation Protection Infrastructure and Tissue Banking. As regards Annex III the Group would like to recall that the evaluation proposed last year to the Board was meant to review the Agency's role in relation to regional agreements as complementary frameworks for the Technical Co-operation Strategy, as well as their added value to the TC programme and how efficiently and effectively regional agreements are at achieving their intended results. Section 2 of Annex III gives a general positive outlook about the objectives, priorities and commitment found in projects reviewed, it acknowledges in kind contributions made under regional agreement projects, as well as TCDC activities and outcomes achieved. However, Section III contradicts Section II.
Instead of evaluating each modality of cooperation on its own merits, one modality has been compared against the other resulting in the recommendations that the Group does not share, given the methodology and factual limitations of this particular evaluation process.
The Group would like to reaffirm that the two modalities of regional cooperation are certainly required and have proven useful to promote the transfer of nuclear science and technology for peaceful uses to and amongst developing countries, including LDC's. The Group of 77 and China wishes to emphasize that regional cooperative agreements, i.e., RCA, ARCAL and AFRA, are primarily run by Member States, with Agency support. The enhancement of such agreements should continue to be done within the context of cooperation and dialogue between their members with the valuable suggestions of the relevant Agency coordinators.
The Group rejects that recommendation 1a) become a guideline for the Secretariat and urge it to carry out consultations with the Member States of regional agreements in order to seek their detailed comments on Annex III of document GOV/INF/2004/14 as well as the best way to implement recommendations that in the long run could be truly beneficial to both members of the agreements and the Agency.
Considering that recent chances to enhance regional cooperative agreements and the implementation of accepted recommendations under Annex III will bear concrete results in the medium term, it will be premature to evaluate regional cooperative agreements again in 2005. For this reason, the Group recommends that the Secretariat selects a cross cutting or thematic area as a subject for its next evaluation process.
Thank you Madam Chair.