Statement of the G-77 and China during the IAEA TACC
Meeting, 23-24 November 2009, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Eugenio María
Curia, Permanent Representative of Argentina
Agenda item 2: Technical Cooperation: The Agency's proposed programme for 2010
Allow me, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, to thank the Director-General for the Agency's Proposed Programme for 2010 as contained in document GOV/2009/65 and its Addenda.
The Group wishes to extend to you its warm congratulations on your assumption of duties as Chairperson of the Board of Governors.
The Group wishes to thank the DDG for Technical Cooperation, Ms. Ana María Cetto, for presenting this agenda item and the TC Department for preparing the relevant documents as well as for the briefings on issues related to this meeting.
The Group wishes to reiterate the paramount importance it attaches to the Agency's technical cooperation activities. According to the Statute, these activities are the main statutory vehicles for transferring nuclear technology to developing countries. The Group strongly emphasizes that the promotion of peaceful applications of atomic energy constitutes a fundamental element of the statutory activities of the Agency, and as highlighted in INFCIRC/267, the provision of technical assistance constitutes a major high-priority function of the Agency, and the responsibility for its success devolves on all Departments of the Secretariat.
Such a goal cannot be achieved if we fail to ensure that the Agency's resources for technical co-operation activities are sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP) as called for by the General Conference resolutions.
In this connection, it is important that Member States contribute their TCF target shares in full and in a timely manner. The Group firmly believes, as emphasized in the Agency's guidelines contained in INFCIRC/267, that the Agency's resources for technical assistance shall continue to be devoted primarily to meeting the needs of developing countries.
The Group supports all initiatives that contribute to achieving these objectives in all developing Member States through the established programmatic approach.
The Group also recognizes that close coordination between the Member States and the Secretariat is crucial for the better planning and successful implementation of the TCP, which is essentially based on the needs and evolving priorities of the recipient Member States.
The Group remains confident that the Secretariat continues to develop the TC programme in a professional, impartial and non-discriminatory manner, following a well-established process, based on Member States' needs, in line with the Agency's Statute. It is fundamental for the credibility of the Agency that technical assistance and cooperation as stipulated in Article III C of the Agency's Statute is not subject to any political, economic, military or other conditions incompatible with its provisions.
Taking into account that the Secretariat is making an effort to make the Programme Cycle Management Framework (PCMF) user-friendly, the Group would like to stress that this platform should continue to be utilized exclusively to enhance transparency among national stakeholders and be accessible only to relevant project counterparts. The Group also emphasizes that all measures taken in this regard should preserve and enhance the ownership of technical cooperation projects by recipient Member States.
The Group continues to stress the vital role of the National Liaison Officers in TC project implementation, while keeping in mind the responsibilities of Member States in the designation of their respective NLOs. In this context, strengthening the role of the Programme Management Officer (PMO), which is the direct interface between the Agency and the Member State, is essential to enhance country programme delivery.
Regarding the Country Programme Framework (CPF), which the Secretariat may use as part of the overall guidance for the programming process, the Group would like to reemphasize that this is a non-legally binding document and is also subject to revisions as Member States' priorities evolve. Hence, the CPF should not be used as a basis for restricting Member States' requests for technical support, nor should it be a definitive reference for approval of Member States' TC projects. The Group thus strongly believes that the application of the CPF, which is essentially a process of dialogue, should be undertaken with the necessary 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. The Group further emphasizes that it should be within the sole discretion of concerned Member States to provide access to information contained in its CPF to other parties.
The Group stresses that the supply of equipment is a statutory responsibility of the Agency as stipulated under Article XI.C. The supply of equipment is essential for the successful implementation of the relevant TC projects.
Endeavors pertaining to streamlining, building partnerships, outsourcing, or "delivering as one" must not jeopardize or reduce the capabilities and resources available to the Agency for activities related to TC.
These endeavors should in no way dilute the existing mechanisms to deliver
the technical cooperation to member states. The Agency needs to enhance activities related to its unique core competencies to be able to independently implement its statutory functions related to the TCP and respond to the requests of Member States. Therefore, the Group finds it necessary that the Agency maintains a sufficient level of in-house expertise and capabilities in all areas of nuclear technology.
The Group underscores that the politicization of TC activities and any interference by Member States in the Agency's activities or attempts to micro-manage the work of the Secretariat would have a negative impact on their independence and impartiality.
The Group strongly believes that the present guidelines and criteria as provided for in INFCIRC/267 for the screening of TC project proposals, programme implementation and subsequent evaluation are sufficient and effective, and there is no need to introduce additional mechanisms for fulfilling the above objectives.
With these remarks, the Group recommends that the Committee forwards the proposed programme as contained in document GOV/2009/65 and its Addenda to the Board of Governors for its approval, with the exception of project INT/0/085.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda Item 3: Evaluation of technical cooperation activities
The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank Mr. Tijani Chaouch Bouraoui, Acting Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), for presenting the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2009, as contained in document GOV/2009/72.
The Group continues to attach great importance to the regular evaluation of the implementation of the Agency's TC activities as it constitutes an effective mechanism to achieve the Agency's ultimate goal of transferring nuclear technology for peaceful uses and contributing to Member States' socioeconomic progress.
The Group notes with appreciation that the evaluations were conducted with the participation of external evaluators, staff from the Department of Technical Cooperation, other technical departments and various stakeholders from concerned Member States.
The Group would like to emphasize that an audit or evaluation activity can only be effective if the or evaluated party was provided the opportunity to react and respond to the evaluation findings before the preparation of the final reports. In this regard, the Group would like to call for the evaluation findings and the final report to be shared only with Member State's counterparts who were involved in the evaluation process so that a more comprehensive and balanced report could be issued by the evaluation team and for the evaluated counterparts to be able to consider the lessons learned and recommendations for continuous improvement as appropriate.
The Group takes note that the OIOS conducted evaluations on the following:
- selected projects on food irradiation related to trade;
- Evaluation of the support to countries considering embarking on a nuclear power programme
- projects in areas related to research reactors
- the Agency's assistance to fight cancer in one selected region
- Agency support to the Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project in Ethiopia
Regarding the quantitative estimation of the actual socio-economic impact of TC projects, the Group concurs with the OIOS that it is a difficult thing to do. The Group believes this is not only due to lack of data but also because it is not possible to attribute the actual contribution of the TC project component to Member States' overall national development outcomes. The Group therefore believes OIOS Recommendation 4 in Annex 1 is beyond the capability of the Secretariat and is best addressed by individual Member States.
The Group notes that the OIOS has once again raised the subject of the Country Programme Framework (CPF) in its report on Evaluation of the support to countries considering embarking on a nuclear power programme, as described in Annex 2.
The Group had concurred in the past with the OIOS conclusion that the CPF reflects mutually agreed national development priority areas between States and the Agency that are supported through the technical cooperation activities. The Group reiterates this is a dynamic process and that the CPF document is non-legally binding and is subject to revisions as concerned Member States priorities evolve. Hence, the CPF document should not be used as a basis for restricting Member States' requests for technical support, nor should it be a definitive reference for the approval of Member States TC projects. In this regard the Group reiterates that the application of the CPF, which is essentially a process of dialogue, should be undertaken with enough flexibility so as to allow the Secretariat to take into account specific situations in various Member States and to continue to respond to the needs and priorities defined by recipient Member States. The Group continues to support the OIOS previous recommendation that dialogue and communication on the CPF process could be enhanced between the Secretariat and Member States. The Group believes that the consultation process should involve only the relevant national stakeholders. It is however, the prerogative of the Member State concerned to decide if any other entities could be involved as well.
The Group fully supports OIOS Recommendation 3 as contained in Annex 2, in order to ensure efficient and effective human resource training for countries embarking on their nuclear power programmes.
Conclusion 7 in the Annex 3 touches upon the issue of results-based management (RBM) in TC programming. While the Group acknowledges the possible benefits of developing performance indicators for the implementation of projects, the Group is of the view that such indicators can only be utilized in measuring the performance of some aspects of certain TC projects. Furthermore, the Group is convinced that such indicators cannot be used to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of TC projects.
With regard to the mechanism for monitoring and assessing project progress, the Group believes the PCMF is a detailed and comprehensive platform that functions as a project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation tool. The Group concurs with the OIOS assessment that the PCMF has not been used to its full potential. In this regard, the Group strongly believes there is no necessity to re-engineer it or the CPF process. The Group reiterates its request to the Secretariat to make the PCMF simpler and more user-friendly and in this regard, could also support Recommendation 4 in Annex 4.
Where supply of equipment is part of a particular TC project, the Group concurs with the OIOS recommendation for the Secretariat to coordinate the process to revise Article V of the Revised Supplementary Agreement Concerning the provision of technical Assistance by the IAEA (RSA) to include preventive maintenance contracts. In this regard, the Group also supports recommendations 6 and 7 in Annex 4 pertaining to supplied equipment.
Regarding the Evaluation Work Plan for 2010 the group notes with concern that the OIOS intends to undertake an evaluation which "…will examine the functional and structural setting within which the NLOs assume responsibility in their country, with a view to exploring ways to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of TC management in Member States and to facilitate partnerships with other development partner at the country level."
In this respect, the Group underlines that the functions, responsibilities, profile of the NLO and the structural setting within which the NLOs assume responsibility, fall within the sovereign rights of each Member State; therefore, the Group is of the view that such an evaluation would go beyond the competence of the Agency, as it would interfere with the domestic affairs of Member States.
With these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2009, as contained in document GOV/2009/72, and requests that our views and comments as contained in this statement be duly reflected in the official records of the TACC meeting.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
G77 and China NON PAPER ON THE ISSUE OF THE FIELD PRESENCE
Having listened carefully to the statement of DDG Madam Cetto's regarding an OIOS recommendation for the adoption of a pilot project on field presence at the regional level, the Group would like to recall that there have been instances when it was not in a position to concur with the OIOS recommendations. The Group therefore would like to stress that any action by the Secretariat towards creating field offices for TC activities should only be undertaken in consultation with Member States.
In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate its statement that was presented during the June session of the Board of Governors.
"The Group wishes to highlight that the planning of the TCP, its implementation, monitoring and evaluation involve close cooperation between the Member States and the Secretariat. 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 view of the specialized nature of the work of the Agency, this close interfacing between the PMO, who is the contact point for the overall management of a Member States' TCP, and Member State's counterpart, 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).
The Group continues to stress on the vital role of the National Liaison Officers in TC project implementation, while keeping in mind the responsibilities of respective Member States in the designation of the NLOs. In this context, the strengthening of the NLO's management capabilities and the capacity of the NLO office, together with the strengthening of the role of the PMO would be essential to enhance country programme delivery."