Statement of the G-77 and China during the IAEA TACC Meeting,
29-30 November 2010, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Xolisa Mfundiso MABHONGO,
Permanent Representative of South Africa
Vienna, 29 November 2010
Agenda item 2: Technical Cooperation: The Agency's proposed programme for 2011
1. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China, allow me to thank the Director-General for the Agency's Proposed Programme for 2011 as contained in document GOV/2010/54 and its Addenda.
2. The Group wishes to thank the DDG for Technical Cooperation, Ms. Ana Marķa Cetto, for presenting this agenda item and the TC Department for preparing the relevant documents and for the briefing held on 22 November 2010.
3. The Group wishes to reiterate the paramount importance it attaches to the Agency's technical cooperation activities which constitute the main statutory vehicle for transferring nuclear technology to developing countries. 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. This cannot be achieved if we fail to ensure that the Agency's resources for technical cooperation activities are sufficient, assured and predictable as called for by General Conference resolutions. The Group firmly believes that the Agency's resources for technical assistance shall continue to be devoted primarily to meeting the needs of developing countries.
4. The Group emphasizes that the provision of TC is a request-based process and is subject to the eligibility criteria as provided for in INFCIRC/ 267. The Group, therefore, believes that any attempt to create sub-categories among Member States according to their level of development will unnecessarily cause discrimination in a manner inconsistent with the IAEA Statute. 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, and 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 Statute is not subject to any political, economic, military or other conditions incompatible with its provisions.
5. While noting with appreciation that the annual rates of attainment for the Technical Cooperation Fund since 2007 has been positive at approximately 95 per cent, the Group continues to regret that the resources available for the TC Program have not grown in proportion to the increasing membership of the Agency and the demand for TC. Resources for the TCP remain fully dependent on voluntary assessed contributions and extra-budgetary resources to the TC Fund, and a number of footnote/a projects remain unfunded. Over the years, the TCF target has only grown nominally in an ad hoc manner in comparison to the real growth in the Agency's regular budget--the bulk of which is devoted to non-promotional activities. In this regard, the Group looks forward to the commencement of discussions on the nature of TC funding and its relationship with the regular budget, and expects that this would lead to concrete outcomes on issues related to TC financing.
6. The Group notes with appreciation the improvement in the programme implementation rate as of 31 August 2010 of this year, which is the second year of the current cycle, compared to that of the same date in 2008, the second year of the previous cycle. The Group also wishes to highlight that the assessment of the implementation level should not only be based on financial disbursement but also take into account other factors that are beyond the control of the Agency and Member States implementing TC projects and , such as natural disasters and security situations, as well as obstacles such as delays and denials for procurement and travel and visa restrictions.
7. The Group also notes with appreciation the emphasis in the proposed program on support to human capacity building, with 67.9 per cent of 2011 core resources being planned for delivery under various human resource components. On the equipment component, the Group emphasizes that the supply of equipment is a statutory responsibility of the Agency as stipulated under Article XI.C, and that this is essential for the successful implementation of relevant TC projects.
8. Regarding the Programme Cycle Management Framework, the Group would like to stress that this platform should continue to be utilized exclusively to enhance coordination among national stakeholders and be accessible only to relevant project counterparts. The Group reiterates that all measures taken in this regard should preserve and enhance the ownership of technical cooperation projects by Member States implementing them.
9. The Group maintains that endeavors aimed at building partnerships or outsourcing must not jeopardize or reduce the capabilities and resources available to the Agency for activities related to TC, and should not in any way dilute existing mechanisms to deliver TC to Member States. The Agency must continue to pursue activities related to its unique core competencies in all areas of nuclear science, technology and applications to be able to implement its statutory functions related to the TC Program and to 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 those areas.
10. Finally, 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 that there is no need to introduce additional mechanisms for fulfilling the above objectives.
11. Regarding the four new projects in the Agency's TC program for 2011, the Group notes that the same have been found to be technically feasible and were developed in line with the Agency's guidelines and criteria for TC projects and supports the recommendation for their approval.
12. With these remarks, the Group recommends that the Committee forward the proposed programme as contained in document GOV/2010/54 and its Annexes to the Board of Governors for its approval.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 3. Evaluation of technical cooperation activities
1. The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank Mr. Fritz Eriksen, Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, for presenting the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2010, as contained in GOV/2010/59.
2. 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 statutory objective of transferring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and contributing to Member States' socio-economic progress.
3. The Group notes that the evaluations were conducted with the participation and assistance of external experts and with the support of staff from the Department of Technical Cooperation and the relevant technical departments as well as various stakeholders from concerned Member States.
4. The Group stresses that an audit or evaluation activity can only be effective if the evaluated party is given an opportunity to provide feedback to evaluation findings and that these are properly reflected before the report is officially released. In this regard, the Group reiterates its request for the evaluation findings to be shared first with counterparts from the concerned Member States so that a more comprehensive and balanced report could be issued by the evaluation team. This would provide for the necessary feedback mechanism that should be conducted at the close of every audit session as well as would enable the evaluated party to consider relevant recommendations for continuous improvement or corrective action, if necessary.
5. The Group takes note that the OIOS conducted evaluations on the following:
-Safety of nuclear installations;
-Contribution and role of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory;
-Project planning and achievement of objectives;
-NLO function and structure.
6. Regarding the "Evaluation of Safety of Nuclear Installations", the Group notes with satisfaction the conclusion on the sustainability of the over-all implementation of TC projects in this area, particularly in terms of their utility in the development of safety legislation and enhancing the capabilities of operators and regulators.
7. The Group looks forward to improved coordination between the Program Management Officers and the technical officers of the Secretariat in order to assist Member States in the implementation of TC projects, addressing issues relating to sequencing of equipment delivery, and to improvements in administrative arrangements for training programs, scientific visits and fellowships as they impact on the implementation of TC capacity building activities. The Group takes note of the OIOS recommendation on the dissemination of information on the outcomes of TC projects in Member States, where relevant.
8. On the "Evaluation of the contribution and role of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory (ABL)", the Group wishes to follow up on its request for an information paper from the Secretariat on the protection of intellectual property pertaining to TC project outputs, such as new technologies or research.
9. Regarding the recommendation that the TC Department should focus on results and outcomes in evaluating TC projects, the Group believes that the achievement of results is the key objective of any TC project. However, the Group would like to emphasize that due to limited resources, the Agency can only provide modest allocations to Member States to support projects that serve only as "enablers" and are usually only a small part of larger long-term national undertakings. The beneficial outcomes of most projects usually take a longer time to be realized, and an evaluation on the basis of the TC Department's current two-year project cycle timeframe would not adequately reflect the actual benefits that may be derived from a TC project.
10. On "Evaluation of project planning and achievement of objectives",
the Group welcomes the evaluation finding on the effective utilization by project counterparts of Agency assistance for the transfer of scientific and technical knowledge in Member States and in deriving other sustainable benefits, as well as in the development of key infrastructure, especially through the procurement of specialized equipment, which is essential for the successful implementation of relevant TC projects.
11. The Group concurs with the recommendation that the Secretariat should ensure that the duration of TC projects is well aligned with TC project objectives, rather than a standard duration being uniformly applied for all projects, regardless of their scope and objectives. The Group also believes that improvements should be made in the identification, procurement and maintenance of equipment supplied under TC projects.
12. On the recommendation that the Secretariat fully consider the possible impact of external factors on the achievement of project outcomes, especially those beyond the control of project counterparts, prior to approval of TC projects, the Group wishes to point out that most of these factors may arise during the implementation stage and would not be foreseen at the planning stage. The Group, however, stresses that it supports all measures aimed at ensuring the prudent expenditure of limited TC resources and deriving maximum benefits there from.
13. On the "Evaluation of the NLO function and structure", the Group wishes to stress that the profile of National Liaison Officers, and the structural setting in which they operate, fall within the sovereign prerogative of Member States.
14. The Group concurs with the finding that regular training should be provided to NLOs to enable them to effectively discharge their duties, especially considering the complex and multi-faceted nature of their work. This includes the development of training packages as well as the provision of adequate communication and technology resources that will enable them to maintain close coordination with the Secretariat.
15. With these comments, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2010, as contained in document GOV/2010/59, and requests that its views and comments be duly reflected in the official records of the TACC meeting.