G-77 and China Statement during the Technical Assistance and
Cooperation Committee, 14-16 November 2011 delivered by H.E. Ali Asghar Soltanieh,
Permanent Representative of the IR of Iran
Agenda item 2: Technical Cooperation: The Agency's proposed programme for 2012 - 2013 (rev. 1)
1. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China let me congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Board of Governors. The Group is confident of your ability to successfully conduct the activities of this Board and I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead.
2. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China allow me also to thank the Director-General for the Agency's Proposed Technical Cooperation Programme for 2012 -2013, as contained in document GOV/2011/58 and its Addenda.
3. The Group wishes to thank the DDG for Technical Cooperation, Mr. Kwaku Aning, for introducing this agenda item and the TC Department for preparing the relevant documents and for the briefing held on 24th October 2011.
4. The Group takes note with appreciation that on 10th October 2011, the Secretariat organized the second seminar on Technical Cooperation for Permanent Missions in Vienna which allowed Vienna based staff to have an overview of the TC programme, its policy basis, programming mechanisms and management systems. The Group notes its usefulness and wishes to support the organization of this kind of activities and recommends its continuation in the future.
5. The Group wishes to reemphasize the paramount importance of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) of the Agency, as the main statutory vehicle for the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this regard, the Technical Cooperation Programme plays an important role for the sustainable socioeconomic progress in developing countries and contributes towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, to which the Group is fully committed.
6. The Group reiterates that the Technical Cooperation Programme is a shared responsibility and it has to be the result of the combined efforts of the technical Departments, the Department of Technical Cooperation and the Member States themselves. These efforts are crucial for the planning and successful implementation of the Technical Cooperation Programme, which should be based on the needs and evolving priorities of Member States in which TC projects are being implemented.
7. The Group emphasizes that the provision of TC is a request-based process and is subject to the eligibility criteria as provided for in the policy document INFCIRC/ 267.
8. Furthermore, 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.
9. While recognizing the specific needs and different requirements of Member States in implementing technical cooperation projects in a sustainable manner, the Group 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.
10. The Group encourages the Secretariat to continue to develop the TC programme in a professional, impartial and non-discriminatory manner, following a well-established process, based on Member States' needs and requests, 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.
11. The Group maintains that endeavours 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.
12. While noting with appreciation that Member States continue to exceed the minimum Rate of Attainment of 90% set by the Board of Governors in 2004, the Group notes that the Rate of Attainment at the end of 2010, as compare to 2009, had decreased from 94% to 92.3%. The Group calls upon all Members States to do their utmost to pay their full share in accordance with the indicative scale of assessment in a timely manner.
13. In addition to that, the Group requests the Secretariat to make every effort to apply the due account mechanism to all Member States equally and efficiently, and to devise specific guidelines for its application, in consultation with Member States, for further approval by the policy-making organs of the IAEA, as provided in the Technical Cooperation resolution approved by the General Conference in 2011.
14. Regarding the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) target for 2012-2013, the Group wishes to reiterate that its expectation, which was based upon the past decisions of the Board of Governors, was not fulfilled. Nevertheless, in the spirit of compromise, the Group went along with the consensus around the target for voluntary contributions to the TCF, as well as the Indicative Planning Figures for the biennium 2014-2015, as contained in document GOV/2011/37. The Group expects that the future TCF target negotiations would be based on the parameters established in the past Board decisions.
15. 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 to the TCF and extra-budgetary resources. 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.
16. In this regard, in accordance with the resolution GC(55)/RES/11, as approved by the last General Conference, the Group looks forward to the implementation of the decision of the Board of Governors, as contained in document GOV/2011/37, that one working group should deal with both the level of the Regular Budget and the TCF target in 2013. The Group expects that this Working Group will lead to positive outcomes on issues related to TC financing.
17. The Group also notes with appreciation the emphasis in the proposed program on support to human capacity building, with 69.6 % of 2012 core resources being planned for delivery under various human resource components. At the same time, the Group would like to emphasize that the timely supply of equipment is a statutory responsibility of the Agency as stipulated under Article XI.C, and that this is also essential for the successful implementation of relevant TC projects.
18. The Group takes note that currently 64 countries have a valid Country Programme Framework (CPF), 23 of which were signed in 2010, and that 14 Member States are in the process of developing their first CPF. While CPFs provide guidance in planning and prioritization over a five years period, the Group believes that CPFs cannot fully express the dynamic needs and priorities of Member States participating in TC programs.
19. Regarding the Programme Cycle Management Framework (PCMF), the Group would like to stress that the PCMF platform should continue to be utilized exclusively to enhance coordination among national stakeholders and be accessible only to relevant project counterparts.
20. With regard to the Revised Supplementary Agreements (RSA), the Group takes note that by the end of August 2011, 116 Member States had signed an RSA. The Group encourages all Member States receiving technical cooperation to sign an RSA concerning the provision of such cooperation by the IAEA.
21. With these remarks, the Group recommends that the Committee forward the proposed programme as contained in document GOV/2011/58 and its Addenda 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. Carsten Meyer, Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, for presenting the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2011, as contained in GOV/2011/62.
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, as in previous years, 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 the 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 could be done by introducing a necessary feedback mechanism that should be conducted at the close of every audit session. Such mechanism 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:
" IAEA's support to uranium exploration and production activities;
" Equipment component of the TC programme;
" Sustainable control of major insects pests
6. In addition to that, the Group would have preferred the evaluation on PACT and its related activities be presented in the framework of the meetings of the TACC, as is the established practice. In any case, the Group looks forward to the adoption of its recommendations, as just mentioned before, for the ongoing PACT evaluation, as well as for the future evaluations.
7. In general, the Group concurs with the recommendations of the OIOS. Nevertheless, the Group would like to point out a few elements to take into account in the different areas evaluated.
8. Regarding the "Evaluation of the IAEA's support to uranium exploration and production activities", the Group concurs with the recommendation 1 on annex 1 that the TC projects related to uranium exploration and production should include all areas of the uranium production cycle, from exploration to remediation, and that those projects should be responsive to the recipients country's needs, in particular supporting the development of adequate infrastructure for both regulators and operators.
9. At the same time, the Group supports recommendation 3 of annex 1 that the Secretariat should focus the project objectives on enhancing self-sufficiency and sustainability at the national level by providing the necessary support to develop national technical expertise so that the selection of exploration/production agencies and their work can be effectively monitored and evaluated by national authorities.
10. Finally, the Group agrees with the view that in order to overcome the scarcity of international experts in the field of uranium mining, the Secretariat should ensure that contributions of experts, with knowledge in well established practices in the general mining industry, be considered for training activities.
11. Regarding the "Evaluation of the Equipment Component of the TC Programme", the Group would like to reiterate its view that the timely 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.
12. The Group believes that both capacity building and provision of equipment are important elements of the TC projects. In that sense, the Group considers that training activities should not be limited to transfer of knowledge on the use of the equipment provided, but also should be inclusive to its maintenance and, if required, its repair.
13. The Group concurs with recommendation 5 on Annex 2 that the Secretariat should provide a mechanism for the TC regional cooperation network to discuss issues related to equipment and to support the exchange of expertise for resolving issues related to installation, repair and maintenance. The Group also supports recommendation 6 that the Secretariat should ensure that all equipment components provided are compatible and functional.
14. The Group looks forward to improved coordination between all stakeholders, including manufacturers/suppliers, carriers, clearing agents, National Liaison Officers (NLOs), Agency staff and, most importantly, the TC project counterparts, to track the different stages of equipment provision.
15. Regarding the "Evaluation of the Sustainable Control of Major Insect Pests", the Group appreciates the Agency's continuous efforts to support TC projects providing training, expert services and equipment to combat insect pests.
16. The Group concurs with recommendations contained in Annex 3, aimed at, inter alia: assure that farmers adopt nuclear pest management techniques, overcome language-related difficulties in project design, increase the provision of training on data and statistic analysis and improve the share of information on sterile insect technique projects to identify best practices to be replicated.
17. Finally, regarding Annex 4, the Group takes note of the responses of the clients to the recommendations of the OIOS. The Group believes that responses and feedback of the party being evaluated should not be ignored and should be considered by the OIOS for the purpose of reassessing its recommendations. This is particularly important, specially considering that, as stated already by the Group, the evaluated party is not given the opportunity to provide feedback on the findings prior to the release of the report.
18. At the same time, while taking note that this year the implementation rate of the recommendations of the OIOS is significantly higher than the previous year's figures, the Group would like to reiterate its principle position that recommendations should not be implemented without consultation with Member States.
19. With these comments, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2011, as contained in document GOV/2011/62, and requests that its views and comments be duly reflected in the official records of the TACC meeting.