1. At the outset, I would like to convey on behalf of the Group of 77 and China sincere condolences to the people and Government of the Philippines on the tragic loss of life and property caused by Typhoon Haiyan. In this hour of grief, the Group would like to express its solidarity with the families and friends of all those affected by this devastating tragedy.
2. 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.
3. On behalf of the Group allow me also to thank the Director-General for the Agency's Proposed Technical Cooperation Programme for 2014-15, as contained in document GOV/2013/49 and its addenda.
4. 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 30th October 2013.
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.
6. The Group reiterates that the Technical Cooperation Programme is a shared responsibility and it has to be the result of the combined efforts mainly of the Department of Technical Cooperation, of the technical Departments 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. The Group notes with concern that the Rate of Attainment continues to fall short of the value set by the Board of Governors in 2004. 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 2013.
14. The Group notes with concern 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.
15. The Group appreciates the establishment of one Working Group dealing with both the level of the Regular Budget and the TCF target earlier this year. The Working Group provided an opportunity to discuss budgetary matters and issues related to TC financing in one forum. The Group also welcomes the Board's decision for the establishment of a Working Group aimed at, inter alia, examining ways and means of rendering the resources for TCF sufficient, assured and predictable and looks forward to its deliberations.
16. The Group notes the decrease in resources for projects planned for capacity building in 2014. 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.
17. 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.
18. With these remarks, the Group recommends that the Committee forward the proposed programme as contained in document GOV/2013/49 and its addenda to the Board of Governors for its approval. Thank you Mr. Chairman.