Statement by the Group of 77 and China statement during the IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee delivered by Ms. Maria Elena P. Algabre, Chargée d’Affaires a.i.
Permanent Mission of the Philippines
Vienna, 17 November 2014
Agenda Item 2: Technical Cooperation: The Agency's proposed Programme for 2015
1. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China let me congratulate you on your election as Chairperson of the Board of Governors. The Group wishes to assure you of its support in the task ahead.
2. The Group would also like to thank the Secretariat for the Agency’s Proposed Technical Cooperation Program for 2015, as contained in document GOV/2014/52, as well as Deputy Director General Kwaku Aning and the staff at the Department of Technical Cooperation for the briefing provided to Member States on October 29th. We also thank DDG Aning for his introductory remarks under this agenda item.
3. The Group reiterates the paramount importance of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Program as the main vehicle for the statutory function of promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Technical Cooperation Program plays an important role for the sustainable socioeconomic progress in developing countries and contributes towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.
4. The Group reiterates that the Technical Cooperation Program is a shared responsibility and that, as such, it has to be the result of the combined efforts mainly of the Department of Technical Cooperation, of the Technical Departments and of Member States themselves. These efforts are crucial for the planning and successful implementation of the Technical Cooperation Program, which is based on the needs and evolving priorities of those Member States in which TC projects are implemented.
5. The Group emphasizes that the provision of TC is demand driven and is subject to the eligibility criteria as provided for in the Revised Guiding Principles and General Operating Rules to Govern the Provision of Technical Assistance contained in INFCIRC/267.
6. In this regard, the Group strongly believes that the present guidelines and criteria as provided for in INFCIRC/267 for the screening of TC project proposals, Program implementation and subsequent evaluation are sufficient and effective, and that, therefore, there is no need to introduce additional mechanisms for fulfilling these objectives.
7. 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.
8. The Group encourages the Secretariat to continue to develop the TC Program in a professional, impartial and non-discriminatory manner, following a well-established demand-driven process, based on Member States’ needs and priorities 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 are not subject to any political, economic, military or other conditions incompatible with its provisions.
9. The Group reiterates its view that the resources available for the TC Program should grow in proportion with the increasing membership of the Agency and the demand for technical cooperation. 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 experienced in the Agency’s regular budget, the bulk of which is devoted to non-promotional activities.
10. As stated by the Group at the September Board of Governors, the Group looks forward to full implementation of the Board’s decision as contained in GOV/2009/52/Rev.1, in accordance with the recommendation in paragraph 39 of the WGFAA report. The Group recalls that, pending implementation of the agreement in GOV/2009/52/Rev.1 for the coming biennia, TCF targets should be set based on GOV/2013/30/Rev.1, as recommended by the WGFAA in paragraph 62 of its report.
11. The Group welcomes the recommendation of the Working Group on the Financing of the Agency’s activities (WGFAA), including to examine the ways and means to render resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund sufficient, assured and predictable, for Member States to approve guidelines for supplementary resource mobilization and partnership with all relevant partners, in particular the private sector, for the Technical Cooperation Program, as reflected in paragraph 30 of the WGFAA report contained in document GOV/2014/49, adopted by the Board of Governors at its September meeting. As stated repeatedly by the Group both throughout the WGFAA process as well as during the consideration of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2013 by the Board of Governors in June, the Group deems it important to implement mechanisms allowing the Secretariat to make full use of public-private partnerships for additional resource mobilization, in line with established practice throughout the UN Common System. The Group considers that endeavors aimed at mobilizing extra-budgetary resources for the Technical Cooperation Program by building partnerships should be of a supplementary nature and that, therefore, they should not be seen as an alternative to the Technical Cooperation Fund.
12. The Group encourages the Agency to maintain the in-house expertise and capabilities required to pursue activities related to its unique core competencies in all areas of nuclear science, technology and applications, and thus to implement its statutory functions related to the TC Program and to respond to the requests of Member States in the field of technical cooperation and assistance.
13. 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. In this regard, the Group notes that, as reported by the Secretariat in the briefing provided to Member States on October 29th the current rate of attainment on payments was 83.3% as of the date of the reporting period, and that as reported by DDG Aning in his introductory statement, this rate of attainment has grown slightly. 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 full and in a timely manner.
14. The Group further 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 at its Fifty-Eighth session. The Group looks forward to an assessment by the Secretariat of the application of the Due Account Mechanism since that last evaluation in 2008, in accordance with the recommendation contained in paragraph 54 of the WGFAA report.
15. The Group looks forward to fruitful discussions at the upcoming Working Group dealing with both the level of the Regular Budget and the TCF target for 2016-2017.
16. With these remarks, the Group joins consensus in having the Committee recommend to the Board the actions listed in the Agency’s proposed Technical Cooperation program as contained in document GOV/2014/52, and requests that its views and comments be duly reflected in the official records of the TACC meeting.
Thank you, Madame Chair.
Agenda item 3. Evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2014
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 2014, as contained in GOV/2014/54.
2. The Group continues to attach great importance to the regular evaluation of the implementation of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation activities. To enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Technical Cooperation Program, the Group highlights the importance of the evaluation exercise being carried out in a comprehensive and constructive manner, and its outcomes being accurately and comprehensively reflected in the report. In this regard, the Group notes the efforts made by the Office of Internal Oversight Services during the reporting period.
3. The Group notes that, as in previous years, all evaluations were conducted by OIOS with the participation and assistance of external experts and the support of the Department of Technical Cooperation and the relevant technical Departments; and that the evaluations benefited from assistance provided by various stakeholders from the Member States concerned, including their Permanent Missions, National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and project counterparts.
4. Bearing in mind that the Technical Cooperation Program has produced many positive and tangible results, the Group takes note of the recommendations by the OIOS in its report. In this regard, the Group would like to express its views on some of the evaluations completed by the OIOS in 2014, as summarized in section B of the report and further elaborated upon in the respective annexes:
4.1 The Group notes the new approach taken by the OIOS to assess the Agency’s performance in terms of country-level evaluations and, in this regard, takes note of the evaluation of the Agency’s performance in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
4.2 Regarding the Evaluation of the TC Program Fellowship Project Component, the Group attaches high importance to the contribution of the fellowship project component to Member States’ capacity in the area of nuclear science and technology. More specifically, the Group concurs with the conclusion of OIOS, that the fellowship component of the TC program is relevant to the needs of Member States; that it is achieving its goals and objectives; that fellowships are having a positive impact on the human resource capacities of Member States; and that they are making a substantial contribution to building capacity in the use of nuclear techniques for peaceful purposes. The Group is pleased to note that, in addition, there are some positive unintended impacts of fellowships such as enhancement of regional networks, ongoing professional communications and, in some cases, development of collaborative projects. The Group encourages the Agency to pursue the good practices identified in the evaluation in order to consolidate and build upon the success of the fellowship process component.
4.3 Regarding the evaluation of the TC work on nuclear knowledge management and development, the Group is of the view that the Secretariat should increase the profile and clarity of the knowledge management support available to Member States through TC projects.
4.4 Regarding the evaluation of the external communication and outreach activities of the TC Program, the Group concurs with the importance of having strategic priorities for TC communication defining key messages, target audiences and outcome-based objectives. The Group supports the statement contained in the OIOS report that it can be challenging for the communication team at the TC Department to report stories of the impact achieved by TC projects, given the limited evidence of outcomes and impacts of the project at the time of closure. The Group is of the view that this factual limitation in terms of availability of data on outcomes and impact at the time of communication delivery should not be construed as a shortcoming or a limitation to the effectiveness in TC communication.
5. With these comments, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the evaluation of technical cooperation activities in 2014, as contained in document GOV/2014/54, and requests that its views and comments be duly reflected in the official records of the TACC meeting.