The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Director-General for his introductory statement in which he highlighted the main topics of the agenda, the Group also commends the Secretariat for preparing all relevant documents.
The Group wishes to seize this opportunity to condemn the terrorist attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad and wishes to express its condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, particularly Mr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello. We are confident that this tragic incident will not cause a halt in the UN activities in Iraq.
The Group of 77 and China acknowledges the informative report submitted by the Director General on the measures undertaken by the Agency following the 46th General Conference and commends the Secretariat and all Members States for the efforts deployed to strengthen nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management.
The Group would like to thank the Secretariat for convening the International Conference on Safety Transport of radioactive material which was held in Vienna from 7-11 July 2003.
On the safety of transport of radioactive material, the Group encourages the Agency to continue working closely with other relevant international transport organizations, advancing the review of the Transport Regulations currently underway and compiling information for the database on Events in the Transport of Radioactive Material.
It is a matter of concern for the G-77 and China that although the safety is an important statutory function of the Agency, which should be funded from the Regular Budget, developing Member States are being directed to request TranSAS missions through their national technical co-operation programmes whilst a shortage of financial resources has also prevented the Secretariat from offering any training in transport safety during 2003.
As has been the case concerning other major conferences, the Group would have appreciated more substantial information on the main findings and recommendations of the Conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioctive Material that took place in July 2003, as well as on the specific time frame and procedure that the Secretariat has envisaged to develop the respective Draft Action Plan. The Group expects that the plan will take into account the issues of liability, communications between governments and emergency preparedness and response to accidents during such transport.
The Group of 77 and China commends the role of the Secretariat in the revision of "the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources" contained in document GOV/2003/49-GC(47)/9 and thanks the Deputy Director General for the Department of Nuclear Safety for introducing this item.
The Group welcomes various steps taken by the Agency to improve the Safety of Radioactive Sources, particularly assisting developing Member Sates in implementing appropriate infrastructure for the safe management and secure protection of radioactive sources.
The Group takes note of the changes to some of the definitions in the Code and the modified language concerning the establishment of systems for mitigating or minimizing the radiological consequences of accidents or malicious acts involving radioactive sources. The Group agrees that the Code provides a basis for a significant enhancement of the safety and security of radioactive sources.
The G-77 and China has carefully studied the document GOV/2003/49-GC(47)/9 and would like to reiterate its position on the Safety and Security of Radiation Sources delivered at the Board's meeting in March and September 2001.
The Group also notes that there are several concerns amongst members of this Group, and among experts attending the meeting as mentioned by the Chairman of the open-ended group in its report, regarding the import and export of the radioactive sources, namely, the ways and means by which the exporting States are going to assess the degree to which an importing State has implemented the Code. In this regard, the Group feels that the Agency should play an important role in assisting the Member States in the implementation of the code and establish recommendations, guidance, norms and standards as indicated in the "Draft Action Plan for Safety and Security on Radioactive Sources" in document GOV/2003/47-GC(47)/7 Annex 1.
The Group of 77 and China believes that this matter needs to be further explored in order to develop some kind of guidance dealing with the export and import of the radioactive sources control.
The Group also notes that, the essence of this Code of Conduct is the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and feels that it should not hamper the wide applications of such radioactive sources in medicine, agriculture, industry and education especially in the developing countries. The Code should not be used to deny the promotion of peaceful uses of atomic energy or the export of these sources for use in developing Member States.
Given the important role of the Agency in providing assistance to the developing countries in the implementation of this code, as stated in the Chairman's report of the open-ended group stated in annex 2 of document GOV/2003/49-GC(47)/9, the Group of 77 and China feels that the technical co-operation programme could play an important role in such assistance. The Nuclear Security Fund could also be utilised in this regard.
With these observations the Group takes note of the Revision of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, which is non-legally binding in nature and does not create any specific reporting system.
Thank you Madam Chairman.
The Group recognizes that education and training is an essential pre-requisite to any successful and sustainable radiation protection programme. Of particular significance to the Group of 77 and China are the postgraduate educational courses (PGEC's) in radiation protection and the safety of radioactive sources held in Member states of the Group viz. Argentina (in Spanish), Malaysia (in English), Morocco (in French) and in Syrian Arab Republic (in Arabic). In this regard, the Group requests the Agency to extend longer-term commitments to ensure the running of these courses in the centers identified.
The Group, cognisant of the important role the Agency's promotional activities play in raising the socio-economic development levels in developing countries, commends the Agency for its efforts in implementing nuclear applications in the use of isotope hydrology for water resource management, servicing immediate human needs; the preservation of nuclear knowledge; development of innovative nuclear technologies; the support to the African Union's Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomes Eradication Campaign and the production of potable water economically using small and medium sized nuclear reactors. All these areas are well under the competence of the Agency and have importance for sustainable development.
The Group further notes that these activities are continuing to have a positive impact in meeting immediate human needs and raising the standard of living for developing Member States and encourages the Agency to continue to intensify its efforts in this regard.
The Group of 77 and China feels that there is a need of further strengthening these activities with greater participation of the Member States. The Group attaches much importance to the areas which could produce a direct and stronger impact on human needs in the developing countries such as energy, health, agriculture, nutrition and environment. This would require more efforts and stronger approaches to the projects related to potable water, improvement of nutrition level, threat reduction on food and health using SIT, strengthening International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) and desalination programmes, adoption of environmentally clean industrial practices and sustainability of the human resources in nuclear science and technologies. In order to fulfil such objectives, the Group of 77 and China would recommend the increased participation of the national and regional resource centres of the developing countries and a stronger programme of training and education.
The Group would like to see increased level of transfer of technology form the developed countries to the developing countries and a higher interaction of the scientists among all the Member States. In this regard the Group would recommend strengthening of CRP mechanism and its greater synergy with the technical cooperation programme. The Agency would need to further strengthen its role to promote international cooperation involving both Government and Non Government entities, if the benefits of strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications have to reach the end users in Member States in an effective and timely manner. The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate its full support to the Agency and the Member States in this regard. Finally the Group would suggest that the reports covering updates and progress on promotional issues may not remain entirely descriptive in nature but could also give an assessment of the efforts, value and importance of the results achieved, significance of impact produced by the progress of the programme, setbacks or difficulties faced during the process of implementation and also the recommendations for possible changes, if any, necessary to improve the outputs. It is hoped that such an information will further help the Member States and the Agency to work closely and with a better understanding to strengthen the Agency's activities for its promotional programmes.
With these views, Madam Chairperson, the Group of 77 and China take note of the Director General's report and recommends its submission to the General Conference at its forty-seventh session.
I thank you Madam Chairman.
BR>The Group would like to thank the Secretariat for its continuing efforts to improve the recruitment of women and of staff members from developing countries and from other Member States, which are unrepresented or underrepresented in the Agency's Secretariat. We wish to thank the Director General in particular for his reports on these issues, in GOV/2003/55/GC(47)/13 and GOV/2003/56-GC(47)/14.
Thank you Madam Chairman.