Statement of the Group of 77 and China during the IAEA Board
of Governors of 22 September 2008, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Shahbaz Permanent
Representative of Pakistan
Agenda Item 3: Programme Performance Report
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Director General for issuing the Programme Performance Report contained in document GOV/2008/31. The Group notes with appreciation the Secretariat's results based approach to programme development, the measurement of achievements based on performance indicators and the reporting of lessons learned thereof.
The Group commends the Secretariat for the various achievements and encouraging outcomes in all the Major Programmes as called for in the General Conference Resolutions and in accordance with Member States' needs, and looks forward to being informed on how areas for further improvement are being addressed.
As regards Major Programme 1, Programme B: Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Material Technologies, the Group notes with concern the recommendation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for the Agency to collaborate with international initiatives, in order to increase the coverage of sub-programme B.4. These initiatives have not been endorsed by a large number of Member States of the Agency, in particular the Group of 77 and China. In this connection, the Group reiterates its long-standing position towards such multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, which the Group considers as complex and requiring in depth analysis and discussions on their technical, legal, financial, economic and political aspects, by all states.
As regards Major Programme 2, Programme E: Food and Agriculture, the Group notes with appreciation the positive outcomes of the joint work between the Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Group would like to reiterate its view that the Joint FAO/IAEA Division has been providing Member States, in particular the least developed countries, with concrete benefits in the fields of crop enhancement, pest control and food and environmental protection, which have a clear and tangible impact in the welfare and economic development of Member States. The Group therefore concurs with the Agency that communication with stakeholders should be improved to raise awareness of the programme's activities and their achievements and their potential value and impact. The Group of 77 and China would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate its firm position in calling for the retention and strengthening of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division in order to enhance its continuing efforts in supporting Member States.
While welcoming the cooperation of the Agency in helping Member States to respond to food security crises, the Group is of the view that the assumptions about many Member States' preparedness to deal with such crises are not necessarily valid. The Group further believes that these kinds of assumptions do not belong in this report.
The Group believes that a "one UN" approach for development, financing and delivery of country programmes by all UN system organizations could have a negative impact on the TC programme in many areas, including resource mobilization. Bearing in mind that the Agency is an autonomous international organization related to the United Nations system, the Group stresses that such a system should not impinge upon the unique nature of the Agency's mandate and structure, nor diminish in any way the volume, character and specificity of the TC Programme. Therefore such approach should not be applied to the implementation of the TC Programme in developing countries.
As regards programme F: Human Health, the Group notes with concern the conclusion that "high costs related to nuclear medicine procedures hampered their implementation in low-income countries". The Group believes that the Technical Cooperation Programme can contribute to bridge gaps in the field of nuclear medicine, through training and capacity building activities, as well as the provision of equipment.
While supporting any efforts to encourage Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, including the placement of fellows within them, the Group believes that the assumption, that it is increasingly difficult to place fellows for short-term training, needs further clarification about the reasons for such difficulties.
The Group notes that under Major Programme 6: Management of Technical Cooperation for Development, several tools have been developed to assess how TC projects link to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to assess the environmental impact of TC projects in the formulation of the 2009-2011 TC Programme. In this regard, the Group looks forward to receiving further information on these developments.
Regarding the PCMF, the Group concurs that further training on the Logical Framework Approach and PCMF system, as well as simplification of the PCMF system are essential to assist Member States in TC programming.
The Group concurs with the OIOS regarding the steady decline of the US dollar, which has resulted in the reduction of the purchasing power of the TCF and supports its call for a mechanism to be developed to mitigate the effect of currency fluctuations. These findings are corroborated by the External Auditor, and further supported by the Director General.
In view of the increasing use of radiation processing technologies in health care, agriculture and the environment, the Group is highly concerned that the delivery of Cobalt 60 sources and radioactive materials continues to face shipping restrictions, which adversely affect the relevant project implementation. The Group looks forward to the outcome of the action plan developed by the International Steering Committee on Denials of Shipment of Radioactive Material of the Agency to address those problems.
With these remarks, Mr. Chairman, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Programme Performance Report, as contained in document GOV/2008/31.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Item 6: Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation and Transport Safety and Waste Management
The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank DDG Tomihiro Taniguchi for his introductory remarks on this Agenda item. The Group commends the Secretariat for preparing document GOV/2008/34 and its associated note, as well as document GOV/2008/26, with the revisions to the 2005 Edition of the Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, and document GOV//2008/27, with the Draft Safety Requirements for Predisposal Management of Radioactive Waste.
The Group also commends the work carried out by the Secretariat during 2007 in order to strengthen nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management pursuant to the pertinent General Conference resolutions.
As regards safety conventions and voluntary codes of conduct, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the outcome of the 4th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. The Group notes that efforts are made to increase the number of Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The Group further notes that the Agency continues to promote the application of the Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors. The Group would like to reiterate its position that the provisions of the Code of Conduct are non-legally binding.
The Group commends the Agency for continuing, in collaboration with co-sponsors and potential co-sponsors, its work on the revision of the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources (BSS). The Group of 77 and China reiterates the importance of the Agency's efforts in promoting education and training in nuclear safety. The Group encourages the Agency to continue doing so in order to ensure the safe use of nuclear energy.
The Group takes note of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS), the Agency's legal and governmental infrastructure related peer review service, which continues to provide Member States with advice and assistance in strengthening the effectiveness of their regulatory infrastructures.
The Group is of the view that safety is an integral part of the use of nuclear energy. The G77 and China reiterates its views that establishing, maintaining and improving technical competence in the regulatory bodies and technical support organizations is a major challenge facing Member States in the upcoming years. The Group looks forward to cooperating with the Agency in establishing comprehensive and multi-faceted approaches in developing succession planning, educational and training programmes and quality management programmes, and maintaining a continuous process providing appropriate response to the needs of developing Member States.
The Group welcomes the Agency's steering committee that oversees the implementation of the Agency's education and training activities in the area of radiation, transport and waste safety. The Group also welcomes the Agency's Education and Training Appraisal (EduTA) mission.
The Group notes the holding of the 8th meeting of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX), and would like to express its support for their work. The Group looks forward to discussing the lessons learned from the outreach activities regarding fostering of and adherence to the international nuclear liability regime.
The Group welcomes the Agency's continuing outreach activities in promoting nuclear safety. The Group also welcomes the results of the third Regional Workshop on Liability for Nuclear Damage held in South Africa.
The Group welcomes the fact that the Agency continues to provide advice and support for Member States considering embarking on a nuclear power programme. The Group notes that the Agency conducted a mission to the Philippines to assist in developing an understanding for infrastructure requirements to support a nuclear power programme and a preliminary assessment of the feasibility of rehabilitating the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
As stated earlier in this meeting, the Group is highly concerned that the delivery of radioactive sources continues to face shipping restrictions, which adversely affect the relevant project implementation. The Group looks forward to the outcome of the implementation of the action plan developed by the International Steering Committee on Denials of Shipment of Radioactive Material to address those problems.
In this connection the Group notes that the Agency had organized several workshops in cooperation with concerned Member States and Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, which resulted in the creation of regional action plans and networks to address key issues.
With these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group agrees to the recommended action as contained in document GOV/2008/34.
As regards document GOV/2008/26, the Group supports the Agency's efforts to promulgate transport regulations for nuclear safety. The Group therefore agrees with the Secretariat's proposed revisions to the 2005 Edition of the Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, that were endorsed by the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS).
Turning now to document GOV/2008/27, the Group endorses the Agency's efforts to promote the application of the principles of managing radioactive waste in a safe manner prior to disposal. The Group therefore agrees to establish as an Agency safety standard the Safety Requirements contained in the document and authorizes the Director General to promulgate and to issue them as a Safety Requirements publication in the IAEA Safety Standards Series.
The Group stresses that safety and security standards are recommendations and guidelines and should not be binding on Member States.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 7: Nuclear Security Report 2008 - Measures to Protect Against Nuclear Terrorism
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Security Report 2008 on measures to protect against nuclear terrorism, as contained in document GOV/2008/35.
The Group of 77 and China has always supported the Agency's nuclear security activities, the overall goal of which is to assist Member States in improving their nuclear security. The Group notes with satisfaction that the document makes it clear that this assistance shall be provided upon request and that responsibility for the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials rests entirely with the individual State. The Group further notes that the recommendations related to enhancing security are non-binding and shall respect the primacy of the State in security issues. The Group thus strongly suggests that the Agency implements the additional approved activities taking into consideration the confidentiality of the information relevant for security purposes.
The Group stresses that the role of the Agency in enhancing the capabilities of Member States in the field of nuclear security and the scope of its activities must be determined by Member States as reflected in resolutions of the General Conference.
The G77 and China also considers essential the understanding that the implementation of the proposed activities for protection against nuclear terrorism should not interfere with the established priorities of the Technical Cooperation Programme, in line with the principles established in INFCIRC/267 that such priorities are to be defined by recipient Member States according to their national interests and socio-economic development plans.
The Group of 77 and China notes that the implementation of the activities included in the Nuclear Security Plan will continue to be funded from extrabudgetary contributions made, on a voluntary basis, to the Nuclear Security Fund.
As reflected in the Report, 90% of the contributions for the Nuclear Security Fund (NSF) were donated with conditionalities. Such restrictions limiting the flexibility in the use of extrabudgetary funds are cause for concern, which was also pointed out by the External Auditor in his Reports on The Agency's Accounts.
The Group of 77 and China reiterates the importance of having a balance among the activities of the Agency. In this context, the Group would like to recall that in line with our long standing position on the issue, the resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) must be sufficient, assured and predictable, and encourages Member States to contribute in full to the TCF.
The Group of 77 and China notes the references to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its Supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources contained in the Report. The Group reiterates its opinion, expressed in previous Board sessions, that such voluntary Codes of Conduct should not hamper the wide use of radioactive sources in medicine, agriculture, industry and education, especially in developing countries, and should not be used to deny the peaceful uses of atomic energy or the export of these sources for use in developing Member States. Furthermore, the Group reiterates the fact that the Code and the Guidance are not legally binding, which should be reflected in paragraph 15 of the report.
With these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Nuclear Security Report 2008, as contained in document GOV/2008/35.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 8: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications
The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Director General for his reports GOV/2008/36-GC (52)/3 on Strengthening the Agency's Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications and GOV/INF/2008/10-GC(52)/INF/6 on the international status and prospects of nuclear power. The Group further thanks DDGs Burkart and Sokolov for presenting this agenda item.
The Group appreciates the Agency's continuing partnership with AU-PATTEC and its contributions to the implementation of the Plan of Action through one regional and ten national technical cooperation projects in Member States in Africa. In this regard, the Group thanks the Agency for developing several manuals and guidelines which have been particularly useful to the List-1 countries and for the technical support that has been rendered, as needed, to ongoing tsetse projects in a number of Member States, including its support in integrating the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in the Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP).
The Group welcomes the Agency's support in building Member States' capacity to establish entomological baseline data, tsetse ecology and biology and the relevant laboratory techniques, and appreciates the CRPs carried out under the aegis of the Agency, with the collaboration of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory and international counterparts such as WHO and FAO, and through several Member States' contributions. The Group further welcomes the various training courses held in Member States in 2007 and 2008.
The Group would like to express its appreciation to the Agency and the Member States who provided extrabudgetary contributions that enabled the preparatory activities for SIT for the control of disease-bearing mosquitoes field pilots to be initiated in several Member States, and the corresponding CRPs to be conducted.
With regard to Nuclear Power Applications, the Group notes the continued interest of Member States in considering the introduction of nuclear power in their energy mix. The Group welcomes the integrated missions undertaken by the Agency in several developing countries to explain the Agency's guidance publications and available services. The Group also notes that the number of national and regional TC projects related to infrastructure development is expected to be more than double in the 2009 -2011 Technical Cooperation cycle. The Group welcomes the Agency's plan for the preparation of new documents for providing additional assistance on how to implement the guidance contained in "Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power". The Group encourages the Agency to enhance its support to the developing countries interested in nuclear power in building the necessary nuclear infrastructure through increased technical assistance, expert missions and workshops and with new and updated documents.
The Group supports collaborative efforts with other international organizations on plant life management (PLiM) for long-term operation and in this regard appreciates the conduct of the Second International Symposium on Nuclear Plant Life Management in Shanghai, China in October 2007.
The Group notes that the increasing interest in uranium exploration, mining and production is also involving new countries and welcomes the Agency's efforts in the manpower training activities in this field.
On the issue of spent fuel storage and its long-term behavior, the Group notes the publication of related TECDOCS and encourages education and training activities envisaged in this area.
With regard to the development of innovative nuclear technology, the Group encourages the Agency's activities envisaged under its INPRO programme. The Group notes that Stage 1 of the activity on common user considerations (CUC) was completed in early 2008 and looks forward to the report that would summarize considerations regarding future nuclear energy systems that developing countries might deploy. The Group awaits the results of the assessments of the INPRO methodology applied in various Member States.
The Group notes that out of twelve collaborative projects for advanced energy systems endorsed by the Steering Committee, four are operational with committed contributions from Members States and other eight projects are finalized and open for Member States to join.
The Group notes and supports the Agency's activities related to the development of advanced nuclear reactor designs which are evolutionary and feature passive safety systems, improved economics and a very high level of safety through reduced design complexity and requests the Agency to keep Member States informed on the progress. The Group endorses the Agency's efforts in supporting education and training in the area of advanced and innovative fuel technology development and looks forward to the publication of a fact book on the topic aimed primarily for the new generation of scientists and engineers.
Referring to the international status and prospects of nuclear power, the Group notes with concern the perception that the dissemination of nuclear technologies poses proliferation and security risks. The rise in such negative perceptions have led to various restrictions being imposed upon developing countries that most need nuclear technology for the production of energy for their socioeconomic development.
In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate its position regarding the various multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle purporting to address non-proliferation and security concerns that impinge upon the inalienable right of states to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses. The Group requests the Secretariat to avoid including references to these initiatives in the Agency's reports and documents until their legal, technical, financial, economic and political aspects have been thoroughly discussed and agreed upon by all States.
The Group supports the Agency's activities in the area of non-electric applications of nuclear energy viz nuclear desalination and nuclear hydrogen production. The Group supports the Agency's activities related to Small and Medium Sized Reactors. In this context the Group reiterates that the Agency should facilitate technical, legal, regulatory and financial assistance to interested developing countries in particular, with small electrical grid-sizes, planning to introduce nuclear power as part of their energy mix. The Group looks forward to a detailed report on the SMR to be provided to the 53rd session of the General Conference.
On Nuclear Knowledge Management (NKM), the Group welcomes the adoption of an Agency-wide approach and strategy for such activities. In this regard, the Agency held two international meetings that considered trends and experiences in NKM worldwide and made recommendations on the tailoring of Agency's programme to these developments.
The Group appreciates the Agency's support through its technical cooperation programme for the establishment or reactivation of INIS centres in Member States, and through TC Projects for the establishment of policies and strategies to preserve and enhance knowledge and expertise and practical guidance for NKM.
The Agency's support for various Safety Networks, including a number of networks for education and training and for the WNU Summer Institute is commendable. The Group looks forward to the outcome of a broad review to identify possible synergies among nuclear safety networks and information resources.
In the context of the production of Potable Water using Nuclear Reactors, the Group appreciates the efforts of the International Nuclear Desalination Advisory Group (INDAG) in reviewing the activities and progress made at the national, international and regional levels.
The Group encourages the work of the Agency in developing the "Roadmap on nuclear desalination" and "the Nuclear Desalination toolkit" as recommended by INDAG. The Group believes that such a work would provide Members States interested in nuclear desalination with valuable information and guidance.
The Group notes the implementation of the activities and recommendations relating to nuclear desalination through ongoing national and bilateral projects worldwide and requests the Agency to continue informing Members States on the progress achieved in finding out potentially viable techniques.
Noting the interest expressed by several Members States in launching desalination plants, the Group also encourages the Agency in the launching of an evaluation of major environmental impacts of nuclear desalination and looks forward to the results of this evaluation.
With these remarks, the Group takes note of documents GOV/2008/36-GC (52)/3 and GOV/INF/2008/10-GC(52)/INF/6.
Thank you Mr Chairman.
Agenda item 10: Report of the Commission of Eminent Persons on the Future of the Agency
The Group of 77 and China has reviewed the Report of the Commission of Eminent Persons on the Future of the Agency. As a matter of principle, the Group supports every action aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Agency to fulfill its statutory functions. The Group would therefore like to express its appreciation to the Director General for his initiative in establishing the Commission and in preparing the "20/20 Vision for the Future" report as a background thereto. The Group also appreciates the efforts of the members of the Commission in preparing the report reflecting their personal views.
The Group would like to emphasize that the report and the recommendations thereof
do not constitute a document that emanated through consultations with Member States
and is not a binding document. The Group believes that any decision inspired by
the report should require the involvement and participation of all Member States
and be made by consensus.
It is against this background that the Group of 77 and China would like to make some preliminary comments on the report, without prejudice to any other further comments the Group may present at a later stage.
The Group notes that the Commission has endeavored to provide an overview of the opportunities presented to, as well as the challenges faced by the international community in the future, and in this regard has made certain recommendations.
After reviewing the recommendations in detail, the Group of 77 and China noted that they are very distinct in nature. In this context, the Group recalls the statement by the members of the Commission themselves, who "endorse the report as a whole but do not each subscribe to every statement and recommendation in the text". The Commission has further acknowledged that "additional significant steps will need to be taken by other multilateral institutions, national governments, industry, and other key stakeholders in the global nuclear system".
The Group also noted that the Commission has placed great emphasis on some aspects in the report, while others like the Technical Cooperation Programme have received less attention. In this connection, the Group would like to reiterate its view that there is an urgent need to ensure the necessary balance between promotional and other statutory activities of the Agency, as the Statute makes no distinction between them.
The report refers to the expansion of nuclear energy and to the implementation of nuclear power projects in many countries. There are, however, few specific suggestions as to how the benefits of nuclear energy could be made accessible to much of the world, so as to enhance the share of nuclear energy worldwide. Bearing in mind that global capacity to construct nuclear plants is limited to a few countries, the Group believes that there should be greater international efforts towards facilitating developing countries to access nuclear technology and to develop their own capacities.
The Group extends its support to all efforts related to assisting developing Member States to launch their nuclear energy programme; coordinating research and development on nuclear energy; preparing better estimates of the global resources of uranium and thorium and coordinating research and development in their fuel cycles.
With regard to multilateral assurances of fuel supply, the G77 position has been consistent that any proposal to establish a framework for multilateral nuclear fuel assurances under the aegis of the IAEA must be preceded by a thorough analysis of all the technical, legal, political and economic issues involved in consultation with Member States. Furthermore the Group believes that any decision in this regard, if needed, must be taken on a consensus basis. The Group reiterates that any such proposals should not be contradictory to the inalienable right of States to develop nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes as stipulated in the Statute.
In this regard, the Group is of the view that the proposal of international partnerships as envisaged by the Commission could be interpreted as the continuation of monopolies and cartels that negatively affect the economic growth of developing countries.
The Group of 77 and China notes that the Commission of Eminent Persons has identified the need to enlarge the contribution of nuclear applications to human well-being, and in this context, the necessity of a substantial increase in the technical cooperation budget of the Agency, which corresponds to a similar position of the Group and is in accordance with the Statute of the Agency.
However, the Group is of the view that as the contribution of nuclear applications to human wellbeing is considered important in helping developing countries, a more in-depth analysis and equal emphasis by the Commission on this important issue would have been preferred, similar to other parts of the report. Furthermore, the Group is of the view that one of the main objectives of technical cooperation is the transfer of technologies and therefore the scope of the TC Programme of the Agency goes beyond establishing frameworks for efficient, safe and secure use of nuclear technologies.
With reference to the need to increase technical cooperation funding, the Group again wishes to underscore the urgent need to establish a credible mechanism that would ensure that resources for the technical cooperation fund are sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP) to meet the objective mandated in Article II of the Statute. The Group is also of the view that the issue of payment by recipients of a portion of the costs of technical cooperation is not regarded as a key issue that would affect technical cooperation, and which is addressed in terms of the payment of national participation costs (NPCs) and government costs sharing.
The Group stresses that all Member States of the Agency in the context of their respective legal obligations conclude safeguards agreements with the Agency to ensure that assistance is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose. Therefore, the Group cannot support any proposals that would grant the Secretariat the right to exclude certain technologies from the Technical Cooperation Programme based on the assumption that these technologies are regarded as having proliferation risks.
The Group notes with concern that the report, based on certain allegations, assumes that access to certain peaceful nuclear technologies represents a threat to international peace and security.
The Group also notes that the Agency facilitates and enhances the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how for peaceful uses among Member States, including the provision of equipment, through its TC Programme. The Group believes that the provision of equipment is an essential aspect of the TC Programme and should therefore be continued.
The Group is also of the view that with reference to the need to develop the capability and infrastructure to manage nuclear and radiological applications, there is a particular need for inter-regional cooperation and national capacity building, policy advice, establishment of standards and guidelines, and needs-driven research and methods development. In this regard, consideration should be given to establish regional IAEA training centres to enhance the manpower development, as well as the participation of members of the region in such training programmes.
As regards nuclear safety, the Group of 77 and China reiterates the great importance it attaches to this issue. The Group therefore notes with satisfaction that nuclear safety has improved in recent decades, as shown by a wide range of national and international safety indicators. The Group however believes that nuclear safety and security considerations should not be used to hamper the utilization of nuclear technology, especially in developing countries.
The Group believes the Agency plays a key role in this field, establishing safety standards and providing for the application of these standards to its own operations and, at the request of Member States, to any activities in the field of atomic energy, as provided for in Article III of the Statute. In this connection, the Group supports the Agency's measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear safety, among which the Group highlights those activities related to the promotion of education and training and to assisting Member States in establishing and strengthening their nuclear safety infrastructures.
Furthermore, the Group encourages various existing conventions and agreements, which could contribute to the development of a safety culture in Member States. The Group however would like to recall that the primary responsibility for the safety and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials rests entirely with the State. In this context, the Group stresses that safety and security standards are recommendations and guidelines and should not be binding on Member States.
As regards increases in the budget called for by the report on account of additional tasks it envisaged for the Agency by 2020 and beyond, the Group is concerned over the emphasis placed on safeguards costs. Once again the Group would like to recall the need to ensure the necessary balance in the allocation of resources for promotional activities including the TC Programme and other activities of the Agency, in order to enable it to fulfill all statutory objectives.