Statement of the G77 and China during the second meeting of the Informal Working Group to discuss the future of the IAEA, "First Pillar: Science and Technology: Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection", 5-6 March 2009, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Eugenio María Curia, PR of Argentina

Madam Chair,

The points raised in the Group's statement in the general discussion during the first session remain relevant. The Group has already expressed that it will focus on the role of the Agency in promoting nuclear technologies for peaceful uses through technical cooperation during the discussions related to the first pillar, and that the financial and administrative requirements of enhancing this role will be a central and integral aspect.

Madam Chair,

The Statute leaves no doubt that the IAEA has a clear mandate in the field of development. In fact, this first pillar, the promotion and expansion of nuclear science and technology for "peace health and prosperity", is the raison d'ętre of the Agency according to the Statute (Articles II and III on Objectives and Functions). All Member States joined the Agency on the understanding that it aims to promote nuclear technology for peaceful uses. The Statute is also based on the concept that the application of safeguards and safety measures comes as an associated function and not an objective in itself.

While the Group is fully aware of the central importance of nuclear safeguards and safety, it strongly rejects the attempts by some Member States to reverse the order of priorities of the Agency by giving primacy to safeguards and safety considerations in a manner that leads to the restriction of the promotional role of the Agency. This is why developing countries look cautiously at the introduction of new concepts such as the so-called "3Ss", which undermine the primary promotional role of the Agency. Following the Three Pillars in a balanced manner, as stipulated in the Statute, would provide a better conceptual framework to proceed.

If the Agency is to enlarge the contribution of nuclear technology to human well-being, TC funding must be sufficient assured and predictable (SAP), and these resources must also increase substantially.

The Group reiterates its discontent towards the continued growing imbalance in relative and absolute terms amongst the resources directed to the three pillars. A comparison between the financial resources directed to Major Programme 2, on nuclear techniques for development and environmental protection, with those directed to Major Programmes 4 on safeguards or to Major Programme 5, on policy and management, would largely explain why the Agency continues to be projected as a "nuclear watchdog".

The Group stresses the need to strengthen TC activities and continuously enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the TCP in accordance with the requests and needs of individual Member States. The Group would like to emphasize that there should be an appropriate balance between national, regional, and interregional TC programmes. The Group equally emphasizes that all measures taken and policies adopted in this regard should preserve and enhance the ownership of TC projects by developing countries.

Perhaps a comparison of the human resources dedicated to each department in the Secretariat could also be helpful in assessing how much attention is actually directed to the activities related to the promotion of nuclear technologies and whether the relevant departments are understaffed or not. The Group therefore requests the Secretariat to provide detailed information on the staffing of all departments.

Technical cooperation, which is the vehicle through which the Agency implements its role in promoting the use of nuclear science and technology, totally rely on un-assured extra-budgetary funding. This considerably limits the capabilities of the Agency in planning and implementing projects and responding to the growing needs of Member States. It is about time to rectify this situation.

Madam Chair,

There is a clear chronic lack of necessary funding for particular activities, especially those with a humanitarian and developmental aspect. The experience of the Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy (PACT) is a clear example of the impact of this chronic lack of resources and the effects of being totally dependant on extra-budgetary funding which is always attached to conditionality and politicized preconditions in a manner that largely runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Statute and the actual objectives of the Agency. This is why the Group is of the view that such a financing mechanism is detrimental to the sustainability of technical cooperation and should not be considered a model for future Agency activities.

In the same context, there are many attempts to minimize and reduce the capabilities and resources available to the Agency for activities related to the first pillar based on arguments pertaining to streamlining, building partnerships, outsourcing, or "delivering as one". There is no doubt that a certain degree of streamlining could be desirable, but the Agency has to maintain and in fact enlarge activities related to its core competences and to be able to implement its statutory functions and respond to the requests of Member States without being dependant on external factors. Therefore, the Group finds it necessary to maintain a sufficient level of in-house expertise and capabilities in all areas of nuclear technology.

The Group would like to stress the uniqueness of the Agency in promoting the peaceful and safe uses of nuclear energy. The Agency is the only autonomous international organization that possesses the necessary experience and capabilities to fulfill this mandate.

On the other hand, there is a growing tendency by some Member States to further restrict the work of the Agency in promoting the use of nuclear technologies by requesting the Secretariat to provide excessive pre-assessments and unjustifiable upfront empirical evidence to prove that activities in areas such as health, agriculture, or water resource management do have a "measurable" developmental impact or that they are directly related to the attainment of the MDGs. Such excessive requests are counterproductive and clearly neglect the qualitative nature of the impacts of the different interrelated development efforts.

It also became obvious during the works of TACC and the BoG that some Member States aim at restricting the activities related to actual capacity building through the provision of material, equipment and facilities. The Group stresses that these are statutory functions of the Agency, and that such restrictions are hampering the Agency's capacity to fulfill its mandate.

It is worth mentioning that there have been many developments and decisions by the Board of Governors indicating the evolving and adapting nature of the manner in which the Agency conducts TC. Some Member States tend to neglect the existence of the 1979 Revised Guiding Principles and General Operating Rules to Govern the Provision of Technical Assistance, as well as the Revised Supplementary Agreement RSA concerning the Provision of Technical Assistance. These instruments were developed and put in place to particularly tackle the concerns of some Member States related to nonproliferation and safety. Further restrictive policies will further diminish the promotional role of the Agency. Therefore, the Group stresses that the Agency must implement technical cooperation activities in accordance with the abovementioned rules without any political interference.

Madam Chair,

The Agency has a key role in tackling obstacles facing international cooperation such as the denial of shipments of nuclear and radioactive material and equipment, as well as other excessive safety and security related restrictive measures that hamper the transfer of technology and supplies.

The Group strongly rejects any attempts aiming at interfering in the order of development priorities set by the recipient Member States. Neither "donors" nor the Secretariat can extract to themselves the right to interfere in the order of these priorities. Nonbinding instruments such as Country Programme Frameworks CPFs mainly aim at helping the recipient State itself in assessing and revising its own priorities.

Finally Madam Chair,

The Group stresses that the role of the Agency under the first pillar has to proceed beyond the black-box model of technology transfer. What is needed is to assist Member States to develop their own peaceful nuclear capabilities through actual capacity building by transferring the know-how and developing the necessary infrastructures and human resources, with a special focus on education and training.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Home Home
First Page
Vienna Chapter
G-77 Homepage