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Topnews, Statements

09. May 2017

STATEMENT BY MRS. MELINDA WILLIAMS-MALUKA, COUNSELLOR, FIRST PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE 2020 REVIEW CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, 09 MAY 2017, VIENNA

CLUSTER III ISSUES

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and would like to share some additional views in my national capacity.

Chairperson,

Nuclear power and the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, if optimized to the fullest, can meaningfully contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology which is at the heart of Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is of particular importance in attaining sustainable and accelerated economic growth in Africa.

Chairperson,

It is our view that nuclear science and technology will continue to contribute significantly to socio-economic development, especially in developing countries. Through the Director General’s emphasis on “Atoms for Peace and Development”, the Agency is now uniquely placed to reinforce the nexus between peace and development.

Along with the legal commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons and measures to prevent proliferation, the NPT reaffirms the inalienable right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy pursuant to Article IV of the Treaty. Peaceful nuclear cooperation and access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, pursuant to Article IV of the NPT, constitute one of the core objectives of the Treaty. In giving effect to Articles IV (1) and IV (2), South Africa therefore cautions against any attempt that seeks to reinterpret, or restrict, this inalienable right.

Chairperson,

The IAEA has a leading role in the development and promotion of nuclear derived technologies that improve food security, human and animal health and environmental management. In this regard, the Agency’s nuclear application Laboratories in Seibersdorf are unique to the UN system and through these laboratories the IAEA is able to develop and transfer much needed and often lifesaving technologies and skills to Member States.

In this regard, South Africa supports the renovation and modernization of these Nuclear Application laboratories. An important milestone was reached in 2016 when the 31 million Euros required to implement the first phase of the ReNuAL project was realized. We are pleased that resource mobilization efforts have now shifted towards the implementation of the second phase of the ReNuAL project. In this regard, we welcome the pledge of 1 million Euros made by the United States last week towards the ReNuAL project. We therefore encourage other Member States to make financial contributions to this project to ensure its timely and successful completion.

Chairperson

South Africa welcomes the Agency’s continued efforts, through the veterinary diagnostic laboratory (VETLAB), to strengthen regional and national veterinary laboratories for the early detection of zoonotic diseases in wildlife and livestock. It will be recalled that in 2012, South Africa allocated 1.5 million Euros as seed capital towards the VETLAB projects with additional funding providing by the United States of America and Japan through the Peaceful Uses Initiative. We are pleased that the VETLAB network now has expanded to 40 countries in Africa and 17 in Asia. States Parties may be aware that funding for this project came to an end in 2016. We therefore encourage States Parties to support this important project.

Chairperson,

South Africa attaches great importance to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme which is the delivery vehicle through which peaceful uses of nuclear technology is made available to countries. In our view, the Agency’s TC projects are more than just political commitments, they constitute important building blocks to assist developing countries in their efforts to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development goals.

South Africa remains concerned about the lack of sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP) funding for the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to fulfil its promotional mandate and to meet the growing demand and increasing number of Member States requesting TC projects. We therefore urge all Member States of the IAEA to pay their assessed contributions to the TC Fund in full and on time. South Africa is also of the opinion that greater efforts should be made to balance the allocation of resources between the Major Programmes of the IAEA to enable the full implementation of Article IV of the NPT.

Chairperson,

South Africa acknowledges the increasing role of the IAEA, in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants and for those embarking on nuclear power programmes. Currently nuclear energy accounts for 5% of South Africa’s total power supply. Our government plans to add 9,600 MW to the national grid by 2030, thus increasing the contribution of nuclear power at 23%.

In conclusion Chairperson,

South Africa believes that the integrity of the NPT rests on the fundamental bargain across the three pillars of the Treaty, each of which must be recognized and upheld. The peaceful use of nuclear energy is an inalienable integral right that should not be compromised. In this regard, the Treaty must be implemented in all its aspects without prejudice and no aspect should be more strictly enforced or require stricter implementation than any other.

Thank you.

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