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Topnews, Statements

30. May 2017

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS AT THE OPENING OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IAEA TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAMME: SIXTY YEARS AND BEYOND - CONTRIBUTING TO DEVELOPMENT, 30 MAY 2017, VIENNA

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government

Director General Yukiya Amano

Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegations

Distinguished Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen

Programme Director

Allow me to express, on behalf of all Member States, my sincere appreciation to Director General Amano and the Secretariat for overseeing preparations for the IAEA International Conference on Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme. The Agency continues to play a pivotal role in contributing to peace, security and development. This first International Technical Conference is both historic and timely, especially as we mark an important milestone in the history of the IAEA: the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Agency.

The evolution of the Agency’s work over the decades, covering different areas and facing multiple global challenges, has re-emphasized its role as one of the organizations at our disposal to advance the cause of humanity in general. By progressing from the motto of “Atoms for Peace” to embrace “Atoms for Peace and Development”, the IAEA has reaffirmed its commitment to harness the peaceful uses of nuclear energy for development.

Your Excellencies

For the past six decades, the Technical Cooperation Programme of the IAEA has been recognised as an important delivery mechanism through which the Agency fulfils its statutory mandate to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy. In recent years the Agency has become even more relevant in assisting Member States towards the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as adopted by the General Assembly in 2015.

This International TC Conference, will therefore provide Member States with an ideal opportunity to collectively reflect on how the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme continues to assist countries through nuclear science and technology to address their socio-economic development challenges. The TC Programme provides an important support to countries in areas such as human health, food and agriculture, environment and water resources management and industrial applications in support of their national development priorities.

For example in the area of human health, the IAEA supported global efforts to fight the outbreak of the Ebola Viral Diseases in West Africa,  in 2015, using a nuclear diagnostic technique for rapid identification of the virus. In addition, the Agency provided assistance in the form of equipment, laboratory supplies and technical advice, to supplement the limited capacities of these countries.

Your Excellencies

In order to build upon these achievements and for the Agency to continue to provide this vital support to Member States, funding for the Technical Cooperation Programme should be sufficient, assured, and predictable. Member States have a collective political responsibility for the financing of the TC Programme. This includes Member States paying their assessed contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) in full and on time.

Member States continue to acknowledge the extra-budgetary support provided including through the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) in financially supporting a wide variety of the IAEA activities especially unfunded TC projects.

Your Excellencies

Distinguished delegates

Most of the Agency’s activities related to the TC Programme are supported and implemented through the Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf. However, these laboratories were built more than 50 years ago and have not received a comprehensive renovation to enable them to meet the evolving and growing demands of Member States. In this regard, the IAEA established the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories project (ReNuAL) in order to modernize these laboratories. We commend the tireless efforts of the Director-General and his team as well as the Friends of ReNuAL which have resulted in securing the required financial resources to commence with the first phase of this project.

However, in order to commence with the second and final phase of this project more financial resources are required. I therefore appeal to esteemed Member States to favourably consider making financial contributions to this important endeavour.

Your Excellencies

Distinguished Delegates

In conclusion, and as we start this historic conference, it is my sincere hope as Chair of the Board of Governors, that our deliberations in the next few days will solidify the partnership amongst Member States in the attempt to assist the IAEA in optimally achieving its mandate. Future generations should be assured that the Agency will be there to provide a helping hand as we seek to realise a better world. Technical Cooperation is a manifestation of how we can collaborate in a mutually beneficial relationship.  

I thank you.

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