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Topnews, Statements

12. September 2017

STATEMENT BY DR JOHNNY THABO PITSWANE, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 11 SEPTEMBER 2017, VIENNA

AGENDA ITEM 5:   STRENGTHENING THE AGENCY’S ACTIVITIES RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the

G77 and China and the African Group respectively. I would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.

Chairperson,

South Africa has taken note of the Director General’s report on the ReNuAL project which provides an update on the current status of the ReNuAL project. We are pleased to note that the funding target of 2 million Euros was achieved by June this year. The attainment of the funding target has enabled the Agency to simultaneously commence the construction of all three planned laboratories of the new Flexible Modular Laboratory (FML) in July this year and thus maximising cost efficiencies. We thank all the Member States who have made financial contributions to this project which ensured that this funding target is realised.

The Director General’s report further highlights that the full completion of the FML remains subject to the availability of further extra-budgetary resources that are required no later than the end of this month for the interior furnishing of the Animal Production and Health laboratory (APHL). To meet this funding target of 4, 7 million Euros for the APHL, my delegation appeals to Member States to continue to make financial contributions to successfully complete this project.

South Africa welcomes the continued efforts and support provided by the Agency to African Member States to plan and implement their SIT activities to eliminate or control tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis, to build capacity through applied research and technical cooperation, and to strengthen collaboration with the AU-PATTEC and other partners in support of the AU-PATTEC initiative.

In this context, my delegation further welcomes the inauguration, in February this year, of the Insectary of Bobo-Dioulasso (IBD) in Burkina Faso. The Director General’s report highlights that this is the largest insectary in West Africa and is expected to produce sterile insects for several fields projects in the region. We are pleased that several tsetse species have already been cultivated at the IBD and that colonies are currently been upgraded. In this regard, we wish to thank the Agency for providing technical support, capacity and equipment to this facility.

The report further highlights that the African Animal Trypanosomosis affecting livestock continues to pose a major constraint to socio-economic development in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the rural areas where poverty and lack of infrastructure are most acute. To continue to address this problem, my delegation appeals to Member States to continue to provide technical, financial and material support to African Member States to enhance their efforts to create tsetse-free zones.

Chairperson

South Africa welcomes the Agency’s continued efforts, through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VETLAB) Network project, to strengthen regional capacities for early detection of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases in wildlife and livestock and the establishment of early warning systems. Member States will recall that last year the VETLAB Network commemorated 4 years since its establishment in 2012 and has now grown into a global network of national veterinary laboratories located in 44 African and 19 Asian countries.

Last month, the Permanent Representative of South Africa, Ambassador Seokolo, together with senior officials from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division had an opportunity to visit the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) which is one of the four regional reference laboratories of the VETLAB Network in the African continent. During the visit, the delegation had an opportunity to witness first-hand the BNVL facilities and to be briefed by the Botswana authorities on how the IAEA has assisted the BNVL in strengthening its diagnostic capacity and introducing modern techniques to detect a virus or bacteria in a very early stage of the disease.

As one of the countries, together with Japan and the United States, which provided the initial funding for the establishment of the VETLAB Network project in 2012, South Africa is pleased to note that Botswana has moved from zero capacity a few years ago to become one of the Centres of Excellence for the SADC region performing tests for neighbouring countries and thus ensuring the competitiveness of the livestock industry in accessing international markets.

As previously stated, South Africa expresses its gratitude to both Japan and the United States of America for their financial support to the VETLAB project and encourages the respective Permanent Representatives to consider visiting one of the VETLAB Network laboratories to experience first-hand the outcome of their contributions to this project.

Chairperson

The report of the Director General on Nuclear Energy highlights a number of activities undertaken by the Agency in 2016, both on nuclear applications and non-power applications. My delegation commends the Agency for all the activities undertaken in these areas and encourages the Secretariat to continue providing this support to Member States.

In July this year, our Permanent Representative joined other Ambassadors and Governors on a technical visit to the Russian Federation. During this trip, the delegation had an opportunity to visit the Akademik Lomonosov, the floating nuclear power plant, the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, and the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg where the icebreaker, the Arktika, is being manufactured. In this regard, South Africa commends the Russian Federation efforts as part of the broader innovative and pioneering work being undertaken globally. We further note the importance the Russian Federation attaches to nuclear safety.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of the Director General’s Report on Nuclear Application.

Thank you.

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