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Topnews, Statements

06. June 2018

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 06 JUNE 2018, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 6 C

SAFEGUARDS IMPLEMENTATION REPORT 2017

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Align Movement (NAM) on this agenda item by the distinguished Ambassador of Venezuela.

I would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity:

Chairperson,

South African welcomes the 2017 Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR), which reflects the Agency’s findings, conclusions and challenges associated with the implementation of safeguards, which constitute the essential building blocks of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and have a direct impact on the advancement of international peace and security.

In welcoming the report, we are pleased with the fact that it indicates that the Agency has derived a broader conclusion that all material in South Africa remained in peaceful activities. We are equally encouraged by the assistance that the Agency continues to provide to states and regional authorities with a view to enhancing safeguards implementation. In this regard, we appreciate the holding of a national training course in South Africa in 2017, as part of the Learning Management System. Further, we are pleased to be a partner with 19 other member states and the European Commission in supporting capacity-building, through our contribution to the Agency’s Member State Support Programme (MSSP).      

Chairperson,

My delegation reiterates its conviction that the IAEA is the only internationally recognised, competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring compliance with the safeguards agreements of States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  We therefore encourage the twelve States Parties to the NPT identified in the report, which have yet to bring into force a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSAs) with the Agency, as required by Article III of the Treaty, to do so without delay so as to enable Agency to draw the requisite safeguards conclusions.

Chairperson,

South Africa notes that during the reporting period, the Agency found that of the 127 member states – with both Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols (APs) in force – there was no indication of the diversion of nuclear material in 70 member states, whilst the remaining 57 are currently in the process of undergoing the necessary evaluation in this regard. It remains South Africa's view that integrated safeguards provide a credible mechanism for the Agency to draw a broader conclusion. Accordingly, given the importance of the Agency’s broader conclusion to the remaining 57 member states, it would be essential to provide further details on the timeframes and the associated challenges for the purposes of finalisation.

South Africa further notes that there was an increase in the number of states with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols in force, from 121 states in 2015 to 127 in 2017. While my delegation reiterates that the Additional Protocol remains a voluntary measure, it is nevertheless an important verification tool, especially in those states with advanced nuclear programmes and facilities.

Chairperson,

We acknowledge that there is an increase in the amount of nuclear material under safeguards, as alluded to in the report. South Africa, however, remains concerned about the nuclear material used for military purposes that are not under safeguards and which constitutes the bulk of material in this regard. We believe that it is in the interests of attaining the overall goal of international peace and security that all nuclear materials are under IAEA safeguards.

Chairperson,     

My delegation notes the Agency's continued progress in strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of Agency safeguards. As part of this process, we note the ongoing implementation of the MOSAIC project as stated in the report. We encourage the Agency to provide more detail on the nature of these new IT tools and capabilities as well as its efforts to strengthen the information security of safeguards data.   

Similarly, South Africa notes that the report highlights the development of State-Level Safeguards Approaches for 62 states, bringing the total number of states under State-Level Safeguards to 126. This represents a significant increase and demonstrates that the Agency has moved well-beyond the initial focus of those states under integrated safeguards. While acknowledging the strides made in a relatively short-period, we call on the Agency to maintain enhanced dialogue with member states on this matter.

Further, the report indicates the extent to which State-Level Approaches have enhanced the safeguards implementation process, which must be welcomed. However, South Africa would appreciate further information on the degree to which it has also introduced efficiencies, given that this was an important basis for the introduction of the State-Level Approach.

It is within this context that the outstanding report to the Board of Governors about Lessons Learned and Experiences Gained becomes especially relevant. However, we note the explanation provided by the Agency for the delay in issuing the report and look forward to its availability in July for presentation to the Board in September.  

Chairperson,

South Africa has carefully analysed the estimated cost to be incurred by the Agency in implementing safeguards in member states. As such, the details provided in the report are especially timely, given the Board’s consideration of the report of the Programme and Budget Committee.

We have, however, noted that in certain instances there are either significant increases or vast decreases in the estimated costs for each member state, as set out in Table 7, page 51 of the report. Accordingly, it is important for the Agency to provide further information, clarifying the reasons for the variances in future reports. We have further noted that since the introduction of the Safeguards Implementation Report, the Agency has been estimating safeguards costs in each member state. While this methodology is welcomed, given the financial constraints confronting the Agency, it would also be appreciated if the Agency could provide the actual costs in this regard.      

Chairperson,

In conclusion, allow me to express my delegation’s sincerest appreciation to Mr Tero Varjoranta, the former Deputy Director General of the Department of Safeguards. Indeed, many of the successes contained in the 2017 Safeguards Implementation Report are as a result of his contribution. Similarly, we welcome the appointment of his successor, Mr Massimo Aparo, in assuming this important responsibility. We trust that under his leadership, the Department of Safeguards will continue to discharge its mandate with diligence, and in an objective and impartial manner.

With these remarks South Africa takes note of the report of the Director-General on the Safeguards Implementation Report for 2017, as contained in document GOV/2018/19.

I thank you

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