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Topnews, Statements

15. June 2020

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 15 JUNE 2020, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 3: STRENGTHENING OF THE AGENCY’S TECHNICAL COOPERATION ACTIVITIES: TECHNICAL COOPERATION REPORT FOR 2019

Madam Chair,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G77 and China and the African Group respectively. My delegation also associates itself with the earlier joint-statement on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL. South Africa would like to make the following additional remarks, in its national capacity.

The Technical Cooperation Programme is the most important delivery mechanism through which the Agency fulfils its statutory mandate to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy, thus assisting Member States to realise their socio-economic development priorities.  South Africa is therefore pleased that the 2019 report highlights the importance of the TC Programme to the Agency and Member States.

The TC Report further highlights the efforts taken throughout the reporting period to strengthen the role of the Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) as the main strategic planning tool for the development of national TC programmes for Member States. We are pleased that South Africa was able to finalise its CPF during the reporting period and my delegation remains committed to its full implementation.

Madam Chair, the Departments of Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Sciences and Applications continued to provide invaluable support to African Member States and AFRA and its states parties; and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their tireless work. AFRA continues to be an integral framework for promoting Technical Cooperation among Countries in Africa and we welcome its growth. The Government of South Africa is proud to have successfully hosted the 30th Technical Working Group Meeting (TWGM) in Johannesburg, from 15 to19 July 2019 because AFRA and its partnerships are essential in enhancing ownership, self-reliance and sustainability of national nuclear institutions in African Member States and it is in this regard that South Africa also welcomes the Agency’s Practical Arrangement with the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). This will serve to strengthen the peaceful use and application of nuclear science and technology in support of the realisation of our national development plans, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Madam Chair,

The sterile insect technique remains key to assisting South Africa in eliminating malaria within our borders by 2023.  Our national project, which is titled ‘Assessing the Sterile Insect Technique for Malaria Mosquitos in a South African Setting’, is now at an advanced stage of demonstrating the technical feasibility of using SIT in the field and will aim to release 250 thousand sterile males per week.

In addition, the South African Vector Mosquito Rearing Facility housed at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) for operationalising the SIT technology for malaria control was due to open in March 2020 but was deferred to later in the year due to the national COVID-19 lockdown.

Madam Chair,

It would be remiss of my delegation not to highlight the work of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division and the VETLAB Network.

The VETLAB Network continued to support and assist African and Asian Member States in dealing with severe epidemics of equine influenza and avian influenza; as well as providing support to South Africa with up to date laboratory techniques to detect the strain of the avian influenza and to determine its pathogenic level for poultry, other animals and humans. Human health and food safety and security are crucial for our socio-economic development and the VETLAB Network is a key part of detecting and fighting trans-boundary animal and zoonotic diseases.

South Africa also acknowledges and welcomes the emergency actions that were undertaken to assist veterinary and human public health institutions in Africa in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the additional challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, the VETLAB Network was able to, through the online iVetNet database, provide valuable COVID-19 guidelines and diagnostic standard operating procedures to more than 200 scientists and lab technicians in the network and beyond.  Further illustrating the Agency’s commitment in assisting Member States to fight the pandemic.

We therefore, encourage Member States, in a position to do so, to support the network which falls under the Joint FAO/IAEA Division as it continues to expand into Central and Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Madam Chair,

In conclusion, South Africa will continue to work together with the African Group and the Secretariat and we further wish to remind all Member States of our shared responsibility towards funding and enhancing the TC activities of the Agency. My delegation believes that timely and full payment of assessed contributions will not only alleviate any associated challenges in the implementation of projects but also ensure that that the Agency’s resources for TC activities are Sufficient, Assured and Predictable.

With these remarks, Madam Chair, my delegation takes notes of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2019 as contained in document GOV/2020/19.

I thank you.

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