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Topnews, Statements

08. June 2021

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 8 JUNE 2021, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 3: TECHNICAL COOPERATION REPORT 2020

Madam Chair,

1. My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G77 and China and the African Group respectively. South Africa would like to make the following additional remarks in its national capacity.

Madam Chair,

2. The Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme is the most important delivery mechanism through which the Agency fulfils its statutory mandate to promote the transfer of nuclear energy, science and technology for the peaceful use of atomic energy for socio-economic development of Member States.  South Africa is therefore pleased that the 2020 report highlights the importance of the TC Programme to both the Agency and Member States.

3. The Departments of Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Sciences and Applications continued to provide invaluable support to African Member States and AFRA and its State Parties   over the past year; and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their tireless work.

4. South Africa welcomes the signing of various agreements between the IAEA and various relevant organisations, including the Practical Arrangement between the IAEA and AFCONE.

Madam Chair,

5. 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, in collaboration with the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) in Gaborone, the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Zimbabwe, and the Enhancing Research for Africa Network, has supported the online training on “Organization and Management of Proficiency Testing” for participants from over 20 countries. This Network has assisted the Reference Centre of Excellence for our region located in our neighbouring country, Botswana, to implement the multiplex detection of zoonotic pathogens, amongst others. Human health is central to our socio-economic development and the VETLAB Network is a key partner in detecting, tracing, managing and fighting trans-boundary animal and zoonotic diseases.

6. Good health and well-being is one of the major challenges South Africa is addressing as well as the maintenance of food safety, food security and high nutrition in our food sources, which is also one of the many Sustainable Development Goals that the IAEA assists Member States, like South Africa, to attain. In this regard, our participation in the Africa Food Safety Project was integral in assisting us to improve our national food safety, by protecting consumers and assurance of food supply.

7. Another important element of our own TC Project is the fight against non-communicable diseases that are very prevalent in our Continent and undermines the well-being of our population. , In this regard, South Africa continues to receive assistance from the Agency that will ensure that we achieve our goal of eliminating malaria within our borders by 2030. Our Sterile Insect Technique Project has produced 2 Post-Doctorate, 1 PhD, 1 MSc and 2 BSc Honours graduates, further capacitating our human resources. Nuclear Knowledge Management development is of the utmost importance in capacity building and it is through the Agency’s efforts that this has been achieved.

8. My delegation further wishes 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.

9. The promotion of nuclear energy for peaceful uses is important to South Africa and we are pleased that iThemba Labs –  Africa’s leading research facility for accelerator based science and host of the largest accelerator facility in the southern hemisphere is in the process of being designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. South Africa remains committed to the promotion of the practical use of nuclear techniques and we hope to finalise the process soon.

10. Madam Chair, you will recall that in November 2020, Member States approved an off-cycle technical cooperation project INT5157 on ZODIAC. While noting that the TC Report does not speak on ZODIAC in detail, my delegation strongly urges the Secretariat to provide updates and reporting on the implementation of the project as provided for in the General Conference Resolution. These updates, according to the Resolution, could be in various formats such as technical briefings, reporting to the Board of Governors as well as the submission of annual report to the General Conference, as provided for under paragraph 12 of the ZODIAC Resolution. We further urge the Secretariat to provide Member States with updates that provides feedback on the outcome of consultations with other international organisations, and Member States on the planning and implementation of ZODIAC and the state of resources allocated to ZODIAC, including Human Resource deployment.  Lastly on this issue, you will recall that at the TACC and Board meetings in November last year, many Member States proposed that one possible way of ensuring consistent consultation with Member States, is the formation of a Group of Friends, similar to that of ReNuAL, the Group can serve in an advisory capacity to the Director General and the Secretariat

11. In conclusion, Madam Chair, South Africa will continue to work together with our PMO, the African Group and the Secretariat.

12. With these remarks, Madam Chair, my delegation takes notes of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2020.

I thank you.

The world's first heart transplant
was done in South Africa in 1967
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