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Topnews, Statements

08. June 2022

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

AGENDA ITEM 3: STRENGTHENING OF THE AGENCY’S TECHNICAL COOPERATION ACTIVITIES TECHNICAL COOPERATION REPORT FOR 2021

Mr Chair,

1. 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.

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 2021 report, in line with previous reports,  highlights the importance of the TC Programme for both the Agency and Member States.

3. The promotion of nuclear energy for peaceful uses is of vital importance to South Africa and its developmental objectives 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 has officially been designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. South Africa endeavours to promote and strengthen the use of accelerator-based science, technology and applications.

Mr Chair,

4. Another important element of our own TC Programme is the fight against various non-communicable diseases that are  prevalent in our Continent and continue to undermine the well-being of our population. South Africa fully supports the new cancer-related initiative, Rays of Hope. As the leading African Member State on Cancer and Theranostics, South Africa offers its nuclear medicine institutions and facilities in support of Rays of Hope and looks forward to deepening our efforts and relations together with the Agency in this regard.

5. In addition, malaria continues to be a life threatening disease and in ensuring that we achieve our goal of eliminating malaria within our borders by 2030, we are pleased to report that our project on the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for Malaria Mosquitoes is in its 3rd phase. The success of this technique on malaria mosquitoes will have far reaching positive consequences in easing the global malaria burden that Africa disproportionately carries.

6. Human Resources Development and Nuclear Knowledge Management are of the utmost importance in capacity building and my delegation welcomes the Agency’s efforts in this regard. South Africa remains focused on accepting fellows and scientific visits and in collaboration with the Agency and relevant partners, will continue to provide PhD and post-graduate support in all priority areas.

7. Mr Chair, you will recall that in November 2020, Member States approved the off-cycle technical cooperation project INT5157 on ZODIAC. South Africa is pleased to note that the project has seen great progress since its initiation, with a number of regional meetings taking place in 2021. Capacity building is a priority for my delegation and we welcome the report that virtual training sessions continue to take  place. We encourage all Member States to support this initiative and we would like to take this opportunity to remind Member States that have not yet done so, to consider designating ZODIAC National Laboratories.

8. It would therefore be remiss of my delegation not to highlight the work of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division and the VETLAB Network. 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. Over and above the COVID-19 related assistance provided to Member States, the Network was at the forefront of providing support to Southern African Member States with genetic sequencing and molecular epidemiology of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1). South Africa appreciates the commitment of the Joint Division and encourages Member States, in a position to do so, to contribute to its various projects.

Mr Chair

9. 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 and voluntary 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.

10. Achieving a gender balanced and geographically representative Secretariat is important for my delegation and we urge the Agency to continue in their efforts to achieve this. Similarly, South Africa also fully supports the Agency’s efforts to expand female participation in the TC Programme, including through encouraging the nomination of female meeting and workshop participants, fellows and scientific visitors.

11. In conclusion, Mr Chair, the Departments of Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Sciences and Applications continue to provide invaluable support to African and developing Member States; and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their tireless work. My delegation will continue to work together with our PMO, AFRA and the Secretariat in ensuring that the atom is used for peace and development.

12. With these remarks, Mr Chair, my delegation takes notes of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2021 as contained in GOV/2022/19 and its Supplement.

I thank you.

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