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Topnews, Statements

09. June 2015

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, VIENNA, 9 JUNE 2015

AGENDA ITEM 3: Strengthening the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Activities: Technical Cooperation Report 2014

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by the Ambassador of Chile on behalf of the G77 and China and the Ambassador of Nigeria on behalf of the African Group.  My delegation would like to thank the Deputy Director General for Technical Cooperation, Mr. Kwaku Aning, for his introductory remarks, as well as for organising the informative briefing on the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014.

At the outset allow me to express my deep appreciation and that of my country for Mr Aning’s contribution to the work of the Agency during his tenure as Deputy Director-General. His deep and endearing passion for improving the lives of people and his unwavering efforts to promote nuclear science and technology has been an inspiration. Through his efforts he has brought about greater understanding on our continent and indeed globally of the life-saving properties of the atom and the importance of nuclear technology for development.  We wish you well in your future endeavours Mr Aning and we look forward to working closely with Mr. Yang, in the same spirit.

Madame Chairperson,

As highlighted in the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014, my delegation is pleased to note the Agency’s continued efforts to support the application of nuclear technology and science in critical areas as human health, food and agriculture, water resources management, energy planning, environmental protection and industrial application. My delegation is also pleased with the continued efforts of the Agency to improve the quality and impact of the TC Programme.

My delegation wishes, however, to remind all Member States that the TC Programme is demand driven and must continue to support national and regional development priorities as articulated by Member States through established processes of the Agency. This is essential if the Programme is to remain effective and relevant. Furthermore it is our view that greater efforts should be made by the Agency to ensure that the Technical Cooperation Department has sufficient financial and human resources to meet the growing needs and requirements of Member States.

My delegation remains concerned that the resources available to the Technical Cooperation Programme are still not sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP). During the NPT RevCon Member States of the Agency worked tirelessly to promote the importance of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and generous pledges were made to the Peaceful Uses Initiative. These efforts must now be translated into support for the Technical Cooperation Fund.  The TCF is essential to ensuring a stable and strategic TC Programme and whilst extra budgetary contributions are welcome, we cannot allow these contributions to replace the TCF.

Madame Chairperson,

My delegation is of the view that making nuclear science and technology available to improve human and animal health, and increase food production, is a key element of the IAEA's mandate and that the Technical Cooperation Programme is the main vehicle for the delivery of this technology.

In this regard my delegation especially appreciates the Agency’s continued work to develop diagnostic tools for the early detection of animal and zoonotic diseases, in particular the work undertaken at the Animal Production and Health Laboratory in Seibersdorf, with its unique capacity to develop techniques capable of detecting disease indicators in extremely small amounts and at very early stages.

The threat to human and animal health posed by transboundary animal diseases has never been more apparent than in 2014. My delegation welcomes the Agency’s efforts to combat the outbreak of avian influenza, the spread of Africa swine fever and the outbreak of bluetongue in Central and Western Europe in 2014.  My delegation is particularly pleased with the Agency’s contribution to the fight against the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa and we are of the view that the Agency’s  quick response in this regard is testament to the flexibility of the Technical Cooperation Programme and to the important role of the TCP in delivering this life saving technology.  

South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was one of the Agency's main partners on Ebola in Sierra Leone, where the Agency provided equipment, laboratory supplies, and technical advice to enable affected countries to make rapid diagnosis of the disease, using simple kits.  The National Institute for Communicable Diseases will again be one of the Agency’s key partners in the recent project launched by the Agency to equip and train African countries to be better prepared to rapidly diagnose future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola.

My delegation greatly values the efforts of the Agency to build capacity for the application of nuclear and related technologies in Member States through the Technical Cooperation Programme. South Africa further continued in 2014 to provide support to the Agency’s VETLAB project in Africa. This project to date has established a network of more than 32 African countries with capacity on the early and rapid diagnosis and control of emerging and re-emerging transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases. 

Madame Chairperson,

I am pleased to inform the Board that a new Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) facility has been completed at iThemba LABS in Gauteng, which was inaugurated in July 2014 by our Minister of Science and Technology. This is the first AMS facility of its kind on the African continent. We thank the IAEA for its contribution under the TC project SAF/0/004 “Completing the High-Energy Analysis System for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at iThemba LABS (Gauteng)”. This AMS facility positions South Africa among the world leaders in accelerator-based research; it will be used for biomedical, archaeology and paleo-sciences research, as well as for postgraduate training for master’s and doctoral degrees.

Madame Chairperson

In view of the essential role that the Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf play in the peaceful application of nuclear energy my delegation encourages all Member States to contribute to the ReNuAl project and to the establishment of a Biosafety Level 3 capability at Moedling

The TC Programme is the vehicle for the Agency’s statutory function “to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy for peace, health and prosperity throughout the world” and my delegation is more convinced than ever that no stone should be left unturned to ensure that the necessary funds are made available by all the Member States of the IAEA to ensure the continued implementation of the TC Programme.

With these comments my delegation takes note of GOV/2015/21.

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