Topnews, Statements

08. June 2022



Mr Chairperson

1. South Africa aligned itself with the statements delivered by my two brothers Ambassador Farhane in his capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, and Ambassador Johnson, on behalf of the African Group, to which I wish to add the following brief additional remarks on behalf of my delegation.

2. South Africa adds its voice to those who spoke before us in thanking the Director General and the Secretariat for the report before the Board on the Agency’s activities in the past year and the format in which the report is presented focusing on the IAEA’s core business, namely the advancement of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science and technology  in line with our Motto Atoms for peace and development – a key priority that seems to have taken a backseat to the more political issues in the Board’s deliberations.

3. My delegation is pleased that the IAEA has been able to, not only continue to implement its critical work despite challenging circumstances, but in fact expanded its work especially as already indicated in areas close to the heart of my delegation. South Africa welcomes the various initiatives launched by the Director General and the Secretariat to respond to the various global challenges and also to pre-empt looming threats that need to be addressed to assist to achieve their socio-economic objectives and goals, including those contained in the UN Sustainable Development Goals in general and the 2063 Africa Agenda.

4. Furthermore, we agree with the assessment in the report that nuclear power is a growth industry and South Africa supports the Agency’s focus on new technologies and reactors in this area, especially Small Modular Reactors and the exciting advancements in nuclear fission. However, it is critical to ensure that these new advancements can be utilised in a safe manner. My delegation therefore welcomes the Agency’s initiatives to support Member States in also strengthening and promoting nuclear safety in the use of nuclear technology and power.

5. South Africa’s collaboration and cooperation with the IAEA is growing on an annual basis. During the reporting period the country’s first collaboration centre, iThemba Laboratories, was inaugurated in the field of accelerator applications. As reflected in the report there are currently 32 research contracts or agreements in place between South Africa and the IAEA and we have 3 Analytical Laboratories for the Measurement of Environmental Radioactivity, to name but a few of the activities we share. We look forward to continuing the expansion of our nuclear progamme and cooperation with the IAEA in the years to come.

6. Mr Chairperson,

7. As the world is slowly returning to normal, the IAEA’s programme of work will become even more loaded and we have to ask the question if the IAEA’s budget is adequate for all we demand from it. For developing countries such as our own, the ability to access nuclear energy, science and technology and to harness its many applications is becoming central to our economic development and our plans to improve the quality of life of our people. It is important that as we move towards the next budget cycle that we start asking ourselves tough questions and make an honest assessment of the ability of the IAEA to continue to expand its work in scope and reach. In this regard, we commend the Director General’s efforts to mobilise non-traditional resources and partners, but this may not be enough.

8. To conclude Mr Chairperson, the Report before the Board today is a record of the myriad of activities this organisation undertakes yearly for the betterment of the people of the world we once again congratulate the DG and the Secretariat for a job well done so far. South Africa supports the Board’s adoption of the report and onward transmission to the 66th Session of the General Conference in September 2022.

I thank you

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