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Topnews, Statements

10. September 2019

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 10 SEPTEMBER 2019, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 5:   Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications

Chairperson,

1. My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G77 and China, the African Group and the co-chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL respectively and I would like to make the following remarks in my national capacity.

Chairperson,

2. As a developing country, South Africa appreciates the value of using atoms for our development. It is therefore important to affirm that the use of nuclear for peaceful uses encompassing both nuclear power and non-nuclear power applications is key in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. My Delegation believes that the Agency’s activities as reflected in the Director General’s report, not only highlight the Agency’s commitment to its motto but also reflects the work undertaken by the Agency to assist Member States through the use of nuclear science, technology and applications, to achieve their social and economic developmental objectives.  For us as an African country, this resonates with our own national development plan, as well as the developmental aspirations contained in Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want. We are happy with the strides we are taking in this regard.

Chairperson,

3. With reference to Annex 2 - South Africa also welcomes the on-going support provided by the Agency to African Member States under the AU-PATTEC initiative. The support provided throughout the initiative and the research conducted at the Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf, have helped to address gaps in scientific knowledge, thus leading to great progress being made in the eradication of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis in African countries. The number of reported cases of this disease has drastically decreased to 1500 per annum and in order to continue tackling sleeping sickness, my delegation appeals to Member States in a position to do so, to provide technical, financial and material support to this initiative that still affects sub-Saharan Africa.

Chairperson,

4. The Sterile Insect Technique continues to yield results wherever it is implemented and it is a nuclear application that South Africa relies on in our fight against disease-transmitting mosquitoes. In light of this, my delegation is proud to inform the Board that with the valuable assistance provided by the Agency, our national project titled Assessing the Sterile Insect Technique for Malaria Mosquitos in a South African Setting, is now in its second phase and officially ready to inaugurate the pilot mosquito mass rearing facility at our National Institute of Communicable Diseases on 27 November 2019.

5. Animal transmitted diseases know no borders and therefore trans-boundary and zoonotic diseases have the ability to devastate the human and animal health of a nation or regions. The early detection of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases contributes significantly to the attainment of human health, food safety, food security and improvement in the quality of food production. It is in this context that South Africa is pleased that the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network (VETLAB) project has shown considerable growth, with the Network set to expand beyond Africa and Asia to Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean this year.  This reaffirms the need expressed by Member States for the Agency’s services in the utilisation of nuclear techniques to tackle socio-economic challenges. In this regard, VETLAB is another illustration of how working together as Member States, in close collaboration with the Agency, we can harness the peaceful uses of the atom in the interest of human progress.

6. Furthermore, last month, the 4th Research Coordination Meeting on Early Detection of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) to Facilitate Prevention and Control through a Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Network, was held. This is an example of how the Agency continues to bring together the relevant experts and stakeholders in an effort to strengthen its support to Member States.  Moreover, this gathering of laboratory heads to share their experiences on monitoring, containing and treating highly contagious viruses, such as avian influenza, African swine fever and Ebola together with the four training courses held by the Agency during the reporting period, has had a profound and positive impact on my region.

Chairperson,

7. The provision of emergency toolboxes with reagents and consumables and expert assistance to Mozambique during the recent cyclone disasters were critical in the early detection and conformational diagnosis to mitigate the effect and contain the threat from animal disease outbreaks such as foot and mouth disease. Moreover, the emergency and coordinated assistance provided to a number of West African countries in order to ensure the early and rapid diagnosis and control of equine influenza and African Horse Sickness is highly welcomed.  My delegation also applauds the dedication of the Agency in continuing to provide much needed and emergency support to a number of Asian countries in their continued fight against African swine fever.

Chairperson,

8. In conclusion, South Africa would like to congratulate the Secretariat and Member States alike on the successful hosting of the inaugural Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology in November 2018, as highlighted in the Director General’s report. My Delegation looks forward to another opportunity to engage, at a high level, on nuclear science, technology and applications for peaceful uses and their delivery to Member States through the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation programme. Continued collaboration and solidarity among us will strengthen the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications.

With these remarks, Chair, my delegation takes notes of the report.

I thank you.

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