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Topnews, Statements

08. Juni 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MS MASENOAMETSI LETLALA, FIRST SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 8 JUNE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 4: REPORT OF THE PROGRAMME AND BUDGET COMMITTEE 

1. Mr Chair, from the outset South Africa would like to reiterate its principled position, which calls for a balanced distribution of the programme and budget to reflect the equal importance of the three pillars of the IAEA’s mandate as contained in its Statute. We stress the need to balance the Agency’s promotional and non-promotional activities.

2. With regard to the Financial Statements for 2021, South Africa would like to thank the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia for their professionalism in conducting the audit on the Agency’s activities for the 6th consecutive year. We are further pleased that an “unqualified opinion” has once again been awarded on the Agency’s financial statements and that the Secretariat has accepted the External Auditor’s recommendations which will be implemented in time.

3. South Africa acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the full implementation of statutory activities of the Agency. The Secretariat’s efforts in ensuring that activities are implemented, as fully as possible, are commended. Moreover, in recognising the financial burden that COVID-19 has placed on many Member States, my delegation thanks Member States and the private sector for their generous extrabudgetary contributions especially towards the Agency’s COVID-19 related assistance which South African benefitted from.

4. While appreciating the extrabudgetary contributions that were made across the various major programmes, South Africa would like to caution against the over reliance on extrabudgetary funds in future, as this could negatively impact the effectiveness, independence and long-term sustainability of the Agency’s activities.

5. Mr Chair, South Africa acknowledges that the implementation of activities may be difficult during this time and my delegation requests that any changes that may be required, especially in the implementation of Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme activities, be closely coordinated with the affected Member States through very thorough consultation and engagement.

6. Regarding Internal Audits, my delegation would like to express its appreciation for the work conducted by the OIOS Division. My delegation recognises that the Division is operating under challenging circumstances and we encourage them to continue to provide independent and objective assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the governance, risk management and internal control processes of the Agency’s programmes, processes and activities.

7. Turning to the Agency’s Budget, South Africa thanks the Secretariat for issuing the Draft Budget Update for 2023, in accordance with the Board of Governors decision of June 2021 as contained in document GOV/2021/25 and thanks the Rapporteur (Slovenia) for the report before us today.

8. In this regard, we would like to reiterate our position on the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) targets, that in determining the TCF targets and Indicative Planning Figures going forward for 2024-2025, relevant and various factors should be considered. As the main delivery vehicle for the transfer of nuclear energy, science and technologies for peaceful uses, the resources for the TC Programme must be sufficient, assured and predictable and we encourage all Member States to pay their contributions to the TCF in full and on time.

9. Regarding the After-Service Health Insurance (ASHI), Mr Chair, South Africa is concerned about the impact of the ASHI Liability on the financial health of the Regular Budget. Given the long-term implications of any decision on this issue for future budget cycles of the Agency and the assessed contributions of Member States - South Africa requests the Secretariat to issue Member States with proposals, as soon as possible.

10. With these comments, Chair, South Africa takes note of the PBC Report as contained in document GOV/2022/23.

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