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Statements

03. Juni 2014

Statement by Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo, Resident Representative/Governor of the Republic of South Africa, International Atomic Energy Agency, Board of Governors, Vienna from 2 to 6 June 2014

AGENDA ITEM 4: Strengthening the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Activities: Technical Cooperation Report 2013

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by His Excellency Ambassador Abdul Azeez on behalf of the G77 and China and the representative of Morocco on behalf of the African Group, respectively.  My delegation would like to thank the Deputy Director General for Technical Cooperation, Dr. Kwaku Aning, for his introductory remarks as well as for organising the informative briefing on the Technical Cooperation Report for 2013.

Chairperson,

South Africa commends the Agency for the activities undertaken in the area of nuclear science, technology and applications to support Member States, especially developing countries, through its Technical Cooperation Programme, as highlighted in the Technical Cooperation Report for 2013.

My delegation welcomes the Agency’s active participation in the processes to elaborate the sustainable development goals (SDG) and contribution to the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. While my delegation recognises that the international community has not as yet reached a point of convergence on both the SDGs and the Post -2015 UN Development Agenda, we are in agreement that science and technology should occupy an important place in the SDG framework, and the Agency has a critical role to play in this regard.

My delegation would further like to commend the Agency for the comprehensive input it provided to the UN Secretary General’s Report to the UN Committee for Programme and Coordination on progress in implementing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  My delegation is appreciative of the Agency’s support for Africa’s Development Agenda.

Chairperson,

My delegation is pleased with the share allocated to the African Region from the TC Fund, within the limited resources, taking into consideration the large number of African countries in the Agency and the developmental needs of the Continent. We have noted that almost all regions have benefited from the TC Programme, that is why there is a compelling necessity for all member states to speak with one voice with regards to a need to ensure that the TC Programme is sufficiently resourced.

We are also pleased that the TC Programme implementation achieved a rate of 80.4% in 2013 compared to 74.5% in 2012.

Chairperson,

As highlighted in the Technical Cooperation Report for 2013, my delegation is pleased that the Agency’s TC Programme in Africa during the year under review focussed on those areas that are critical to the socio-economic development of the continent.  We have always expressed a view that the Agency’s TC Programme should be in support of the Member States development priorities and in accordance with both the Country Programme Frameworks and the Regional Strategic Cooperative Framework.  In this context we are pleased to note that the Agency’s TC Programme targeted such critical areas as human health, food and agriculture, water resources management, energy planning, environmental protection and industrial application.

Chairperson,

South Africa continues to contribute through the AFRA Fund to research development and training related to nuclear sciences and technology in Africa and commends the Agency for its support to AFRA in 2013. My delegation is also pleased to note that, last year, the AFRA Technical Working Group Meeting endorsed several recommendations on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of the TC Programme on the Continent.

My delegation takes note of the developments made on the establishment of the division of PACT and we look forward to seeing both the positive impact of this move on PACT service delivery and on the TC Department.  My delegation looks forward to seeing more PACT initiatives, such as the Virtual University for Cancer Control (VUCCnet) in Africa, which strengthens and supports Member States’ own efforts to build human resource capacity in cancer control. We are pleased to note that VUCCnet is well on its way to becoming a fully-fledged regionally owned and operated e-learning platform and coordination mechanism with academically accredited content. It is our view that VUCCnet may well be of benefits to other regions.

 Chairperson,

South Africa’s TC projects, both nationally and regionally, continued to be successfully implemented in 2013.

Regionally, the five year project which started in 2012 with the aim of strengthening capacities for the diagnosis and control of transboundary animal diseases in Africa, has already resulted in the establishment of advanced animal disease diagnostic capacities in 21 of 27 targeted African Member States.  Through the Agency’s Animal Health and Production Laboratory, with funding from South Africa and other partners these laboratories continue to improve their diagnostic capabilities for transboundary animal diseases that hinder livestock development and affect farmers’ incomes in the region.

In 2013 South Africa continued to strengthen its national capacity to refine and integrate Sterile Insect Techniques (SIT) for suppressing lepidopteron pests in southern-African.  My Government was able to install a new cobalt 60 source at the irradiator of the Institute for Deciduous Fruit, Vines and Wine in Stellenbosch.  This was achieved through cost sharing whereby my government covered 50% of the cost.  In addition, the expert technical assistance, advice and human capacity building provided through this project has increased fruit production with reduced production costs and lower pesticide usage, with particular success in the false codling moth programme, a major pest of citrus fruits. These efforts will facilitate safer subsistence farming and commercial production in the sub-region, and promote local and international trade.

In support of national priorities the Agency continued in 2013 to implement projects related to HIV/AIDS, Malaria and human capacity development in the field of nuclear applications.

Although the incidence of malaria in South Africa has been considerably reduced, it is still one of the potentially most threatening public health problems in the country and on the Continent. For the project to assess the Sterile Insect Technique for Malaria Mosquitoes in a South African Setting in 2013 expert assistance was provided, among other, in the design of a mobile, modular (container based) mosquito mass-rearing facility.

The Agency is supporting the establishment of a regional centre of expertise and experimental capabilities in neutron beam techniques at the SAFARI-1 research reactor in South Africa. The project aims to develop qualified human resource capacity, improve beam characteristics, and support the installation of a more versatile sample environment and the most recent instrumentation suites. It has already supported the upgrading of the SAFARI-1 beam line infrastructure. In 2013, two fellows received hands-on training in neutron scattering investigations in material science and related applications. The project will continue until the end of 2015.

 

Chairperson,

South Africa has the honour of co-chairing the Friends of ReNuAL, My delegation calls on all Member States to support the renovation of all the Seibersdorf Laboratories to assure that the Agency is able to meet the needs of all its Member States.

Chairperson

My delegation welcomes the Agency’s efforts to encourage participation of women in every area of the TC programme and to mainstream gender and enhance gender equality in every aspect of the Agency’s activities including TC.   My delegation calls on all Member States promote the participation of women in the TC programme.

Chairperson

My delegation notes with appreciation the efforts made by the TC Department to ensure continual improvement in the TC programme.  My delegation also commends the TC Department for continuing to respond effectively and efficiently to the OIOS recommendations in 2013.  With regard to the efforts made by the TC Department to improve programme reporting, my delegation would like to note that the Project Progress Assessment Reports (PPAR) is user friendly and has greatly facilitated reporting and project implementation in South Africa.

Chairperson,

My delegation is encouraged by the increase in the rate of attainment for the TCF in 2013 and the increase in total TCF resources for this period.   South Africa calls on the all Member States to make their contributions on time and in full, and to pay their National Participation Costs in a timely manner to ensure that TC Programme can be implemented effectively.   My delegation looks forward to future discussions in the Board on the strengthening of the Due Account Mechanism, which in the view of my delegation will contribute towards making the TC Fund Sufficient Assured and Predictable.

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/2014/26

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