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04. Mai 2015

NATIONAL STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO AT MAIN COMMITTEE III OF THE 2015 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE, NEW YORK, ON 4 MAY 2015

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and would like to share some additional views in its national capacity.

Chairperson,

The demand for nuclear power and the application of nuclear technology will continue to increase. Nuclear power and the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, if optimised to the fullest, can meaningfully contribute to the achievement of international development goals. The inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology is of particular relevance and importance in attaining sustainable and accelerated economic growth in Africa.

Along with the legal commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons and measures to prevent proliferation, the NPT reaffirms the inalienable right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy pursuant to Article IV of the Treaty. Peaceful nuclear co-operation and access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, pursuant to Article IV of the NPT, constitute one of the core objectives of the Treaty. In giving effect to Articles IV (1) and IV (2), South Africa therefore cautions against any decision that would amount to a reinterpretation of, or restriction on, this inalienable right.

My delegation therefore recommends that the Conference reaffirm the 2010 NPT Revcon outcome which inter alia states that each country’s choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses should be respected and under which Member States undertook to:

  • Facilitate and reaffirm the right of States Parties to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for peaceful uses of nuclear energy;
  • Give preferential treatment to the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty, taking the needs of developing countries, in particular, into account;
  • Facilitate the transfer of nuclear technology and international cooperation in conformity with Articles I, II, III and IV of the Treaty, and
  • Eliminate undue restrictions inconsistent with the Treaty.

Chairperson,

The IAEA has a leading role in the development and promotion of nuclear and nuclear derived technology that improves food security, human and animal health, environmental management and contributes to socio-economic development. Through the work of the Agency the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has benefited all Member States, especially developing countries. The Agency’s nuclear application Laboratories are unique to the UN system and as a result the IAEA is able to develop and transfer needed and often lifesaving technologies and skills to Member States to, among others, combat and eradicate animal diseases and pests that cause diseases, contribute to cancer management and the management of water resources.

Of particular value to the African continent has been the vaccines developed by the IAEA/FAO Joint Division at the Agency’s Nuclear Application laboratories at Seibersdorf, as well as the nuclear techniques developed for the early and rapid diagnosis of animal and zoonotic diseases. These techniques and the support, which was provide to countries by the Agency to apply them, were instrumental in the eradication of Rinderpest, a transboundary animal disease which killed thousands of cattle, affecting the livelihoodof farmers and the economies of countries, especially in Africa. These techniques enabled the Agency to complement international efforts to address the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa in 2014 and the IAEA Board of Governors approved a project during its last Board for the the strengthening ofAfrica’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging and remerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola, and establishing early warning systems. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), developed by the Joint Division to suppress pests such as the Tsetse fly and the fruit fly, is another example of the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

South Africa accordingly attaches great value to the role of the Agency’s Nuclear Applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, continues to assist Member States in enhancing their access to the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies. We welcome the decision by the IAEA Member States to renovate these laboratories but note with concern that if financial contributions are not forthcoming by 1 June 2015 the Agency cannot begin with construction of the laboratories as planned. South Africa therefore urges States Parties to contribute to the renovation of these Laboratories to enable the IAEA to continue to meet the needs of Member States.

Chairperson,

South Africa attaches great importance to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme which is the vehicle through which peaceful uses of nuclear technology is made available to countries and as such contributes towards addressing the socio-economic needs and sustainable development challenges of developing countries. Indeed the Agency’s TC projects are more than just political commitments, they constitute important building blocks to assist developing countries in their efforts to alleviate poverty and achieve international development goals.

South Africa remains concerned about the lack of sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP) funding for the Agency to fulfil its promotional mandate and to meet the increasing number of requests for TC projects by Member States. We call on all Member States of the IAEA to pay their contributions to the TC Fund in full and on time. South Africa is also of the opinion that greater efforts should be made to balance the allocation of resources between the Major Programmes of the IAEA to enable the full implementation of Article IV of the NPT. In this regard my delegation looks forward to an agreement on the Programme and Budget for the IAEA and the Technical Coopearation Fund Targets for the Biennium 2016-2017 that will reflect the commitment of States Parties to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and the full implementation of Article IV.

Extra-budgetary support to the TC Programme has proved to be an important source of funding over the last 5 years. South Africa has made extra-budgetary contributions through its African Renaissance Fund to Improve Veterinary Laboratory Capacities in Sub-Saharan Africa for the Early and Rapid Diagnoses and Control of Various Transboundary Animal Diseases. This project has also benefited from the Peaceful Uses Initiative and will significantly contribute to food security and poverty reduction on the African continent.

Chairperson,

Increasing the diversity of South Africa’s electricity production energy mix is a priority. South Africa is working towards having an energy sector by 2030 that promotes economic growth and development through energy infrastructure investment, advances social equity through expanded access to affordable energy services and underpins environmental sustainability by reducing pollution and mitigating the effects of climate change. Nuclear energy constitutes an important element in the energy mix required to generate power needed for our development.

South Africa acknowledges the increasing role that the IAEA will play in future, especially in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants. In preparation for our nuclear build, South Africa hosted an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission during 2013. South Africa is the first country with an existing Nuclear Power Plant to request such a mission, which has been recognised as a best practice by the IAEA.

South Africa supports all the IAEA’s activities that strengthen global nuclear safety and believes that the purpose of enhancing nuclear safety should be to positively contribute to the development and utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful uses. South Africa also appreciates the work of the Agency in supporting the activities of the Member States to enhance nuclear security.

In conclusion Chairperson,

South Africa believes that the integrity of the NPT rests on a fundamental bargain across the three pillars of the Treaty, each of which must be recognized and upheld. The peaceful use of nuclear energy is an inalienable integral right that should not be compromised. In this regard, the Treaty must be implemented in all its aspects without favour or prejudice and no aspect should be more strictly enforced or require stricter implementation than any other.

Thank you.

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