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07. September 2015

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE CHAIR OF THE AFRICAN GROUP, AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE IAEA, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 7-11 SEPTEMBER 2015, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 5: STRENGTHENING THE AGENCY’S ACTIVITIES RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS

Madame Chair,

I have the honour to make the following comments on behalf of the African Group. At the outset, the African Group associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by distinguished Ambassador Armin Andereya, Permanent Representative of Chile.

The African Group wishes to thank the Secretariat for preparing the reports contained in documents GOV/2015/39 and GC(57)/RES/12 and GC(58)/RES/13 for consideration under this Agenda item.

Madame Chair,

The African Group welcomes the Agency’s continued focus on nuclear technology for development in priority areas of nuclear power, human health, food and agriculture, water resources management and environment protection.

The continued cooperation and support the Secretariat offers to Member States including through technical cooperation projects to build capacity and share experiences and knowledge in the development of the Sterile Insect Techniques (SIT) for the control or eradication of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes is greatly appreciated. Malaria transmitted by mosquitoes is a major obstacle to poverty reduction in Africa while mosquito-transmitted dengue is also a major international public health concern.

The African Group welcomes the Agency’s continuing support for the African Union’s Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (AU-PATTEC) towards the eradication of tsetse flies and trypanosomosis by creating tsetse free zones in Africa through various eradication techniques such as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) while ensuring that reclaimed land areas are economically exploited for socio-economic development.

Madame Chair,

The African Group encourages the Agency to continue its capacity building initiatives in the 27 tsetse and trypanosomiasis (T&T) affected African countries and operational assistance to field project activities including in collaboration with other partners, as well as provide advice regarding project management, policy and strategy development in support of national and regional AU-PATTEC projects through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme and the Agency’s regular budget programme. The African Group also encourages the Joint IAEA/FAO Division to continue to support AU-PATTEC.

The African Group remains concerned that tsetse and trypanosomosis are major constraints to Africa’s socio-economic development. The Group however, notes with appreciation that the support provided by the Agency to the Ethiopian Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP) over the last decade and half has significantly suppressed tsetse population through the application of SIT over large areas in the Rift Valley, thereby substantially increasing livestock productivity and opening up a wide range of opportunities for sustainable agricultural development which has already benefited thousands of farmers.The African Group welcomes ongoing capacity building initiatives through technical cooperation projects in Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The suppression of tsetse population through the application of SIT over large areas in the Rift Valley, has substantially increased livestock productivity and opened up a wide range of opportunities for sustainable agricultural development which has already benefited thousands of farmers.The African Group welcomes ongoing capacity building initiatives through technical cooperation projects in Angola, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The African Group, continues to request the IAEA to support Member States in baseline data collection, data management and development of full project proposals on tsetse and trypanosomosis (T&T) interventions, and also to strengthen capacity building of Member States on informed decision making regarding the choice of tsetse and trypanosomosis (T&T) strategies and cost effective integration of Sterile Insect Techniques (SIT) in area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) campaigns.

Madame Chair,

The African Group welcomes the continued support the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture (Joint Division) has provided to Member States in using nuclear techniques to improve food security and sustainable agriculture. The African Group welcomes one of the major achievements of the Joint Division during the current biennium in the development of twelve (12) advanced mutant wheat lines that show resistance to Ug99, a black stem rust disease of wheat that causes 80 – 100% yield loss and is currently spreading across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The African Group welcomes the progress made in the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) Project. The Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf provide an important platform for the development of the sterile insect techniques for the suppression and eradication of malaria transmitting mosquitoes; play a vital role towards supporting the African Union’s Pan African tsetse and trypanosomosis eradication campaign, and are a vital tool in the delivery of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme. These are priority areas for African Member States.

The Group welcomes the progress which has been made in terms of the implementing the ReNuAL strategy contained document GOV/INF/2014/11/Add.1, Strategy for the Renovation of the Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf which provides for additional elements needed by the NA laboratories in Seibersdorf upon completion of ReNuAL.  The Group notes with concern that we are still a long way from reaching the goal of €31 million to fund ReNuAL. The Group attaches great importance to the role of the Agency’s Nuclear Applications (NA) laboratories in Seibersdorf in developing and transferring nuclear related and complementary technologies that contribute significantly to food security and safety, medical dosimetry, water management and environmental protection and calls on all Member States to continue supporting the renovation of the Laboratories.

Madame Chair,

In conclusion the African Group would like to thank the Austrian Government for availing the facilities at Mödling which are now operational with the Agency staff working full time at the facility, to implement all relevant programmatic activities including training of fellows. The Group looks forward to the increased assistance which African Member States will receive in controlling transboundary and animal and zoonotic diseases.

With these remarks, Madame Chair, the African Group takes note of GOV/2015/39 and GOV/2015/Corr.1. and recommends the Board to submit them for the consideration of the General Conference.

Thank you Madame Chair.

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