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08. September 2015

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY 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 Chairperson,

The South African delegation wishes to thank DDG Malavasi and DDG Chudakov for introducing this agenda item. 

My delegation concurs with the statement delivered by Chile on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the statement delivered on behalf of the African Group, and wishes to present the following remarks in its national capacity.

South Africa has always shared and expressed a view held by many that nuclear science, technology and applications are critical enablers for sustainable development. Through the Technical Cooperation Programme the Agency has continued to extend these vital services and support to its Member States especially those from the developing world.

South Africa welcomes the on-going support provided by the Agency, as indicated in the Report, to the African Union’s Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (AU-PATTEC), which seeks to suppress and eradicate tsetse flies and trypanosomosis in Africa. In this regard my delegation notes the activities undertaken by the Agency pursuant to the 58th Session of the General Conference particularly

(a) Strengthening collaboration with the AU-PATTEC and other Partners

(b) Capacity Building through Applied Research and Technical Cooperation and

(c) Support provided for the Planning and Implementation of SIT Activities.

My delegation has noted the Secretariat’s observation in the Report that the scarcity of sterile male tsetse production facilities in Africa continues to be the major bottleneck in the efforts to eradicate this diseases as there are only five institutes holding seed or back-up tsetse fly colonies and only one large active tsetse mass rearing centre located in Addis Ababa. My delegation would like to know from the Agency if there is any more support that the Agency could provide towards addressing this challenge.

Madame Chairperson,

Let me also take this opportunity to highlight one of the flagship projects that SA together with the IAEA, US and Japan continue to implement which is also related to the work of the Agency in Africa.  As the Board may recall in 2012 South Africa allocated an amount of 1.5 million euros of a project to improve the Veterinary Laboratory Capabilities in Sub-Saharan African Countries in order to effectively deal with challenges related to animal health and zoonotic diseases.  This project is also supported by the US and Japan. Initially the project targeted three Vetlabs in Botswana, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, respectively as core centres within a network of 12 Labs. I am pleased to note that this project has now grown into the VETLAB Network in Africa comprising 36 Vetlabs.  Cameroon has been added as the fourth regional hub. The project has also extended to Asia with 12 Vet laboratories.

The Asia VETLAB Network had its first coordination meeting in March 2015 and comprises 12 Asian countries; and the first VETLAB Network Newsletter was launched in June 2015.

Due to the VETLAB Network, the Agency was able to react swiftly to Member State’s requests (June Board) to assist with the present Avian Influenza outbreak in West Africa. To this effect the Agency sent staff from the Seibersdorf Animal Production and Health laboratory with emergency equipment, reagents and supplies, to support the early and rapid diagnosis of Avian Influenza in the affected region. Further to this, the Agency is conducting an Avian Influenza H5N1 refresher training course at Seibersdorf this week attended by 24 participants from 12 African countries.  We understand that two more refresher training courses are being planned for 2016.

Madame Chairperson,

Through the activities that we have highlighted the Agency continues to demonstrate the benefit of nuclear science, technology and applications to its Member States. Evidently, the Seibersdorf Nuclear Application Laboratories are central to these efforts. It is for this reason that my delegation supports the ReNual Project and wishes to call for more financial resources in order to bring this project to a successful closure. During the briefing to the Friends of ReNual, the Secretariat has indicated that with the resources secured thus far, it should be possible to begin with the construction of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory. We support such a proposal.

With regards to the Biosafety Level 3, we thank the Austrian Authorities for allowing the Agency access to its facilities in Modling. The construction of this laboratory remains a priority and an integral of the Renual project. In this regard we thank Austria once more for availing a package worth 2 million euros for land, infrastructure and technical services.

Madame Chairperson,

With these remarks we take note of the DG’s reports contained in GOV/2015/49-GC(59)/5.

I thank you.

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