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08. März 2016

SOUTH AFRICAN STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE IAEA, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 7-11 MARCH 2016, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 4: "STRENGTHENING REGIONAL CAPACITY IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FOR INTEGRATED VECTOR MANAGEMENT APPROACHES WITH A STERILE INSECT TECHNIQUE COMPONENT, TO CONTROL AEDES MOSQUITOES AS VECTORS OF HUMAN PATHOGENS, PARTICULARLY ZIKA VIRUS".

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G-77 and China by H.E. Ambassador Simon Madjumo Maruta, and on behalf of the African Group by H.E. Mohammed Hussein Hassan Zaroug. I would like to make the following remarks in my national capacity.

Chairperson,

1.    My delegation commends the IAEA’s support to international efforts to address the outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.  South Africa supports the proposed project as contained in document GOV/2016/12, since this will enable the Agency to further strengthen national and regional capacities in the detection of the Zika virus and the control of the mosquito population using Integrated Vector Management approaches with a SIT component.

2.    In this regard the South African delegation acknowledges the importance of the nuclear application laboratories in Seibersdorf. The Animal Health and Production Section, with their biotechnology laboratory in Seibersdorf, is supporting the VETLAB Network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Africa and Asia with proven technologies, expertise, training and capacity building for the implementation of animal disease diagnostic capacities in Member States.

3.    This capacity recently showed its importance when zoonotic diseases like Avian influenza, Rift Valley Fever or Ebola demanded rapid disease diagnostic actions, as is the case currently with the Zika disease. The nuclear derived RT-PCR technologies developed and implemented through the VETLAB Network is the only sensitive and specific technology available for the confirmatory detection of Zika infections in humans.

4.    The VETLAB Network project currently consists of four core laboratories in Botswana, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire and has now grown into a VETLAB Network of 32 veterinary laboratories in Africa and 7 in Asia with a possible extension to other parts of the world. This VETLAB Network is funded through the South African African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund and the USA and Japan through the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiative. This project has provided a platform for the Agency’s efforts to strengthen regional capacity in the prevention, control and eradication of transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases.

Chairperson,

5.    My delegation has noted an increase in off-cycle projects to address urgent and delicate needs of Member States such as the outbreak of Ebola and the Zika virus disease. We also note that the TC Programme Reserve Fund is not adequately resourced and sustainable to effectively deal with such emergencies.

6.    In this regard, my delegation is of the opinion that the issue of predictable and sustainable financing and an adequate human resource capacity should remain a central concern for the Agency to address these funding gaps and human resource capacity challenges to be able to rapidly and effectively deliver in unforeseen emergency situations.

7.    In this context, the increasing outbreak of diseases such as Avian influenza, Ebola, and Zika virus disease requires the Agency to provide more services to Member States through the Technical Cooperation Programme. The Agency can only deliver these essential services to Member States if the resources of the TC Programme are Sufficient, Assured and Predictable.

8.    To enhance the TC activities, my delegation encourages Member States to pay in full and on time, their TCF target shares and obligatory National Participation Costs.

9.    If Member States do not honour their commitments to the TCF, life-saving nuclear technology will not be readily available for application in Member States, especially developing countries.

Chairperson,

With these remarks, my delegation endorses the recommendations contained in document GOV/2016/12.

I thank you.

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