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09. Juni 2021

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 9 JUNE 2021, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 6 (C): SAFEGUARDS IMPLEMENTATION REPORT (SIR) FOR 2020

Madame Chairperson

First of all we thank the Director General and the Secretariat, specifically the Department of Safeguards, for the substantive report before us.  We appreciated the small adjustments made to the format of the report and welcome the fact that these amendments have not affected the quality or quantity of the information presented to Member States on this important aspect of the Agency’s work.

We are also pleased to note that, despite the many challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAEA has been able to execute its verification mandate on par with previous years and that the Agency was in a position to draw safeguards conclusions.

Furthermore, the the Agency was in a position to draw broader conclusions for 3 Member States for the first time including Nigeria, and that the it was once again in a position to do so for Libya. Both these developments illustrate our Continent’s strong commitment to non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, whilst fully accessing nuclear power, applications, science and technology for our sociology-economic development.

Madam Chair,

South Africa reiterates its unwavering support for the IAEA’s efforts in strengthening the international safeguards system, which is central to international peace and security efforts. Therefore, we welcome that the Additional Protocol adoption rate continues to expand. We call on Member States who have not yet done so, to adopt the Additional Protocol, regardless of the type of safeguards agreement in place. Even though the Additional Protocol is a voluntary measure, we believe that its universal adoption will strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.

South Africa shares the concern of the Director General of the slow pace of adoption of the revised Small Quantity Protocols (SQP) and we call on the remaining Member States to urgently update their agreements as approved by the Board of Governors almost two decades ago. This is especially important for Sates that are planning to install nuclear power plants or research reactors.

With regard to State Level Approaches (SLA), we welcome developments in this regard and we have taken note that SLA are now implemented in 133 Member States. We also welcome the Agency’s continuous refinement of the SLA and look forward to receiving an update and technical briefing on lessons learned soon, as requested by Member States through the General Conference resolutions.

Madame Chair

South Africa’s leadership and commitment in the field of non-proliferation is further illustrated by its participation, as one of the 35 Member States, in the IAEA’s Voluntary Reporting Scheme on both nuclear material and equipment, showing our strong commitment to the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear power, science and technology.

My delegation remains concerned that there are still difficulties with regard to the effectiveness of systems of accounting and control of nuclear material and we have noted that one of the reasons the report mentions is continues to be tha State and Regional Authorities responsible for safeguards implementation do not always have the capacity or authority to effectively and efficiently give account of nuclear material. The report reiterates that this has a major impact on the effectiveness of safeguards implementation – a situation exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. This situation is also reflected in the late and incomplete provision of safeguards-related reports and declarations by some States.

This is why, we are one of the 20 participant states in the IAEA’s Member States Support Programmes (MSSP), through which the safeguards related matters, most notably, reporting, accounting and control systems of 3rd party states are strengthened, through amongst others, the provision of equipment, training and exercise programmes. We noted from the report that despite the pandemic 56 new tasks in this programme were initiated in 2020.

In conclusion Madam Chair, while we fully support the use of “all safeguards relevant information, especially in cases where the Additional Protocol is in force, we reiterate our call made last year for Member States to be provided with information on the method of analysis and verification of such information, especially that drawn from open resources and 3rd parties.

Take note of the report and agree made statement be made public

I thank you

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