Technical Cooperation Report for 2012
My delegation thanks the Secretariat for its preparation of the 2012 Technical Cooperation (TC) Annual Report. This thorough description of the Technical Cooperation Program is helpful as the Board looks at the important work of the TC Department and considers ways in which its work can be further strengthened.
The TC Program remains key to the IAEA’s essential function of promoting increased access to the many benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, including those related to both power and non-power applications in health, water management, the environment, and food security. The United States appreciates the unique and important contributions that the TC program brings to international development goals. We also appreciate the Agency’s programs to assist newcomer countries in pursuing the safe and secure use of nuclear power. To support this important work, we recently committed over $600,000 through the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) toward the TC Project INT2013, “Supporting Nuclear Power Infrastructure Capacity Building in Member States Introducing and Expanding Nuclear Power,” to fund training courses and workshops in the United States, China, Vietnam, Finland, and the United Arab Emirates for nuclear newcomers.
The United States fully supports the work of the TC Department and welcomes the Agency’s efforts to ensure that appropriate safety standards, safeguards, and security guidelines are fully integrated into all TC projects. Meeting all of these standards helps facilitate a State’s full enjoyment of the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, and we encourage the IAEA to continue to provide the assistance necessary to help states adopt and implement the highest standards of these measures. Moreover, technical assistance provided by the IAEA must also continue to meet the criteria specified in relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Board of Governors.
The United States would like to commend the Director General for focusing on food security last year, which culminated in the Scientific Forum on “Food for the Future: Meeting the Challenges with Nuclear Applications.” We are proud to have contributed to several PUI projects in support the Director General’s 2012 focus, including TC projects on food safety in Latin America, fruit fly prevention and management in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean, and enhancing the productivity of high value crops in Africa. The United States was also very pleased to learn that this year’s Scientific Forum will focus on nuclear applications for a sustainable marine environment, which is clearly linked to last year’s focus, given the potentially serious implications that issues such as ocean acidification and marine pollution may have for marine ecosystems and the communities who depend on marine resources for food and livelihoods. The IAEA brings unique capabilities to responding to challenges in the areas of food security and oceans issues, and we look forward to continuing to support these high priority areas of the Agency’s work.
At the same time, the United States welcomes that the TC report mentions the approval and initial implementation activities for a new off-cycle TC project on the “Integrated and Sustainable Management of Shared Aquifer System and Basins of the Sahel Region.” We commend the IAEA Secretariat for making the case for the urgent need to address a lack of water for drinking and agriculture in the face of persistent drought in the region and for designing this project to respond to this need. We also commend the leadership of Japan and Sweden for contributing to this project through the PUI and for hosting a joint event at last year’s General Conference to raise awareness of the project’s importance. The United States intends to continue supporting the Sahel project and would welcome additional partnerships to help ensure that it can be fully funded and implemented.
The TC Department cannot fulfill its role without the TCF having sufficient resources. The United States has therefore continued its long-standing support to the Technical Cooperation Fund, contributing over $22 million last year. In addition to our TCF commitment, we provided significant extra-budgetary funding for fellowships and training, while also contributing over $3 million toward specific TC projects under the PUI.
We would like to emphasize that increases to the TCF target alone will not result in achievement of our common goal of ensuring that the TCF has sufficient resources. It is equally important for all states to pledge their target shares to the TCF, to meet their TCF obligations, and to pay any required National Participation Costs in order to provide essential stability into the TC strategic planning process. We continue to encourage PUI and other extra-budgetary contributions to provide additional support for the Agency’s peaceful uses programs, but have also repeatedly emphasized that the PUI complements, but in no way replaces the traditional mechanism of support to the TCF.
In addition, the United States believes strongly in the importance of working together to ensure that the TC Program is being implemented efficiently and effectively to maximize the use of resources to the benefit of all Member States, building on the strengths of the Agency and areas where nuclear techniques offer comparative advantages or important complementary benefits to non-nuclear techniques. To that end, the United States would like to applaud the TC Department’s efforts to implement results-based management through intensive training. We also commend the TC-developed mechanism to assess the quality of projects and the incorporation of key lessons learned into planning. In particular, we welcome the movement towards “bigger and better” projects, with the goal of achieving larger, more sustainable benefits and improving efficiency.
All Member States have a responsibility to work towards effective, efficient, and transparent implementation of the TC Program. Central to these efforts are the Country Program Frameworks (CPFs), which define priority development needs and interests that can be supported through TC activities, and the Revised Supplementary Agreements, which govern the provision of TC and are required for participation in the TC Program. We welcome that eighteen CPFs and four RSAs were signed in 2012, and encourage those states that have not yet signed these agreements to do so urgently.
The United States also welcomes the IAEA’s efforts to promote gender equality throughout the TC Program, but we continue to note with concern that the average female participation in TC projects remains below 30%, with several regions falling short of even this low level. We encourage the Secretariat to continue its efforts to ensure gender balance, consulting with participants in regional agreements and groupings as appropriate, and we urge all Member States to work with the Secretariat to increase the number of women participating in the TC Program.
The Secretariat’s report reminds us of the TC Department’s critical work, which we are proud to support. We welcome the Agency’s ongoing efforts to raise the profile of the TC program and to seek additional funding in support of the program, including by seeking to build new partnerships within the UN system and between Member States’ and NGOs. We urge the IAEA to continue to be proactive in these efforts and also to participate actively in the post-2015 development agenda, for which the Agency has unique capabilities and valuable contributions to make. We look forward to working with the IAEA and Member States to be as supportive as possible of these efforts.
With these comments, Mr. Chairman, my delegation takes note of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2012 and requests that it be
transmitted to the General Conference.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.