IAEA BoG – U.S. on the 2020 Technical Cooperation Report

Setting up a patient for radiotherapy at the University Medical Centre “Mother Teresa” in Tirana, supported by the IAEA, Tirana, Albania, 2018. (IAEA/Alejandra Silva)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Activities | Technical Cooperation Report for 2020

U.S. statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, June 8, 2021

Good Morning Madam Chair,

The United States thanks the Secretariat for the 2020 Technical Cooperation Report, and we wish to congratulate the Agency on its efforts to continue to carry the Technical Cooperation (TC) Program despite the incredible challenges of the past year.

The United States remains the leading individual contributor to IAEA TC activities. Since 2010, we have provided voluntary, extra-budgetary contributions totaling more than $470 million to promote peaceful uses of nuclear applications through the Agency, including over $240 million to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) and over $117 million to the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI). We commend all Member States that provided extrabudgetary resources in support of technical cooperation activities in 2020. We encourage other Member States to meet their TCF targets and National Participation Costs to ensure funding for the TC Program. We further encourage contributions to voluntary funding mechanisms such as the PUI that enable the IAEA to fund projects in these areas that the TCF is unable to cover.

We urge all Member States in a financial position to do so to self-finance any participation in the TC Program, enabling the Agency to give greater attention to the needs of low- and middle-income countries. We continue to support the Agency’s efforts to promote human resource and institutional capacity building to strengthen participation in the TC Program by those countries in most need of assistance, such as Least Developed Countries.

This year’s TC Report highlights Agency efforts to promote the use of nuclear science and technology to address large-scale global challenges such as preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases, saving marine ecosystems, and diagnosing and treating cancer. We welcome efforts by the IAEA to work in collaboration with other UN agencies and relevant institutions by providing assistance to Member States in these areas. The benefits of such collaboration are clearly demonstrated in the Agency’s work with Member States and with other international partners through its Program of Action for Cancer Therapy, also known as PACT, to build and improve national cancer control programs. We appreciate IAEA efforts to train experts from low- and middle-income countries in partnership with the Global Access to Cancer Care Foundation. The strong coordination between PACT and other international institutions in this field has resulted in dynamic progress and serves as a model for other IAEA programs. Thus today, the United States is pleased to announce a new allocation of $500,000 in PUI funds to PACT to support TC projects focused on building capacity to diagnose and treat pediatric cancer. The United States is dedicated to improving access to the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology consistent with our commitment to Article IV of the NPT.

Furthermore, the United States shares the objectives of the IAEA’s ZODIAC initiative. The effort to boost peaceful uses capacity in developing countries and to support integrated pandemic response is a timely and important undertaking. We strongly support the Secretariat’s initial focus on Pillar 1 capacity-building activities under ZODIAC. As the proposed ZODIAC project is much larger than any preceding TC or peaceful uses project, it requires careful coordination and planning. As such, we would welcome additional consultations with Member States, coordination with other international organizations, and continued engagement and reporting to Member States on the planning and implementation of this initiative.

Madam Chair,

With these comments, we join consensus in taking note of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2020 and in requesting that it be transmitted to the General Conference.

Thank you.