IAEA TACC: U.S. on the Agency’s Proposed Program for 2022-2023

IAEA flag at the Vienna International Center, Vienna, Austria.

IAEA TACC, Agenda Item 2 – Technical Cooperation: The Agency’s Proposed Program for 2022-2023

As delivered by Acting Counselor for Nuclear Affairs Edward Canuel
IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee Meeting
Vienna, Austria, November 22, 2021

Mr. Chair,

The United States welcomes the Director General’s report on the Agency’s proposed Technical Cooperation Program for 2022-2023, as contained in GOV/2021/45. The report summarizes effectively how the Agency provides technical cooperation in support of development around the world. We commend the Department of Technical Cooperation, in coordination with all Agency departments, for its work with Member States to develop the new project proposals for while implementing the ongoing ones. We welcome the Agency’s continued support to ensure the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology are widely spread.

In 2021, the United States contributed over $26 million to the Technical Cooperation Fund, $11 million to the Peaceful Uses Initiative, and considerable in-kind contributions to support training, fellowships, and cost-free experts that further the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We encourage other Member States to meet their TCF targets and National Participation Costs on time, which, as noted in the Director General’s report, is crucial to assure that the required funding to implement the TC Program is available. For those countries in a position to be even more generous, we further encourage contributions to voluntary funding mechanisms, such as the PUI, which enables the IAEA to fund projects that the TCF will not stretch to cover and further allows the Agency to quickly and flexibly respond to urgent Member State needs.

We encourage the IAEA to continue its efforts to strengthen implementation of a results-based management approach to TC projects, consistent with the recommendations of the Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. This approach will help improve efforts to integrate outcomes and impact monitoring in the Agency’s programs to ensure the program addresses the needs of Member States. We note that 112 Member States currently have valid Country Program Frameworks documents and encourage more Member States to develop strong CPFs so that TC projects can be better aligned with identified priorities and, as a result, outcomes monitored accordingly.

We encourage the Agency to ensure that the benefits of technical cooperation reach the countries that need them the most, in particular, the Least Developed Countries. We note the special challenges facing LDCs and the continued importance of giving due consideration to LDC needs when designing TC projects and allocating core funds. We encourage the IAEA to target TC project distributions that ensure a higher percentage of the TCF is allocated to—and received by—LDCs. To adjust the allocations, we encourage the IAEA to make efforts to fund more LDC national proposals with the TCF rather than allowing them to go to Footnote A. We note favorably that every IAEA Member State has a right to benefit from the TC Program. We note also that higher-income States could make more TCF resources available for LDCs by self-financing their participation in the TC Program. We strongly urge higher-income States to take this approach and join the United States and other countries in making a pledge to self-finance participation in the TC Program.

Finally, the United States commends the work of the Department of Safeguards and the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security in reviewing TC projects to ensure they comply with relevant standards and requirements. This work enables the international community to share more widely the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

With these comments, the United States is pleased to join consensus in recommending that the TACC send the proposed TC Program for 2022-2023 to the Board for approval.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.