U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Report of the Program and Budget Committee

U.S. Statement as delivered by Ambassador Macmanus

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The Report of the Program and Budget Committee addresses several important matters related to the Agency’s finances and management practices.  First, the United States would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Secretariat on receipt of an unqualified opinion by the External Auditor.  We believe the External Auditor’s report reflects the Agency’s efforts in continuously striving to improve its practices and promote responsible stewardship of the resources that Member States provide.  As we said at the Program and Budget Committee, we encourage the Agency to continue to implement the External Auditor’s recommendations in areas such as the use of consultants, further implementation of the Agency’s Ethics Policy, and exploration of alternatives for funding the Agency’s liability for after-service health insurance.

Secondly, the United States would like to reiterate our commitment to the on-going process of ensuring the Agency has the resources it needs to fulfill its mandate given the challenging financial situation facing many Member States.  As we said at the Program and Budget Committee, it is essential that international organizations make every effort to minimize growth in their budgets and identify areas for cost-savings in their programs and administrative costs, including travel, as well as to more clearly convey what tasks could not be accomplished under a zero nominal growth scenario.  We appreciate the information provided by the Deputy Director General for Management on efficiency efforts by the Secretariat, and we look forward to further reporting on efficiency gains and their impact on budget estimates, even in advance of the full report that has been promised at the end of the biennium.  For future budgets, we urge the Agency to provide an estimate of the cost savings to allow Member States to best understand their anticipated impact.  We would also appreciate, given recent UN General Assembly decisions on staff compensation, a Secretariat explanation of how these General Assembly decisions affect the IAEA’s personnel costs, which constitute the single largest component of the Agency’s expenditure.

Mr. Chairman,

The third important matter that we would like to highlight from the Report of the Program and Budget Committee relates to accountability and transparency.  We appreciate the efforts by the Agency, and in particular the Office of Internal Oversight Services, on internal controls and adherence to regulations and operating procedures that provide a welcome assurance of sound management practices.  We welcome the improvements in reporting on the results of internal audits, which we feel would be further enhanced by publication of internal audit activity reports, and note our ongoing interest in greater clarity and a robust implementation of the Agency’s policy protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.

Finally, Mr. Chairman,

The United States joins its voice in extending appreciation to Ambassador Michael Oyugi of Kenya and Ambassador Marion Paradas of France, whose dedicated and astute guidance have fostered a collegial and constructive spirit in the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities.  I want also to thank the Secretariat and its staff for their thoroughness and patience in providing briefings and answering questions from delegations.   We hope these efforts will lead to a consensus outcome that will improve the Program and Budget process and strengthen the Technical Cooperation (TC) Program.   It is in that spirit that the United States reaffirms its support to the Working Group co-chairs and to their proposed way forward.

We believe the need for efficiency and sound, transparent management applies equally to the TC Program.  To address resource needs, we encourage other Member States to meet their financial responsibilities by paying their target shares to the TC Fund along with any National Participation Costs.  We commend those Member States that provide extra-budgetary resources in addition to their TCF contributions, and particularly encourage those Member States that have benefitted from the TC Program to consider making additional extrabudgetary contributions to the TC Program and to the Peaceful Uses Initiative.

Mr. Chairman, with these comments, the United States takes note of theReport of the Program and Budget Committee.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.