IAEA BoG – U.S. on IAEA Efforts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

IAEA Assistance to Palau for diagnostics of COVID-19. (S. Erungel/Palau Bureau of Foreign Affairs & Trade)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 3: IAEA Efforts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021

Thank you Madam Chair,

The United States commends the Agency for the assistance rendered during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and for its draft Report by the Director General on Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agency was able to respond quickly with what has become its largest Technical Cooperation project ever because of its expertise in nuclear-derived diagnostic techniques and its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory network. We look forward to receiving information from the surveys conducted on the impact of the IAEA’s support to countries and territories in combatting COVID-19. We appreciate the IAEA’s coordination with other international organizations on COVID-19 and encourage the IAEA to continue this level of coordination even after the pandemic has passed.

The United States welcomes the Director General’s report on the extraordinary measures the Secretariat has taken to fulfill its safeguards obligations in the face of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting restrictions on travel and access. We look forward to continued reporting, including potential impacts on safeguards operations, resource needs, and any lessons learned for further improving the resiliency of the safeguards system. The United States remains ready to assist the Agency and Member States in fulfilling their respective safeguards responsibilities during these challenging times.

On the operation, safety and security of nuclear and radiation facilities and activities, we remain encouraged by the Agency’s agility and adaptability, reacting quickly to maintain and enhance its support to Member States. We commend the Agency for facilitating valuable information exchanges, to include the new COVID-19 Operating Experience Network, and for further developing and revising existing Agency standards and guidance. We encourage all Member States to actively participate in such information exchanges, and to continue their implementation of all relevant nuclear safety standards and nuclear security guidance.

We thank everyone, including the Secretariat, for their hard work during these challenging and unprecedented times.

Thank you, Madam Chair.