Direction and Support


Administration | Technical Co-operation Servicing and Co-ordination | Specialized Service Activities | Support Services |

Administration

Personnel

The Director General approved an action plan designed to improve the status and representation of women in the Secretariat. A statement was delivered at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, outlining the Agency's commitment to the advancement of women. The percentage of women at the end of 1995 among the Professional staff was 17%. Developing countries provided 32.1% of the staff subject to geographical distribution.

A comprehensive programme was implemented under which approximately 600 staff members received training to improve their job related skills, with particular emphasis on communication and managerial skills. Four Junior Professional Officers from developing countries received on-the-job training in administrative and scientific/technical areas in the Secretariat designed to enable them to apply for regular positions or use the experience gained in their home countries.

Studies were initiated on the costing and effective use of human resources in the Secretariat. Some of the studies provided a basis for determining the human resources requirements for the 1997-1998 budget proposals. Others will focus on the impact of office automation and the use of temporary assistance.

Legal

The Standing Committee on Liability for Nuclear Damage continued its examination of the revision of the Vienna Convention and elaboration of an instrument for supplementary funding. The Committee adopted, with the exception of liability amounts, and reservations to some provisions, a full set of draft texts for an amending protocol to the Vienna Convention. The draft amendments cover important areas where a need for improvement was recognized, such as: the geographical scope of the convention; its application to military installations; the concept of nuclear damage; increase of operator liability and provision for an Installation State tier; and extended time limits for the submission of claims.

On the question of supplementary funding, two basic approaches were under consideration. One provides for a convention that will operate within the legal framework of the Vienna and Paris Conventions and cover both transboundary and domestic nuclear damage. The other approach envisages a free standing convention which is open to adherence irrespective of participation in the Vienna or Paris Conventions and is dedicated to transboundary nuclear damage only. As there was no consensus on either approach, efforts were made to reconcile them into a single draft. Thus, there would be a free standing instrument whose system is supplementary to national legislation that (a) implements the Vienna or Paris Conventions, or (b) would be consistent with the requirements set out in an annex to the draft convention which restate the major liability norms of the two conventions. A single supplementary fund would cover domestic and transboundary damage on the basis of a specified ratio. Contributions by States parties to the fund would be based on a formula which takes into account their nuclear capacity and their rate of assessment to the United Nations regular budget. The position of non-nuclear States was also taken into account. A convergence of views appeard to be possible on the form and many provisions of the new draft. Also, in informal consultations, elements of the structure of the supplementary fund were identified as a basis for further work.

On the basis of the progress made, the Standing Committee at its 13th session concluded that it seemed feasible to prepare texts for the amending protocol to the Vienna Convention, as well as a convention on supplementary funding to be submitted at a diplomatic conference. The goal of the Committee was to complete its preparatory work before the end of 1996.

Technical Co-operation Servicing and Co-ordination

Efforts in the technical co-operation area were focused on consolidating recent experience and initiatives to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme. Five key activities now provide a more strategic orientation to co-operation with Member States:

- Model projects

- Country planning frameworks

- Sectoral planning

- Expanded co-ordination with other multilateral and bilateral organizations

- Streamlining of management practices and procedures.

These initiatives resulted from discussions in the Board of Governors and as an outcome of the Policy Review Seminar in September 1994. A new and unifying goal was for the Agency to establish a 'partnership in development' with Member States. This goal has required a significant emphasis on planning and assessment, which dominated technical co-operation activities during the year.

Over the last two years, the Agency has gained valuable experience in transferring the benefits of nuclear technologies to end users through 'model' projects. The implementation of 11 new projects of this type began in 1995, bringing the total number to 23. One lesson learned is the need to identify clear objectives and develop verifiable indicators of project performance. Such indicators have now been established for each model project and project objectives have been reviewed. The introduction of performance indicators in most technical co-operation projects proposed for the 1997-1998 programme is an important step toward a systematic evaluation methodology, and a clear example of how model projects have already influenced overall project design.

Project management was the focus of attention in 1995 as a new approach for the model projects on upgrading radiation protection and waste safety infrastructure was established. A review of the status of these two model projects indicated that a more effective system of accountability and responsibility would be necessary to help Member States achieve the minimum requirements of the Agency's Basic Safety Standards by the end of the century. Two new management elements were singled out as being essential to making the new system function effectively: a clearly identifiable focal point for the entire effort and a firm commitment to time limited objectives.

The year provided an opportunity to institute a major change in programming that will ensure that the Agency's technical co-operation activities are linked directly to a countrys sectoral or national development objectives. Twenty-seven Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) were initiated. The strategic importance of the CPF is that it forms an agreement between the Agency and governments to concentrate technical co-operation activities on a few priority areas that can produce significant national impacts. The CPF mechanism focuses on identifying key activities or the opportunities for model projects that would form the centrepiece for national efforts to utilize nuclear technologies.

Efforts were increased to systematically plan technical activities. The concept of thematic or sectoral planning is being elaborated in radioimmunoassay activities, which have achieved significant results in most of the countries evaluated in 1995 owing to well defined objectives, sound design and effective integration of components, such as training, experts and equipment. Work also began on identifying capabilities in Member States for certain nuclear techniques, such as nuclear instrumentation. This effort is tied to both the CPF process and resource mobilization efforts. The feasibility of a specific technique, along with the capacity of a particular country to use the technology, are important benchmarks for planning technical co-operation activities with Member States.

An important development during the year was the effort to develop regional approaches that apply model project criteria and objectives. This task was aided by the results of an external report on possible future directions for regional programming which was released in December 1995. Several proposals emphasizing 'bottom up' solutions and technical co-operation among developing countries for animal disease and insect and pest control, animal production and isotope hydrology are being reviewed and assessed against model project criteria for the 1997-1998 technical co-operation programme. One project in rinderpest eradication would consolidate the various national and regional initiatives under a single global project to improve co-ordination and effectiveness.

In connection with the issue of predictable and assured financing for technical co-operation activities, and as a result of concern over the lack of growth of resources available to finance the increasing demand for these activities, the Board of Governors encouraged the Agency to undertake a more structured approach to the mobilization of additional resources. It was suggested, in particular, that non-traditional sources, such as the bilateral development organizations and multilateral financial institutions, could be approached. Experience in 1995 with model projects showed that supplemental financing can be obtained if projects are of sufficiently high quality, and if beneficiary countries are also prepared to take action to gain funding. With these lessons in mind, closer links were promoted between the programme and project objectives of the Agency and those of bilateral development organizations.

Increased emphasis on project completion resulted in over 300 closures, bringing the total for the last two years to almost 600 projects - a significant reduction in routine work for project and technical officers. Communications and the flow of information were also enhanced by access to the Internet service.

Operationally, new records were established in 1995 for financial implementation and performance. For the second year, the amount of unobligated resources carried forward between years was significantly reduced - by some 35% - as a result of a high implementation rate of 75%. The policy of maintaining a higher level of programme commitments than of resources ('over- programming') was largely responsible for the overall increase in implementation, but the higher rate for model projects (84.3%) reflects the greater 'implementability' of projects that are more realistically planned and budgeted, as well as the impact of strengthened project management and procedural streamlining. In every area of project implementation, delivery was higher than in previous years.

Specialized Service Activities

Public Information

Public information efforts in 1995 were marked by an initiative on the role of Agency safeguards in the context of the NPT Review and Extension Conference. A new film entitled International Safeguards was produced (in addition to printed material) and shown at the Conference in New York. Other film related projects included a lead role in producing a film for visitors to the Vienna International Centre, the shooting of sequences for a new Agency corporate video and market research on the feasibility of providing short video features on Agency related topics to television outlets.

The Agency embarked on a major new initiative to meet electronic information needs through the Internet, where a range of user friendly services were developed and offered on the Agency's World Atom Web site.

The series of Public Information Seminars continued, with events in Brazil, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and Viet Nam.

International Nuclear Information System

Armenia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Tunisia and Uzbekistan joined the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) during 1995. The number of participating Member States thereby rose to 94 (together with 17 international organizations). A total of 79 021 records of published literature were added to the database and announced in the abstracting journal Atomindex, bringing the total number of records stored to 1 856 206. A new version of the FIBRE software was put into use for the preparation of input for the database.

The INIS Clearinghouse microfilmed the full text of 4455 non-conventional literature documents (such as reports, conference proceedings, dissertations and laws) containing 15 652 cited references (367 575 pages). By the end of 1995, the collection of non-conventional literature on microfiche was approximately 305 000 documents.

The Clearinghouse also completed a pilot imaging project to demonstrate the feasibility of electronic storage of non-conventional literature on CD-ROM. During the study, the Clearinghouse produced six CD-ROMs containing 51 416 pages of non-conventional literature and related bibliographic data, and retrieval software.

The 23rd Consultative Meeting of INIS Liaison Officers was held in Vienna in May. The officers made recommendations on: partnerships with primary and secondary publishers designed to obtain bibliographic records more cost effectively; the phasing out of the printed Atomindex; delivery of the full text of non-conventional literature in electronic form; improvements in the timeliness of the database; and the production of the INIS database on CD-ROM.

In May, INIS celebrated its 25th anniversary, recalling the key role that it has played in providing access to nuclear information to support activities worldwide.

Support Services

Library

Work at the Vienna International Centre Library on the second phase of installation of VICLION, the integrated library automation system, was completed with the installation and startup of the acquisitions and serials control modules. This concluded the process, begun three years ago, of moving the Library's files from the mainframe system to a distributed, networked system.

Data Processing

In 1995, central computer services completed a four year effort to implement a standard technology architecture to support the Agency's decentralized computer environment. Over 1400 PCs have been converted since 1991 to a standard Agency-wide hardware and software configuration. The speed capability of most of the Agency's local area networks (LANs) was upgraded from 4 to 16 Mbits per second and a new, advanced technology operating system, Windows NT, was installed on most of the LAN server computers to provide improved services and more powerful capabilities.

The Agency's initial Internet information service technology was expanded and a more secure computing environment for the Agency's services was provided. Standards and guidelines for World Wide Web developers were released and a sample database for official records of the Board of Governors was created.

A six month pilot project was carried out with the purpose of evaluating the technical, economic and organizational aspects of enhanced electronic communication of information and documentation between the Agency and Member States.

CD-ROM production systems and services were initiated in support of the Advanced Incident Reporting System (AIRS) and the activities of the United Nations Security Council 687 Action Team for Iraq.

Publishing and Printing

Over 170 books, reports, journal issues or booklets were published in English during 1995. In addition, there were 11 publications in French, 8 in Russian and 6 in Spanish. Of particular note were:

- International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources

- Nuclear Techniques in Soil-Plant Studies for Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Preservation

- Energy from Inertial Fusion

- The IAEA Yearbook 1995

During the year, facilities for direct electronic transfer of material to digital printing were established and put into operation.


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