A comprehensive review of the management and operation of official travel resulted in a number of changes to improve operating efficiency and reduce costs. First, the rules governing travel were revised, with the aim of introducing greater flexibility to permit the Agency to take advantage of the increasingly competitive travel market. Second, the review concluded that changes in the travel market required a change in the approach to the procurement and administration of business travel services. This led to a formal competitive tender process for a travel management company capable of providing global services and supporting policy implementation.
A programme was implemented under which approximately 900 staff members (including those at IAEA-MEL) received training to improve their management or job related skills or to update their knowledge of Agency policies and procedures. A Learning Resource Centre was established to provide Agency staff members and their spouses with self-directed programmes on: management and job skill development; career planning and personal development; and issues related to international mobility. Three Junior Professional Officers received on-the-job training in scientific/technical areas to enable them to apply for regular positions or use the experience gained in their home countries.
In accordance with the resolutions adopted by the General Conference, efforts were intensified to recruit more women, especially for scientific/technical positions, and more staff from developing, under-represented and non-represented countries. In this connection, the Director General created a 'Focal Point for Gender Concerns' with responsibility for promoting the establishment of a work environment in the Secretariat that supports the equal participation of men and women. It will also monitor implementation of the 'Platform for Action' approved at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. The percentage of women at the end of 1996 among the Professional staff was 17.3%. Developing countries provided 32.9% of the staff subject to geographical distribution.
A new Work Planning and Performance Review System was designed for implementation in 1997. Its purpose is to enhance accountability and organizational efficiency through planning, communication, evaluation and staff development.
The Standing Committee on Liability for Nuclear Damage met three times during which it resolved most of the outstanding issues regarding both the draft protocol to amend the Vienna Convention and the draft supplementary funding Convention. In particular, experts agreed on the: amounts of liability; definition of damage and related provisions; structure of supplementary funding; and phasing-in mechanisms which would allow a State to join the revised Vienna Convention and Supplementary Funding Convention with interim, lower amounts of liability. At its 16th session in October, the Standing Committee prepared the full texts of both draft instruments. Only a few provisions remained outstanding in the draft Supplementary Funding Convention. It was concluded that, as a package, each text reflected what was possible to achieve in the Committee without further guidance.
Two major activities dominated the Agency's technical co-operation programme during 1996: preparations for the new 1997-1998 programme and consolidation of recent initiatives.
In order to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency's technical co-operation programme, greater attention was paid to pre-project preparation. The Country Programme Framework (CPF) process has become the main mechanism for systematic pre-programme work at the country level, and the principal means for extending the model project approach to all Member States. During 1996, the Agency improved its internal guidelines for CPF in the light of the findings of a special evaluation carried out earlier in the year. Efforts to improve guidance and training in project planning and formulation continued, along with related actions to automate and streamline project implementation in order to facilitate staff redeployment in support of pre-project activities.
The other major activity was preparation of the 1997- 1998 technical co-operation programme, which was presented to the Technical Assistance and Co-operation Committee (TACC) in November and approved by the Board of Governors in December. The expanding base of CPFs, combined with extensive pre-project missions where CPFs did not exist, have led to an improvement in the quality of project designs. Thirty-six new model projects were approved, representing 18% of total core activities. By December, 58 model projects had been approved and 43% of the recipient Member States are now participating (or have participated) in the execution of a national model project.
The United Nations System-wide Special Initiative for Africa (UNSIA) seeks to identify and develop practical proposals to maximize the support provided to African development, and to raise the priority given to Africa in the international agenda. Agency participation in the high level interagency meeting on UNSIA in September, included reports on the CPF process and the experience gained in applying nuclear and isotope applications that produce quantifiable social and economic benefits. Subjects discussed included the Agency's support of activities to eradicate rinderpest in Africa and the tsetse fly in Ethiopia. The Agency will continue to monitor the development of UNSIA, with the objective of linking technical co-operation projects to the implementation of the initiative for the benefit of African Member States.
Efforts continued during the year to quantify technical co-operation project results and highlight their impacts on end users. Promotional material was developed which seeks to raise awareness of the Agency's technical co-operation activities in developing countries. Eleven fact sheets on several model projects are now available and are being used in briefings to demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of the technical co-operation programme.
The Agency's efforts to streamline and simplify operations and improve management were aided by the introduction of newer information systems and technology. Two systems began operating - the Field Procurement Management System in August and the Training Course System in December. For the 1997-1998 programme, new planning software for project formulation was installed for processing project requests. This software facilitated the preparation of work plans for larger projects. Such plans ensure that the details of project execution have been worked out in advance. Development of the Project Information System (PIMS) is proceeding in several phases. The first module will maintain work plans and establish linkages to the implementation systems. The module was developed in 1996 and testing began at the end of the year.
The level of resources and their implementation achieved in 1995 was sustained in 1996. On the resource side, the total of $63.3 million compares with the almost identical sum of $63.5 million for 1995. A sum of $50.5 million was pledged to the Technical Co-operation Fund (TCF), which was 78.3% of the target - a modest increase over 1995 (77.5%). However, some pledges and payments from major donors came very late, which complicated the Secretariat's ability to plan with certainty. An additional concern was the number of Member States not pledging at all. This number increased to a total of 68 countries. On the implementation side, the overall rate was 75.4%, the second highest level ever attained. Although there was significant overprogramming during the year, at year end the TCF was underprogrammed by a very small amount ($533 000). The unobligated balance for the Fund rose to $15.5 million by the end of 1996 ($13.8 million at the end of 1995), though this included $3.8 million pledged but not yet paid. The useable part of the unobligated balance increased to $6.9 million, or about seven weeks worth of obligations.
In addition to regular media relations and publications activities, there were three events that required a significant public information response. The first was the European Union-IAEA-WHO conference in April, marking the tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, which reviewed the current state of knowledge about the disaster and its consequences. The conference attracted over 200 journalists, including all of the major television networks in Vienna. The second was the ongoing efforts to strengthen the Agency's safeguards activities. In this context, Agency inspection activities in Iraq and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were subjects featuring in information work both with the media and the public at large. The third event was the launching of the scientific study on the radiological situation at the Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls in French Polynesia. A short documentary film was prepared and distributed to television stations on the work being undertaken. The range of information available on the Agency's publicly accessible World Wide Web site, 'WorldAtom', was significantly expanded during the year with the addition of Information Circulars (INFCIRCs), the Agency's Publications Catalogue, new booklets on radiation safety, Agency activities in the field of nutrition, and status reports on international conventions and treaties.
International Nuclear Information System
Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Singapore, Uganda and Yemen joined the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) in 1996. The number of participating Member States is therefore 99, together with 17 international organizations. A total of 80 516 records of published literature were added to the INIS database and announced in the abstracting journal INIS Atomindex, bringing the total number of records available in the database to 1 936 722. Work on the Microsoft Windows version of the FIBRE software for input preparation was finalized and distributed to 74 INIS members. FIBRE was used by 62 members to prepare input to the database. In addition, the database was sent on tape or cartridge to 15 INIS members and was used on-line by external users for a total connection time of about 200 hours.
The INIS Clearinghouse microfilmed the full texts of 4792 documents of non-conventional literature that contained 17 900 cited references (393 762 pages). To this were added 5886 other documents of non-conventional literature received in microfiche form from a Member State. Twenty-five Member States had standing orders for the full microfiche collection. The Clearinghouse produced and disseminated non-conventional literature on 162 094 microfiche containing 9.7 million images. By the end of 1996, the total collection of non-conventional literature on microfiche was almost 315 700 documents (i.e. 453 000 microfiche).
A study to develop an operational system for the electronic imaging and dissemination of the full texts of non-conventional literature on CD-ROM was completed. As a result of this study, and on the basis of a contract with a commercial firm, the INIS Clearinghouse will be in a position to produce such literature on CD-ROM in 1997.
Under a co-operative arrangement between the Agency and the OECD/NEA Data Bank, 497 computer codes were distributed to Agency Member States not members of the OECD. This figure represents a major increase over the corresponding figure for 1995, when 216 codes were distributed.
The Vienna International Centre (VIC) Library undertook a user needs survey which identified the needs and priorities of the staff of all the VIC organizations and the affiliated Permanent Missions.
The Library answered 11 477 user queries, performed 1002 external database searches, acquired 3765 books and new journal titles, loaned 16 785 items, routed 19 754 journal issues to 1204 users and provided 4851 photocopies of requested materials. Forty audiovisual items were lent to Member States.
The Agency's Internet services were enhanced, with most areas of the Agency providing information through the Internet to Member States. The security of these services was improved by the addition of a 'firewall' to prevent unauthorized access to the network. At the same time, network management was enhanced to ensure reliable services, since most staff now depend on access to the electronic data network to carry out their duties.
The first official release of the Advanced Incident Reporting System, Version 1.0, was distributed on CD-ROM to over 30 Member States. The system provides the Agency and its Member States with a powerful information retrieval tool and should lead to improvements in the evaluation of safety significant events at nuclear power plants.
Publishing and Printing
More than 170 books, reports, journal issues and booklets were published in English during 1996. In addition, there were two publications in Chinese, eight in French, seven in Russian and seven in Spanish. Of particular note were:
The issue of trafficking in nuclear material was among those specifically addressed at a Nuclear Safety and Security Summit held in Moscow in April. In August, the Agency convened a second interagency meeting on the illicit cross-border movement of nuclear materials and other radioactive sources. Attending were representatives from the Agency and other international organizations - the European Commission, EURATOM, EUROPOL, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Association, the International Road Transport Union, INTERPOL, the United Nations, the Universal Postal Union, and the World Customs Organization. The Agency's initiative was endorsed as a useful co-operative mechanism for participating agencies. The Agency's programme of technical guidance and training and operation of the illicit trafficking database was also endorsed. In October, the Agency circulated a first summary of trafficking incidents, containing 127 confirmed incidents, to all Member States and organizations in the interagency group.
A list of official State points of contact for matters involving illicit trafficking was established. By the end of 1996, 47 Member States had submitted the names of persons to act in these matters. Efforts are continuing to expand this listing.
The Agency increased its assistance to States in enhancing their national infrastructures for overseeing the physical protection of nuclear materials at facilities and during transport. This includes training, technical support, information exchange, and the provision of guidance and advice. Of particular note was the establishment of the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS). A new international review service which will be conducted on request, IPPAS focuses on three basic aspects of the physical protection of nuclear facilities and material:
Requests for an IPPAS mission were received from three countries in 1996; missions were carried out to Bulgaria and Slovenia.