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Excerpts from Mr. Qian's Statement to the Board of Governors, June 2001

Today I would like to present to you the Technical Co-operation Report for 2000. This gives me an opportunity to reflect on our performance of last year, as well as to look forward to our future work. The Report provides a summary of our activities in 2000, which were directed on the one hand to finalizing the programme for the 2001-2002 biennium, approved last December, and on the other hand to implementing the ongoing TC programme.

 

Strengthening Technical Co-operation

Part I of the Report responds directly to all points of Resolution 18 of last year's General Conference, in which you have requested us to report regularly on the Agency's activities directed towards strengthening technical co-operation. Our major efforts last year can be seen in the finalization of the Programme for this biennium. Following the results-based approach set out in the Technical Co-operation Strategy, TC together with Technical Divisions examined each project proposal carefully, not only in terms of the direct results it was expected to achieve, but also its longer-term impact on the development problems of the country or region. This process was carried out by means of an intensive dialogue with government authorities and project counterparts in Member States.

Achieving good results during a project's lifetime is not enough. Our aim is to strengthen TC by achieving sustainable impact. This includes both the sustainability of project results and the sustainability of the nuclear institutions that we have supported. An example of ways in which we are helping countries to build sustainable nuclear institutions was the workshop on strategic planning for nuclear institutions for the Latin America region held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July last year. The participants focused on establishing strategic planning as an essential management tool in order to help them - by being more market oriented - to become sustainable and self-reliant.

The Director General referred to the increasing numbers of partnerships the Agency is building with other development organizations. This has also served to strengthen the TC Programme, both by making other organizations more aware of what we can offer, and by boosting the impact our small contributions have in recipient countries. It is widely acknowledged that international organizations can best serve their Member States by ensuring that all efforts are targeted to priority needs within countries and co-ordinated by those countries themselves. That is why we need to emphasize adherence to our "central criterion" and in addition to building partnerships with other development organizations we are trying to situate our programme in the context of the UN Development Assistance Frameworks and Poverty Reduction Strategies of countries wherever possible. The IAEA is not a development agency per se, but it can contribute to the overall development efforts of international organizations, and in doing so, optimize the limited financial resources of the Agency and of others.

 

TC Implementation

Turning now to TC implementation, I would like to report on the Agency's performance last year. When describing the successful results of the programme, I am always happy because, I believe, they represent the direction and the positive development trend of the entire programme. They are there, as an examination of Part 2 of the Report will show you. But I am not sure whether these success stories are sufficiently well-known. I think that generally TC staff are kept so busy in planning and carrying out projects that they do not have enough time to publicize the results of their efforts. So I appeal to you, the Member States, to help us in this. In individual conversations with me, many of you report on your satisfaction with the TC programme in your countries, but it is important to make this more widely known, so that we can continue to attract the resources needed to provide you with an even better programme.

Let me mention a few of the highlights of last year's programme. We continue to devote a significant part of the programme to core areas such as nuclear safety, radiation protection and radioactive waste management. I will report to you fully on the achievements of the Model Projects on Radiation Protection at the December Board, but now I would like to refer to some of the other programme areas. One that I am particularly proud of is the use of isotope techniques in the exploration and management of water resources, a critical problem in many Least Developed Countries. As a result of our isotope hydrology projects in Ethiopia over the past years, the government has recognized the utility of these techniques in the framework of a comprehensive approach to water resources management and requested the Agency to participate in the preparation of the multi-year Ethiopian Groundwater Resource Assessment Programme. The projects in Ethiopia are specifically aimed at solving a key development problem in the country, but they are also a good example of building capacity within the country - not only the laboratories that we have helped to create, but the establishment of a research and training facility at Addis Ababa University, for long-term capacity building.

Of constant and increasing importance in our TC programme is the environment. A project using nuclear techniques to monitor and manage the toxic red tides caused by algal bloom in the Philippines is addressing a problem that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning and losses that can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per day to the seafood industry. It has been estimated that on a world-wide basis, marine harmful algal bloom toxins have been the cause of 60,000 cases of poisoning with 1.5% mortality. A receptor binding assay has been developed which uses tritium labeled toxin analogue. It is rapid and sensitive and will eventually replace the conventional method which is cumbersome and slow. Based on the positive results here and in other Asian countries, the Agency is investigating the possibilities of expanding the programme to Africa.

The examples I have given are just a few of our concrete results. In order to keep Member States informed, in June 2000, we released a new website, TC Web, as part of the Agency's WorldAtom site. I would encourage you to look at it, as we will be updating it frequently to give the latest TC news and highlights.

 

TC resources and delivery

Let me now refer to Part 3 of the Report, covering TC resources and delivery. In addition to descriptions of individual projects, Member States request us to report on global indicators of the results of the TC programme. Traditionally we have always given you the implementation rate, which I am pleased to report was 76.8 %, nearly 2 percentage points higher than in 1999. However, what I would really like to point out is that the new obligations in 2000 totaled $66 million, nearly $4 million more than in 1999.

Of course, the dollar amount is only one measure of how much we have done. I think that what is most important to look at is what the Agency actually delivered to you in terms of physical outputs last year. There were real increases in 2000 in terms of the human resource project components supplied - a 6% increase in the number of assignments of experts, training course lecturers, participants in meetings and workshops, as well as an 18.5% increase in the number of fellows and scientific visitors. As requested by the Board, 2000 was the last year of setting up a separate TC Training Courses programme. As of this year, all training courses will be held within the framework of TC projects, which will help to ensure the relevance of the training provided to meet the priority needs of recipient countries. Despite this change, the number of training courses has been maintained constant at 162, in addition to 22 national events that were held. Equipment orders also rose; new obligations for equipment in 2000 were $2.3 million higher than in 1999.

The final area I would like to touch upon is TC resources. I am happy to report that pledges to the Technical Co-operation Fund for 2000 reached nearly $58 million, the second highest amount ever, an increase of more than $4.5 million over 1998. As the Director General said, it is particularly gratifying to note that the total percentages of their TCF target shares pledged by developing and least developed countries showed an increase from 1999 to 2000 for 4 of the 5 regions.

As the Director General mentioned, last year the General Conference introduced the rate of attainment, which measures the payment of voluntary contributions toward the target for a programme year. It was decided to set the minimum rate of attainment at 80% for 2001 and 85% for 2002.

Looking at last year for comparison, the rate of attainment for 2000 has now reached 78.4 per cent, and if all pledges are paid will rise to 79.4% of the target. For 2001, the pledges to the TCF at the end of April amounted to 36.9% of the target and actual payments 17.5%. As you can see, if we are going to achieve the desired rate of attainment of 80% for this year, it will require concerted efforts by all Member States to contribute as much of their share as possible to the TCF.

Payments by recipient countries of the Assessed Programme Costs (APCs) were also higher in 2000, increasing to more than $2.7 million from $2.2 million in 1999. In particular, the total outstanding amount was reduced by nearly $400,000, a welcome change from the previous year.

The increased willingness of Member States to meet their financial obligations to TC is a confirmation of the value they place on this programme. It is also a reflection of the effectiveness of applying the "due account" principle.

 

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude and reiterate:

The preparation and implementation of the TC programme is truly a partnership effort. We rely on you, the Member States, to inform us of your national priorities, focusing on key areas where Agency assistance can make a real difference. Together, we concentrate on a number of requests and design a programme with "fewer but better" projects. We also rely on you to show your commitment to the programme by providing the necessary human resources and financial inputs to achieve project objectives.

Experience has shown us that the work invested "up front" in planning, project selection and design will pay off in terms of the results the project can achieve. We think that we have done a good job for this biennium, but clearly the proof of this can only be seen once the projects have been carried out. We will judge the success of last year's programming efforts on the results of project implementation this year and the next.

Now we are starting the upstream process again - preparing the TC programme for the 2003-2004 biennium - and my commitment to you is that we shall continue to refine the process of planning, selection and design and sharpen the focus of the TC programme. We shall intensify our dialogue with you and work together in order to ensure the maximum benefit for our developing Member States.

Thank you.

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