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Excerpts from the Statement before the IAEA Board of Governors, 5 June 2000

By Deputy Diector General, Dr. Jihui Qian

The Agency's introduction of results-based programming and budgeting has helped focus the attention of all Programmes on the need to manage and report on outputs and outcomes, as well as inputs. The TC Annual Report strives to report not only how we spent Programme funds and where we spent them, but also what we managed to achieve with those funds together with Member States. Allow me to comment on each level of the "results chain" in turn. 

With regard to inputs, the 1999 report underscores a number of positive trends. First, the programme maintained its positive record of recent years by achieving a financial implementation rate of close to 75%. But as this Board has stated many times, and as the External Auditor pointed out last year, the implementation rate is only one indicator of the TC Programme's progress.

What about the quality of inputs? And did we deliver them efficiently? One interesting and positive measure of the type of inputs delivered is the number of individual experts from a given region delivering services to another country in the same region. This is one element of TCDC, a key concept in the TC Strategy. In 1999, 62% of the experts delivering services in Latin America came from that region; in Europe the figure reached 77%. Of the 162 training courses given last year, fully 131 were hosted by developing countries. This and other internal measures enabled us to reduce the average cost of experts from $14,700 per month to $13,200, an indication of increased efficiency.

But inputs are only the beginning. What about results? The TC Annual Report for 1999 covers these in a variety of ways. First, the report looks at the outputs and outcomes of specific projects through our review of major achievements in the different regions. As the External Auditor pointed out, however, this is not enough. The results of individual projects are helpful to illustrate what we have been able to achieve with certain Member States. But they do not indicate how we have performed at the level of the overall Programme. The External Auditor recommended that for this purpose the Secretariat develop a basket of "global indicators". In Part II of this year's TC Annual Report, the Secretariat has included a new section to respond to this recommendation, using the indicators he suggested.

Let us look at several examples at the output level first. In 1999, the TC Programme trained approximately 3,700 people, up 10% from last year. Of this number, more than 2,300 went through training courses, some one thousand were trained through fellowships, and close to 370 through scientific visits. The Agency takes seriously its role in infrastructure building, and we believe that the key to success in this area is human resources development. Expert assignments - the output of which normally consists of a set of recommendations and advice -; is also an important part of technology transfer. In 1999 there were approximately 2,360 assignments of international experts, up 16% over last year. How efficient were we in the delivery of these outputs?  I can only tell you that this significant increase in delivery was done without a commensurate increase in the number of implementation staff.

What about the quality of these outputs? The best measure of quality in this case is the degree to which planned outcomes were achieved. However, as explained to the External Auditor, reporting outcomes at the global level is somewhat more difficult. With approximately 850 active projects in five regions and in many different technical areas, it is not feasible to ascertain and summarize the proportion of planned outcomes achieved across the entire Programme. What is possible, is to look at a couple of "slices" of the Programme to see how our projects measure up. Normally this is done in our Evaluation Reports to the Board. In order to provide an overall picture of global indicators in this Annual Report, however, the Secretariat has included in it summaries of findings from two separate evaluation exercises.

Let me end this part of my introduction by saying that our experience trying to implement results-based management has led us to two conclusions:

First, the key to both reaching and reporting results is to define clearly what it is we expect to achieve at the outset of programming exercises.

Second, if we are interested in maximizing our results, we have to focus our efforts together with recipient countries in those areas of their priority needs where we have evidence that our work will have the greatest impact on the largest number of people.

We have not yet fully realized these two objectives, but are working on them, as they are key to the strengthening of technical co-operation.

As noted in the TC Annual Report, the quality or strength of a technical co-operation programme is largely dependent first upon the quality of work that goes into its design and later on into its implementation by Member States. 1999 was a year of upstream work in preparation for the 2001-2002 Programme cycle. This is a time when proactive partnership between Member States' governments and the Secretariat is key. On the one hand, it is up to Member States to ensure that the Secretariat is aware of what their major priorities are and where their governments are prepared to make a commitment. On the other, it is up to the Secretariat to ensure that Member States are aware of those areas where nuclear techniques can have the most impact, and that the necessary knowledge and infrastructure are present so that nuclear technology can be employed safely.

Let us look at each side of the partnership. The Secretariat uses a number of tools when working with Member States to ascertain their major priorities. These range from discussions with central authorities of individual countries and Country Programme Frameworks, to regional planning meetings involving a number of states. The best approach, however, is to see where governments are investing their own funds, where they have already established national programmes. A TC project that is linked to a national programme - particularly one that is explicitly a part of that programme - has a better chance of being completed on time and within budget and of having long-lasting impact.

Coupled with this analysis is the need for a clear understanding by both sides of those thematic areas that can bring maximum benefit. Again, the Secretariat uses a number of tools ranging from comparative analysis and cost-benefit analysis to Thematic Planning. This year's TC Annual Report gives you an in-depth look at the latter. But the simplest rule of thumb is identifying those areas where nuclear techniques can have the greatest impact for the largest number of people. In the area of nuclear applications, based on evidence to date, obvious examples of this are isotope hydrology and SIT. An area that shows promise in the next few years is the rapid identification of drug-resistant strains of certain common communicable diseases that are increasingly becoming a threat in many parts of the world.

It is worth dwelling on this last topic briefly as the contribution of nuclear techniques in the fight against communicable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis is not well known. It is also a relatively new application for TC programming. But results are already promising at a time when the threat of new epidemics is growing, and institutions such as the WHO have declared major initiatives in the fight against malaria and TB. Early and reliable detection of drug-resistance is a key to controlling these diseases. A current TC project in sub-Saharan Africa shows that radionuclide-based molecular techniques are faster, more accurate and less costly than conventional techniques for this purpose. Recently representatives of seven African countries met in Vienna with Secretariat staff and a representative of the WHO to assess progress achieved so far and to prepare a large regional project to build upon these earlier results. All participants came away convinced that this is one area where transfer of nuclear techniques with modest amounts of Agency funding, linked with major funding from the international donor community through partnership with Ministries of Health in Member States and the WHO, will have a major impact for large populations in both Africa and beyond.

Of course while we are striving to be more focused on areas of greatest impact, there will continue to be many other thematic areas the Agency's TC Programme will be involved in. Moreover, different thematic areas will be of varying importance to countries in different regions. The bottom line is that any thematic area which is a government's highest priority for TC funding, and in which TC can play an appropriate role, would unquestionably be an area of focus for the TC Programme in that country.

The key point is that we need to pay closer attention to those thematic areas which are both the highest priority for Member States and where there is evidence that nuclear techniques can have the greatest impact for the largest number of people. It is by focusing programming on projects at that intersection that we shall obtain maximum benefits and maximum results for Member States.

I would like to say a few words about the growing partnerships among institutions of Member States. Two months ago when I had the privilege of representing the Agency at the South Summit, I heard a great deal of discussion about the need for increased South-South co-operation. It gave me great satisfaction to know that the Agency is not only talking about TCDC, we are actively promoting it and achieving noteworthy results. I believe that the TC Annual Report for 1999 gives evidence of this, both in its update on Regional Resource Centres and its review of individual regional projects.

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