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States Adopt Resolutions to Strengthen International Safeguards and Global Nuclear Co-operation


States meeting at the IAEA General Conference have adopted resolutions to strengthen international safeguards and global co-operation in areas of nuclear safety and technical assistance. Other adopted resolutions include those related to nuclear inspections in Iraq; safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); safeguards in the Middle East; and illicit trafficking in nuclear materials. The Conference -- which concluded late today in Vienna, Austria -- is being attended by Ministers and high-level governmental delegates from the IAEA's 124 Member States.

and reports, are available on-line through the IAEA's World Atom Internet services at GC).

Strengthening the IAEA's Safeguards System. Convinced that IAEA safeguards can promote greater confidence among States and contribute to greater collective security, the Conference called upon the Agency to continue its implementation of previously approved ("Part 1") measures to strengthen the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of its safeguards system, and it urged the States concerned to facilitate the process. It further welcomed the IAEA Board of Governors' work begun in July 1996 to draft a model protocol to reinforce and improve the Agency's capacity to detect any undeclared nuclear activities.

Strengthening IAEA Technical Co-operation Activities. Citing nuclear energy's existing and potential social, economic, and environmental benefits in many fields, the Conference requested the Agency to strengthen its technical co-operation activities through the development of effective programmes aimed at improving the scientific and technological capabilities of developing countries in peaceful uses of nuclear energy for electricity production and other applications, and at achieving sustainable development.

Nuclear Inspections in Iraq. Reaffirming the need for full implementation by Iraq of Security Council resolutions 687, 707, and 715, the Conference demanded that Iraq hand over to the IAEA's Action Team without further delay any currently undisclosed nuclear-weapon-related equipment, material, and information. It further demanded that Iraq allow the Action Team immediate, unconditional and unrestricted rights of access in accordance with Security Council resolution 707. It stressed that the Agency's Action Team will continue to exercise its right to investigate further any aspects of Iraq's past nuclear weapons capability, in particular as regards any further relevant information that Iraq may still be withholding from the Agency.

Safeguards in the DPRK. The Conference expressed its concern over the DPRK's continuing non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement, and noted with regret the limited progress from IAEA-DPRK discussions of outstanding safeguards issues. It called upon the DPRK to comply fully with the safeguards agreement and to take all steps the Agency may deem necessary to preserve all information relevant to verifying the accuracy and completeness of the DPRK's initial report on the inventory of nuclear material subject to safeguards until the DPRK comes into full compliance with the agreement. The Conference further commended the Agency for its efforts to monitor the freeze of specified facilities in the DPRK as requested by the United Nations Security Council.

Safeguards in the Middle East. The Conference requested the Agency's Director General to continue consultations with the States in the Middle East to facilitate the early application of full-scope IAEA safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region as relevant to the preparation of model agreements, as a necessary step towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the region.

African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ). The Conference commended the African States for their concerted efforts on the establishment of an African NWFZ, and requested the IAEA Director General to continue to assist them in this regard. It urged African States to make every effort to ratify the Treaty so that it can enter into force without delay, and reaffirmed its convction that the establishment of other NWFZs, especially in the Middle East, would enhance the security of Africa and viability of the African NWFZ.

Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear Materials. Noting the programme for preventing and combatting illicit trafficking agreed upon at the Moscow Nuclear Summit in April 1996, the Conference welcomed the IAEA's activities in support of efforts against illicit trafficking, and invited the Agency to continue working in accordance with relevant conclusions of its Board of Governors.

Nuclear, Radiation, and Waste Safety. The Conference adopted several resolutions. One resolution, on the establishment of waste demonstration centres, invites the Agency to assist interested Member States in expanding the use of suitable existing training centres for practical training and demonstration of techniques for the processing and storage of radioactive waste from the application of nuclear techniques in medicine, research, and industry, so that a demonstration and training facility would be available in respective regions through greater co-operation and co-ordination of resources, including those available in developing countries. A second resolution, on the Convention on Nuclear Safety, welcomed the fact that it will enter into force on 24 October 1996, and expressed satisfaction that the Agency will convene a preparatory meeting of Contracting Parties no later than April 1997 on the Convention's implementation. A third resolution, on the safety of radioactive waste management, expressed appreciation for work done so far by the Open-ended Group of Legal and Technical Experts to draft a Convention on the subject, and hoped that progress at the Group's next meeting, to be hosted by South Africa, will allow timely completion of the preparatory work and adoption of a convention in the near future.

Plan for Producing Potable Water Economically. Emphasizing the need to solve water shortages in many countries and noting the World Bank's call to hold a world water conference in 1997, the Conference welcomed the Agency's work in this field to date, and requested the Director General to assign appropriate priority to the nuclear desalination of seawater in preparing the Agency's programme and budget, and invited him to establish an advisory body on nuclear desalination to take appropriate measures to assist Member States in the process of preparatory actions for demonstration projects.

Isotope Hydrology for Water Resources Management. The Conference requested the Agency to identify and upgrade selected isotope hydrology laboratories in Member States so as to provide easy regional access to analytical facilities for field hydrologists. It further requested the Agency to work with other United Nations agencies to encourage the introduction of isotope hydrology and isotope geochemistry in university courses in Member States so as to provide a stronger foundation for future growth in the area of water resources management.

IAEA Budget for 1997 and Target for Technical Co-operation Fund. The budget resolution approved expenditures in 1997 of $222 million (at an exchange rate of 12.7 Austrian schillings to the US dollar). The Conference further approved the target amount of US $68 million for voluntary contributions to the Agency's Technical Co-operation Fund in 1997.

Staffing of the IAEA Secretariat. Two resolutions were adopted. One requests the Agency to intensify its efforts to increase the number of staff members from developing countries, particularly at senior and policy-making levels, as well as from Member States that are not represented or are under-represented in the Secretariat. The second resolution requests the Agency to pursue a target of equal representation of women at all levels of Agency employment, and it called upon the Director General to further integrate the Platform for Action developed at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women into the Agency's relevant policies and programmes.

Representation on the IAEA Board. In a resolution pertaining to Article 6 of the IAEA Statute, the Conference recognized there is a widely held view among Member States on the need to expand the size and composition of the Agency's Board of Governors, and it requested the Board to develop a process of negotiations and to submit its report on a finalized formula for approval by the General Conference at its 41st regular session next year.

Last update: 16 Feb 2018


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