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IAEA Director General's Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Madam Chairperson,

The IAEA Annual Report for 2018 is before the Board.

It is the Board’s report to the General Conference, summarising the Agency’s work to promote peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, enhance nuclear safety and security, and implement safeguards.

Technical Cooperation

Madam Chairperson,

Our efforts to build partnerships and to increase the visibility of our technical cooperation programme continued throughout 2018.

We highlighted the contributions of nuclear science and technology to the Sustainable Development Goals at two important events – the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and the International Conference on Public–Private Partnerships for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Last month, I attended a meeting in Varadero, Cuba, marking the 35th anniversary of ARCAL, the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Working closely with the Agency, ARCAL has become an excellent example of south-south cooperation, with more advanced users of nuclear technology sharing their expertise with their neighbours.

As reported in the Technical Cooperation Report for 2018, the main focus of TC spending last year was on health and nutrition, nuclear safety and security, and food and agriculture.

Cancer remains a key focus of our work.

Significant progress has been made in the implementation of the auditors’ recommendations concerning the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy, PACT. The division of PACT has been restructured in a way that better reflects its functional role. The methodology for ImPACT review missions was reviewed by a group of international experts and their recommendations are now being followed. Agency-wide internal coordination has been enhanced through the adoption of the unified approach to cancer control.

The Agency is helping many countries to establish or strengthen radiotherapy and nuclear medicine services and train specialists, including radiation oncologists and medical physicists. Cancer will be the subject of the 2019 IAEA Scientific Forum in September.

Good progress was made in the implementation of cancer projects in 2018. In Uganda, radiotherapy treatment resumed with the commissioning of a new radiotherapy machine, while Cambodia inaugurated its first ever National Cancer Centre, designed to meet up to 60% of the country’s needs.  

Nine nuclear medicine specialists from Serbia received training under a national TC project to widen the clinical applications of PET/CT scans in the diagnosis of chronic diseases. This has been especially beneficial for patients with thyroid diseases.

I remind all Member States of the importance of maintaining TC funding at a level that ensures the Agency can meet the growing demand for our services. I ask all countries to contribute on time, and in full, to the TCF. I thank Ambassador Sabbatini for leading the discussions on the due account mechanism to a successful conclusion. I expect that application of the mechanism will help to further improve the rate of attainment of the TCF target.

Nuclear Applications

Madam Chairperson,

The use of linear accelerators in cancer management is growing rapidly throughout the world. The inauguration of the new Linear Accelerator Facility at our Dosimetry Laboratory in Seibersdorf last Thursday has equipped the Agency to provide expanded dosimetry calibration and audit services and training to Member States.   

As far as ReNuAL more generally is concerned, I am grateful that Member States made available the 3.75 million Euros that we requested to equip and bring the two new laboratory facilities into full operation. Work is on track for all new facilities to come into operation over the next 10 months. This will conclude the most important phase of the ReNuAL initiative.

After that, the capacity of laboratories that will remain in existing buildings will be enhanced to better meet the needs of Member States. To provide the core infrastructure to complete this element, we will need 2.6 million Euros in extrabudgetary resources. I know I can count on your continuing support.

The 15th Quadrennial International Symposium on Isotope Hydrology last month brought together more than 220 international experts in water and hydrological sciences from over 70 Member States.

Mozambique was hit by two major tropical cyclones this year, which flooded significant areas of farm land. In addition to the tragic human death toll, more than 300,000 farm animals were killed and another six million were put at risk. VETLAB, the Veterinary Laboratory Network established by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, is helping Mozambique to prepare for the possible outbreak of animal or zoonotic diseases.

A new five-year research project was launched in May on using nuclear-derived techniques to test the accuracy of food labelling. It will help countries to combat fraud in high-value products, such as premium honey and coffee, protect the livelihoods of producers, and promote food safety and security.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Madam Chairperson,

The open-ended working group which will prepare the Ministerial Declaration for the 2020 International Conference on Nuclear Security has begun its work. I thank the Ambassadors of Panama and Romania for leading the work on this important document. I hope that the Ministerial Conference will consolidate the achievements of the Agency in nuclear security in the past decade and help to shape our approach in the coming years.

Preparations continue for the 2021 Conference of the Parties to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. A Note has been issued on arrangements for the co-Chairing of all phases of the review process. I thank Ambassador Okeke of Nigeria for facilitating discussions among the Parties. I encourage all Parties to participate in the preparations for the Conference and I invite all States that have not yet done so to adhere to this important legal instrument.

In 2021, we plan to conduct the next full-scale ConvEx-3 exercise to test international emergency response arrangements for a severe nuclear emergency. I thank the United Arab Emirates for volunteering to host this valuable exercise.

Nuclear Energy

Madam Chairperson,

I will now turn briefly to nuclear energy.

The 451 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today supply over 10% of the world’s total electricity and a third of all low-carbon power. There are 54 nuclear power reactors under construction in 18 countries, four of which are newcomers.

Next month, we will launch a new project on the status of current and planned decommissioning projects throughout the world. The aim is to identify possible cooperation opportunities among Member States.

Preparations are well advanced for our International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power in October. The Conference will highlight the many ways in which nuclear technology can offer proven solutions to some of today’s most pressing climate-related challenges. The use of nuclear power helps to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while other nuclear technologies help countries to monitor the impact of emissions on oceans and soils and adapt to changing weather patterns.

Assurance of Supply

Madam Chairperson,

Concerning the IAEA LEU Bank in Kazakhstan, I have reported to the Board on the important progress made since last year, including the conclusion of the two LEU supply contracts. The Agency continues to implement these contracts.

We expect to have LEU delivered to the IAEA LEU Storage Facility before the end of the year, when the IAEA LEU Bank will become operational.

Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Madam Chairperson,

My report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) covers relevant activities of the Agency in that country in the last few months.

On May 8th, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that it had “issued an order to stop some of Iran’s measures under the JCPOA from today”.

I am worried about increasing tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue. As I have constantly emphasised, the nuclear-related commitments entered into by Iran under the JCPOA represent a significant gain for nuclear verification. I therefore hope that ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue. It is essential that Iran fully implements its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue.

Nuclear Verification

Safeguards Implementation Report

The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2018 details our work implementing safeguards for 182 States last year.

The number of facilities, and the quantities of nuclear material, under IAEA safeguards continued to grow, as did the effort required by the Agency to fulfil its legal obligations. 

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

Madam Chairperson,

The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 183, while 134 States have brought additional protocols into force.

I ask States Parties to the NPT without comprehensive safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay. I hope that States which have not yet concluded additional protocols will do so as soon as possible. I also call on States with small quantities protocols based on the old standard text to amend or rescind them.

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Madam Chairperson,

The Agency continues to monitor the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, using open source information and satellite imagery. We remain ready to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned.

I again call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues, including those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

 Madam Chairperson,

As far as implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, there have been no new developments since my last report to the Board. I renew my call to Syria to cooperate fully with us in connection with all unresolved issues.

Management Issues

Madam Chairperson,

Following intensive consultations among Member States on the Agency’s Draft Programme and Budget 2020-21, the Co-chairs of the Working Group on the Regular Budget and TCF targets have proposed a 2.2% overall increase in the budget for 2020, as well as new TCF targets. I strongly hope that there will be consensus on their proposal at this Board, and that the Board will recommend the draft Programme and Budget to the General Conference.

Modest real growth in our regular budget is necessary, in particular to ensure continued adequate financing of safeguards implementation. The basic features of my original proposal, ensuring balanced growth among Major Programmes, have been maintained. The regularization of positions in nuclear security and the establishment of new positions in technical cooperation will consolidate effective programme delivery.

I am very grateful to the co-Chairs of the Working Group,  Ambassador Andersen and Ambassador Anderson Machado, for their energy and dedication in fostering constructive discussions.

I am pleased that the Programme and Budget Committee was able to recommend to the Board the transmittal of the Agency’s financial statements to the General Conference. We have again received an unqualified opinion on our financial statements from the External Auditor.

Madam Chairperson,

We greatly value the trust that Member States place in the Agency. Maintaining this trust requires, among other things, that our staff uphold the highest standards of integrity. To keep Member States up to date with our work to foster a culture of ethics, the Agency will start to provide a report on the activities of the Ethics function, through the Programme and Budget Committee, from next year.

Finally, Madam Chairperson, I wish to thank my Special Assistant for Nuclear Safety and Security and for Safeguards, Mr Derek Lacey, who will be leaving us shortly, for his service to the Agency. I have greatly valued Derek’s wisdom and advice. I also thank two other colleagues who recently left the Agency – Mr Serge Gas, Director of the Office of Public Information and Communication, and Mr Xolisa Mabhongo, Director of the IAEA Office in New York – for their contribution to our work. I wish all three of them every success in the future.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Last update: 25 Nov 2019

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