Since the last meeting of the Board, two countries have applied for membership of the Agency: the Republic of Djibouti and the Union of the Comoros.
A number of important reports are on the agenda of this meeting.
The Agency's Annual Report for 2013 serves as the Board's report to the General Conference, as well as the Agency's report to the United Nations General Assembly and the general public. As the report shows, the Agency's programme continues to make a real difference to the lives of many people throughout the world.
The Technical Cooperation Report for 2013 presents our work to make nuclear science and technology available for peaceful purposes. The main focus of TC spending last year was in the field of health and nutrition, followed by nuclear safety and security, and then by food and agriculture.
As you may recall, the 2013 Scientific Forum focussed on our activities in the marine environment. Let me highlight some areas of our work in this area. In Africa, a regional IAEA project is helping countries to monitor marine pollution using nuclear analytical techniques. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have developed capacities in radiation monitoring through the marine benchmark study on the possible impact of radioactive releases caused by the Fukushima Daiichi accident. There has been good cooperation between technically advanced and less experienced countries. In Latin America, the Agency has supported the establishment of a network of laboratories to monitor marine pollutants.
Human capacity-building remains an integral part of the technical cooperation programme. Agency-sponsored postgraduate courses in radiation protection and safety of radioactive sources were provided for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe in 2013. Distance learning also continues to grow. The AFRA-Network for Education in Nuclear Science and Technology is promoting HR development in Africa, while in Asia and the Pacific, nuclear medicine professionals are receiving online training.
A growing number of countries in Africa are focussing on cancer control and establishing radiation medicine centres. We are providing broad support in this area, including in quality management. IAEA regional training courses in Asia and the Pacific have helped to put national training programmes on a more sustainable footing. In Europe, a focus on the integration of nuclear medicine, diagnostic radiology and radiotherapy into comprehensive health care programmes is helping to ensure compliance with international standards. In Latin America, the focus in 2013 was on strengthening essential capabilities in national health care institutions. As far as the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy is concerned, we anticipate that increased funding will become available to assist Member States as a result of our growing partnerships with regional and international organizations, donors and development banks.
New resources for the TC programme totalled 78.2 million euros in 2013, which included 10.7 million euros in extra-budgetary contributions. We also achieved our highest implementation rate in ten years - 83.7%.
I have circulated a document entitled Strategy for the Renovation of the Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf. It outlines a 31-million-euro project, known as ReNuAL, to modernize the laboratories. When completed, this will greatly improve the ability of the laboratories to respond to Member State needs. The support of all Member States is crucial to the success of this very important project. I encourage all countries in a position to do so to contribute to ReNuAL and I thank those which have already done so. I plan to invite you to a ground-breaking ceremony at Seibersdorf in September.
Undernutrition causes more than one third of all deaths of children under five years of age. Many of these are preventable. Stable isotope techniques can be beneficial in the evaluation of interventions that address malnutrition. Last week, the Agency hosted the International Symposium on Understanding Moderate Malnutrition in Children for Effective Interventions, in partnership with the World Food Programme and other organisations. More than 400 participants from 85 countries attended. Recommendations for programmes and policy makers will be published soon.
This year, we celebrate two important 50th anniversaries. Today, we mark the anniversary of the Nuclear Data Section, which develops and disseminates fundamental nuclear and atomic data. Accurate data are the basis of nuclear science and technology.
The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is also 50 years old. This is an effective partnership which makes an important contribution to food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture in Member States. The anniversary will be celebrated in September in conjunction with the ground-breaking for the ReNuAL project.
The Sixth Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety was held from 24 March to 4 April in Vienna. Contracting Parties decided that a Diplomatic Conference should be held in order to consider a proposal to amend Article 18 of the Convention, which addresses the design and construction of nuclear power plants. As Depositary for the Convention, I will do what is necessary on my part to convene the Conference within one year.
Progress continues to be made in implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. The seventh in our series of International Expert Meetings took place in March, entitled Severe Accident Management in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. My next report to the Board on implementation of the Action Plan will be in September.
Work continues on the IAEA report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The final meetings of the expert Working Groups took place last month. The report is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.
In March, I participated as an observer in the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. Leaders from more than 50 countries pledged to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear security and reconfirmed their strong support for the IAEA's central role.
Since my last report to the Board, three countries - Peru, Djibouti and the Republic of Korea - have ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. This is encouraging. But another 23 ratifications are required for this important nuclear security instrument to finally enter into force. On June 12 and 13, the Agency will hold a seminar in Vienna to encourage adoption of the Amendment. I ask all countries which have not yet done so to ratify the Amendment as soon as possible.
Next month, we will host an International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Forensics: Countering the Evolving Threat of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material out of Regulatory Control.
Turning now to nuclear energy, the second International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes took place last month. Participants agreed that capacity building is important for ensuring a supply of qualified staff for safe, secure and sustainable nuclear power programmes. They invited the Agency to further expand its support for capacity building, including by documenting good practices and developing tools and guidance. Member States were encouraged to make use of available IAEA services.
We will host an International Symposium on Uranium Raw Material for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, starting on June 23, which is aimed at boosting understanding of the adequacy of uranium sources to meet future demand.
Preparations are well underway for the Scientific Forum in September, which will focus on the science and technology behind the management of radioactive waste. I thank the Member States which are helping us put together an interesting and informative programme.
Assurance of Supply
My latest report on the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank has been distributed. A technical briefing for Member States was held last week. Substantial additional work has been undertaken with Kazakhstan to define and agree on the technical requirements for the LEU Bank. Negotiations with the Government of Kazakhstan on a Host State Agreement and supporting technical agreements have made good progress. In cooperation with Kazakhstan, we are evaluating the safety relevance of a geological fault near the proposed site.
We remain firmly committed to establishing the LEU Bank in Kazakhstan in accordance with the relevant resolution of the Board of Governors. I will keep the Board informed of progress.
Turning now to nuclear verification, the Safeguards Implementation Report for 2013 has been distributed. It details our work implementing safeguards in the 180 States with safeguards agreements in force at that time. Findings are based upon our evaluation of the information available to the Agency in exercising its rights and fulfilling its obligations under these agreements. We draw our conclusions on the basis of these findings.
As the report shows, we have continued to improve the efficiency of safeguards implementation. Improved cooperation from State and regional authorities has been an important factor in maintaining this trend.
Consultations with Member States on safeguards implementation at the State level are continuing. We have held five technical meetings so far. As indicated previously, we are preparing a supplementary document to my report on the conceptualisation and development of safeguards at the State level, in accordance with the General Conference resolution.
I will briefly update the Board on the status of the ECAS project - Enhancing Capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services.
The transition of laboratory functions to the Nuclear Material Laboratory building is well underway. Infrastructure and security upgrades at the Seibersdorf premises will continue into 2015, along with the construction of new training and administrative space for the Laboratory.
The ECAS project is still some eight million euros short of the approved budget of 81 million euros. I thank Member States that have contributed recently and encourage all States in a position to do so to make a financial contribution.
Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
You have before you a draft additional protocol for the Kingdom of Cambodia. Since my last report, an additional protocol has entered into force for Saint Kitts and Nevis. This brings the number of States with additional protocols in force to 123. I strongly hope that all other States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible.
Safeguards agreements are now in force for 181 States. I ask the 12 States without safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay. I also call on States which still have the old small quantities protocols to amend or rescind them.
I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It is now more than five years since Agency inspectors were asked to leave the DPRK. Nevertheless, the Agency maintains its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme. I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in implementing its Safeguards Agreement, and to resolve all outstanding issues.
Concerning safeguards implementation in Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.
I welcome the fact that the practical measures agreed with Iran under the Framework for Cooperation have been implemented by Iran as planned. Iran has engaged with the Agency substantively, including in the clarification of issues related to the use of exploding bridge wire detonators. We are analysing the information provided by Iran in April and May. Iran's engagement with the Agency has helped us to gain a better understanding of its nuclear programme. Iran's agreement on 20 May to implement five additional practical measures is a further welcome step forward.
The Agency will provide its assessment in due course, after acquiring a good understanding of the whole picture. This is the most effective approach in helping the Agency to provide an impartial and factual assessment. This does not exclude the possibility of the Agency making known its initial thoughts on specific issues in the meantime, as appropriate.
In order to resolve all outstanding issues, past and present, it is very important that Iran continues to implement the Framework for Cooperation.
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
Concerning the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, there have been no significant developments since my last statement to the Board. I renew my call to Syria to cooperate fully with us in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations. I will continue to keep the Board informed.
Turning now to management issues, I am pleased that the Programme and Budget Committee was able to recommend to the Board the transmittal to the General Conference of the Agency's financial statements, on which we have again received an unqualified audit opinion from the External Auditor.
The Committee also recommended approval of the 2015 budget update. My proposal was for zero real growth compared with 2014. Priorities in the Regular Budget remain as proposed in the 2014-2015 Programme and Budget. I am pleased to note the support expressed for my proposal and look forward to your adoption of the budget for 2015. I assure the Board that I remain committed to vigorously implementing efficiency and cost-saving measures throughout the coming biennium. I express my appreciation to Ambassador Paradas and Ambassador Oyugi, co-Chairs of the Working Group on Financing the Agency's Activities, for their leadership in steering this important Working Group.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I wish to inform you of the departure of two senior Agency staff members. Mr Daud Mohamad, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, will be leaving us shortly. I thank Daud warmly for his loyal and effective service.
Mr. Graham Andrew, my Special Assistant for Nuclear Safety and Security and for Safeguards, will also retire soon. Graham has served the Agency with distinction for 13 years and made a major contribution to our work. I have greatly valued his wisdom and advice.
I wish Daud and Graham good health and every success in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.