(As prepared for delivery)
A number of important reports are on the agenda of this meeting.
The Annual Report for 2015 serves as the Board's report to the General Conference. It provides a thematic analysis of major Agency activities and highlights important developments during the year. The Report reflects our work in promoting peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology to help Member States achieve their development goals, as well as in enhancing nuclear safety and security, and implementing safeguards.
As the Technical Cooperation Report for 2015 shows, the main focus of the TC programme last year was nuclear safety, which accounted for a quarter of total spending. It was followed by health and nutrition, and food and agriculture.
The TC year-end budget totalled 92.6 million euros. The implementation rate for 2015 was 84.8 percent. In recent years, we have been working to increase the regular budget for technical cooperation for development, and capacity for implementation has improved.
During my recent visits to African nations, I saw once again how important the TC programme is for developing countries. I visited hospitals and laboratories and met doctors, engineers and scientists who have benefited greatly from Agency training and support, either through placements at Seibersdorf or in other countries.
Let me give a few examples of important TC activities.
In 2015, the Agency helped to strengthen the effectiveness of national regulatory infrastructures and build capacity for radioactive waste management. We also provided training in radiation protection and safety.
In Europe, the TC programme supported environmental remediation activities related to former uranium production sites, radioactively contaminated soil, and in the context of the Chernobyl accident.
The first International School of Radiation Emergency Management was held in Latin America. Postgraduate education courses on radiation protection and safety of radioactive sources were provided to regulators in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
In Asia and the Pacific, fifteen Member States enhanced their capacities in crop mutation breeding. Twenty-eight new crop varieties were developed under a four-year project and released to farmers.
After the dreadful earthquake in Ecuador in April this year, the Agency quickly dispatched four mobile digital X-ray units, as well as mobile generators, emergency diagnostic equipment and personal radiation detectors, to help doctors deal with the aftermath.
This was another example of our ability to respond swiftly to crises in Member States.
The IAEA continues its work to help countries fight the Zika virus. In April, we trained over 35 participants from 26 countries in using a nuclear-derived technique to quickly and accurately detect the virus. We also supplied a diagnostic kit to Ecuador.
A regional project to help Latin America and the Caribbean use the sterile insect technique against the Zika virus, approved by the Board in March, has received initial funding from France, Japan and the United States. Representatives from 16 countries will meet in Mexico in July to discuss a project work plan for the next two years. A tender procedure has been opened for the supply of a gamma cell irradiator to Brazil.
As the example of Zika illustrates, the Peaceful Uses Initiative has again proven to be a very effective mechanism for providing rapid assistance in response to urgent Member State needs. We will hold a technical briefing later this month to provide an update on PUI-related activities.
Good progress has been made since the last Board in raising the funds to enable us to renovate our nuclear applications laboratories under the ReNuAL project. This is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the Agency.
Since March, we have received contributions from Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United States and AFRA, the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology. I am very grateful to all of them. These timely contributions will enable us to start construction of both the Insect Pest Control Laboratory and the Flexible Modular Laboratory, as planned.
Thanks to the generosity of donor countries, the funding gap is now just 1.6 million euros. As you will recall, the total budget for this vital Agency project is 31 million euros. I again encourage all Member States that are in a position to do so to contribute to ReNuAL.
Nuclear Safety and Security
Two draft revised Safety Requirements publications are before the Board for approval as Agency safety standards: Leadership and Management for Safety and Safety of Research Reactors. Insights gained from the Fukushima Daiichi accident are reflected in both documents. I encourage all Member States to support the broadest application of IAEA safety standards, which are based on knowledge and experience gathered globally.
Continuing Agency activities under the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety are now being addressed through our regular work. In line with the resolution of last year's General Conference, we are working to establish priorities for our future activities to strengthen global nuclear safety, building on the experience gained in recent years. A report will be presented to the Board in September.
Turning to nuclear security, I attended the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington as an observer. The Summit Communiqué was strongly supportive of the "essential responsibility and central role" of the Agency in strengthening global nuclear security.
I am very pleased that the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material has finally entered into force. This is a significant step which will make the world more secure. I continue to urge all States to adhere to this important legal instrument. Universal implementation of the amended Convention will help to ensure that nuclear material throughout the world is properly protected against malicious acts.
The Agency will assist States in meeting their new obligations under the Amendment. We will hold a meeting of representatives of States party to the Amendment and the CPPNM from 30 November to 2 December. I urge all States parties to attend.
I also encourage all countries to be represented at ministerial level at the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security, which will start in Vienna on December 5th. The presence of ministers will help to maintain the momentum achieved in recent years in putting nuclear security high on the international agenda. The Ministerial Declaration to be agreed will also provide significant input for the 2018-2021 IAEA Nuclear Security Plan, which we will present to the September 2017 Board after consultation with Member States.
I will now turn briefly to nuclear energy.
In 2015, 10 power reactors were connected to the grid, the highest figure for a single year since 1990. There are now 444 power reactors in operation in 30 countries. Another 65 are under construction, two-thirds of them in Asia.
The decommissioning of nuclear reactors at the end of their operating life is an increasingly important issue. Already, 157 nuclear power reactors have been permanently shut down, most of which are undergoing decommissioning. More than 500 participants from 54 countries and four international organizations attended the IAEA International Conference on Advancing the Global Implementation of Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation Programmes in Madrid last month.
A follow-up Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission found that Bangladesh had acted on most of the recommendations and suggestions made in 2011. In the coming months, INIR missions are planned in Kazakhstan and Malaysia, as is a follow-up mission to Poland.
A new IAEA Coordinated Research Project has been launched to help Member States to develop national climate change mitigation strategies and assess the role of nuclear power in meeting the goals of last year's Paris Agreement.
To improve Member States' online access to Agency-wide eLearning resources, we have created a web portal on which education and training material and other resources can be easily accessed. We will host our Third International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management in Vienna in November.
Also in November, we will host an International Conference on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
Assurance of Supply
My report on the establishment of an IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan outlines progress in the past 12 months.
The basic legal framework between the IAEA and Kazakhstan has been concluded, as has the Transit Agreement with the Russian Federation.
The design of the LEU Storage Facility has been completed. It meets applicable provisions of IAEA safety standards and security guidance documents. Construction of the Facility will start once the necessary approvals have been provided by the Kazakh authorities and it is expected to be ready for operation in 2017.
The Agency is now planning activities in preparation for LEU acquisition. I will keep Member States informed of developments.
Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran
You have before you my report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), regarding Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
It summarises the verification and monitoring activities that the Agency has conducted under Security Council Resolution 2231 and relevant Board resolutions. These activities are consistent with the Agency's standard safeguards practices. The report presents the facts in an objective and factual manner and includes relevant information which the Agency can share with Member States.
We are in the early stages of a process which requires constant and careful attention from all stakeholders. All stakeholders have worked to make implementation possible. In the coming months and years, the continuing strong commitment of all parties will be needed to make implementation sustainable.
Activities have continued under the Additional Protocol to Iran's Safeguards Agreement, which Iran is provisionally applying, pending its entry into force. Since my last report, the Agency has conducted complementary accesses to sites and other locations in Iran under the Additional Protocol.
I will continue to keep the Board informed.
Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
I will now turn to nuclear verification.
You have before you a draft comprehensive safeguards agreement, with a small quantities protocol and an additional protocol, for Liberia.
Since my last report to the Board, Côte d’Ivoire has brought its Additional Protocol into force.
The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 182, while 128 States have brought additional protocols into force. I ask 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.
Safeguards Implementation Report
The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2015 details our work implementing safeguards in the 181 States with safeguards agreements in force last year.
Demand for Agency safeguards continues to increase and we constantly seek efficiency gains. The report highlights a number of areas of difficulty in safeguards implementation, which we will work with Member States to address.
My final report on the ECAS project to enhance the capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services has been distributed. The project was successfully completed in December 2015, within the approved budget.
With the new facilities and infrastructure at Seibersdorf, the Agency is able to conduct state-of-the-art sample analysis in a safe, secure and timely manner, as has been demonstrated in the case of Iran.
Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It is deeply regrettable that the DPRK has shown no indication that it is willing to comply with the Security Council resolution adopted in response to its nuclear test earlier this year.
The Agency remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue by resuming its verification activities once a political agreement is reached among countries concerned. 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 NPT Safeguards Agreement, and to resolve all outstanding issues.
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
Concerning the implementation of safeguards 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. 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 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.
In the Draft Budget Update for 2017, I stated that we need a clear path for integrating the additional costs of verification and monitoring activities in Iran in light of the JCPOA – 5.2 million euros per year – into the Regular Budget as soon as possible. We have listened carefully to the comments made by Member States in the budget discussions and provided additional explanations and information.
I am particularly grateful for your tireless efforts, Mr Chairman, to produce the proposal before the Board after an extensive consultation process. I am confident that the Chairman’s Proposal will pave the way for securing the predictable funding needed for our activities in Iran, without any negative impact on other safeguards activities or other Agency programmes.
I thank countries that have already made, or pledged, contributions that will make it possible for us to carry out our activities in Iran in 2016.
The fourth and final phase of the Agency-wide Information System for Programme Support (AIPS), covering the management of travel and meetings, will be rolled out later this year. I am pleased to report that we are on schedule for completion of the entire AIPS project, within budget, by mid-2017.
We will begin celebrating the Agency's 60th anniversary during the General Conference in September. The IAEA Statute was adopted on 23 October 1956 and entered into force on 29 July 1957. We will use the anniversary to highlight the Agency's significant contribution to global peace, security and development.
Next week, we will begin using a special 60th anniversary logo with the message 60 Years of IAEA – Atoms for Peace and Development.
Finally, Mr Chairman, I wish to inform the Board that the 2016 IAEA Scientific Forum, starting on 28 September, will be on the subject of Nuclear Technology for the Sustainable Development Goals. I encourage all countries to participate.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.