As you are all aware, this Conference takes place against the backdrop of the tragic natural disasters which hit eastern Japan earlier this year, and which led to the subsequent accident that took place in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
It is incumbent on all of us to take stock of the Fukushima Daiichi accident and to learn the lessons it teaches us as we strive to enhance nuclear safety worldwide. The timely initiative of the Director General of the IAEA to convene this high level Conference represents the first very important substantive step in this direction.
It was also in this spirit that I, in my capacity as Coordinator for the Preparatory Process for the Conference, have been holding informal and open-ended consultations with Member States to establish the Programme for the Conference, and to reach agreement on a draft Ministerial Declaration. I believe that this Declaration should serve as high-level policy guidance for a process under the aegis of the Agency to identify concrete actions that need to be taken to strengthen the global nuclear safety regime. During this week the Working Sessions of the Conference will be intensively engaged in what I trust will be substantive discussions producing important outcomes towards that end.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to all of you for your active cooperation and support in this process. I am pleased that the several rounds of our intensive consultations have resulted in what is a consensual draft Ministerial Declaration, which is before you now. I suggest that the Conference approves the Ministerial Declaration today towards the end of our evening session.
Finally, I look forward to your constructive participation and to your cooperation towards attaining the objectives of this important Conference.
To this end, I wish you all successful and fruitful deliberations.