IAEA: EU statement on Technical Cooperation Programme for 2007 - 2008

IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee
20 November 2006

Statement by Finland on behalf of the European Union

Item 2. Technical Cooperation: The Agency's proposed programme for 2007 - 2008

1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova align themselves with this statement.

2. The European Union recalls its strong support for the Technical Cooperation Programme of the IAEA, to which the EU Member States are the largest donor. We attach importance to adequate financial and human resources to enable the IAEA to meet effectively its responsibilities in the areas of technical cooperation. In this context, the EU is pleased to note that the Rate of Attainment has reached the target of 90 % for the first time and that the implementation rate has also increased. To sustain this positive trend, the EU underlines the importance of paying in full, and on time, to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF).

3. As a point of principle, the EU would like to stress the importance of the timely provision of information on the TC programme to enable Member States to make informed decisions about the programme.

4. The EU encourages the Secretariat to continue improving technical cooperation activities in accordance with the TC strategy. Strong government commitment, consistency with national development priorities and enhanced coordination among the UN agencies are some of the key requirements for successful programme delivery in the fields of human health, food and agriculture, the environment and other areas. Strengthening nuclear safety, nuclear security and radiological protection are also important. The EU welcomes the increased number of Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) and new strategic partnerships with other international organisations. In this context, the EU endorses the recommendation made by the External Auditor, namely that the Agency should embrace the objectives of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) to bring greater coherence to the UN programmes at the country level, also taking into account the recent recommendations of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on system-wide coherence.

5. Article IV of the NPT enshrines the inalienable right of all States Parties to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II as well as Article III of the Treaty. The EU recalls the conditions laid down by the NPT for the exercise of the right to nuclear energy: the observance of non-proliferation commitments, the implementation of IAEA safeguards, and the pursuit, in accordance with the good-faith principle, of peaceful purposes. Similarly, Article II of the IAEA Statute stipulates that the Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. The same article requires that the Agency shall ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose.

6. With respect to one project in the proposed TC programme for 2007-08, the Secretariat has made a reference to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors, in which it is deemed necessary for Iran to reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water and UN Security Council Resolution 1696 of 31 July 2006, which calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions. The EU would like to point out that already in 2004, the Board of Governors in its resolutions GOV/2004/49 and GOV/2004/79 had unanimously asked Iran to reconsider the construction of the heavy water reactor at Arak. Our concern is that such a reactor would in the future produce significant quantities of plutonium and would involve a significant proliferation risk.

7. It has been the practise in this Committee to recommend that the Board approve the Agency's proposed technical cooperation programme as a whole. The EU emphasises that technical assistance has to be consistent with the decisions of the Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council. We cannot support providing technical assistance to a heavy water research reactor project that the Board has several times asked Iran to reconsider. 

8. The EU considers that the Iranian request to seek Agency funding for a project that the Board explicitly asked it to reconsider is not consistent with the resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council. The EU deeply regrets this matter and once again urges Iran to comply with the resolutions, which would open the way for negotiations.

9. The EU needs to be fully assured that also none of the other new technical co-operation projects in any way contribute to activities that Iran has been asked to suspend, or to reconsider by the Board of Governors and the Security Council. These assurances are also needed in the light of the general nature of the TC project descriptions. We have taken a good note of the valuable statement just delivered by the Secretariat and would like to underline the need to remain vigilant to ensure that TC projects be fully consistent with the resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council throughout the implementation process. We would request the Secretariat to keep the Board informed on this matter, as necessary.

10. The EU reiterates its strong support for the TC programme and attaches great importance to the principle of consensus in approving the TC programme. However, the EU is able to join consensus only subject to the assurances referred to above and on the understanding that the project IRA/9/019 is removed.

Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.