EU Statement on agenda item 5: The Agency’s Draft Budget Update for 2023, delivered at the IAEA Programme and Budget Committee, 9-10 May 2022

(Source: EEAS)

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Iceland+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and San Marino.

We thank the Secretariat for the Agency’s Draft Budget Update for 2023 (GOV/2022/1 Corrected) and for the additional information provided over the past months. We remain appreciative of the Director General’s realistic and pragmatic approach which will possibly alleviate economic constraints on Member States created by both the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and the unjustified aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which has exacerbated the already difficult global economic outlook.

We underline our continued commitment to a sufficiently and sustainably resourced, effective and efficient IAEA, able to meet its legal obligations, statutory tasks and the increasing demands of Member States. We reiterate the priority we attach to the Agency’s work in safeguards, nuclear security and nuclear safety, notably in light of the growing membership and use of nuclear technologies and applications, with an associated increase in the amount of nuclear and radioactive materials in the world. We recognise the importance of the Agency’s efforts to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and especially in the attainment of the SDGs.

We note that the budget adheres to zero real growth and no significant changes to the programme have been proposed, and that the distribution of the budget among Major Programmes remains the same as in 2022.

The EU and its Member States take note of the proposed price adjustment for 2023 of 1.7% as also contained in the original budget for 2022-2023 and in line with the December 2021 European Central Bank prediction for 2023 and the Secretariat’s price adjustment methodology.

We also acknowledge that the cost savings and efficiency gains, as reflected in the 2022- 2023 document, applied to both years, as did the 75% cap on the human resources cost.

Given the aforementioned difficult financial circumstances faced by many Member States, we welcome the Secretariat’s efforts to find savings and efficiencies on an ongoing basis, if these can be achieved without negatively impacting effectiveness or the quality of services provided to Member States. Good practices identified in one department should be implemented across the Secretariat as far as possible. More broadly, ensuring close coordination between and within the Agency’s Departments in line with the one-house approach is important to ensure effectiveness and contribute to further efficiencies.

In addition to good practices, results-based management is key to the functioning of the Agency and should be fully realised, including through the retention of a programme-oriented budget format. We underline that to realise the continuous efficiencies requested by Member States, it is important that the Secretariat have the necessary flexibility to manage its resources so as to best implement the programme, in line with the results-based approach.

In line with the above mentioned, we continue to take note of the increasing reliance of the Agency on extrabudgetary funding for a wide range of operational and capital needs for which funding is not foreseen in the Regular Budget. While we welcome the contributions of the Agency in a wide range of fields, it is important that the core statutory functions continue to be carried out in an effective manner, and that the Agency can rely on sustainable and dependable funding, including as regards nuclear safety and security. With limited availability of donor funding, it is important to identify the top priorities among projects and programmes competing for voluntary contributions in accordance with Member States’ needs. In addition, continued efforts to broaden the donor base can help meet unfunded needs and are therefore most welcome.

Turning to the issue of funding the After-Service Health Insurance (ASHI), we note the persistent importance of reducing this liability and containing the costs involved. We look forward to receiving the Secretariat’s proposals in this regard. We took good note in the recent Financial and Administrative Workshop that the Director General intends to make suggestions that will not entail requesting additional resources from Member States.

Finally, in these efforts we call on the Agency to heed the advice of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) where applicable to realise efficiency gains and improve project governance.

With these comments, the EU and its Member States take note of GOV/2022/1 Corrected and the draft resolutions contained therein, which, in our view, would be a good basis for consensus.

Thank you, Chair.

 


§ Candidate Country

* Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland and Norway are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

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