Speakers Underline Atomic Energy Agency’s Key Role in Ensuring Nuclear Safety, Security, as General Assembly Considers Its Annual Report
The General Assembly, taking up a range of items this afternoon, considered the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — the main United Nations organ devoted to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy — while also adopting a text related to the work of the Credentials Committee and electing seven members to the Committee for Programme and Coordination.
A draft resolution titled “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/71/L.35) transmitted in a note by the Secretary-General (document A/71/322) was introduced by the representative of South Africa. The Assembly was expected to take action on the annual text 13 December.
By the terms of the draft, the 193-member body would take note of a number of resolutions that had been recently approved by the Vienna-based IAEA and aimed at strengthening international cooperation in areas including nuclear science, technology and nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety. It would also take note of several IAEA resolutions on the application of nuclear safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Middle East, while reaffirming its strong support for the Agency’s activities and appealing to Member States to continue to support them.
Briefing the Assembly, Agency Director General Yukiya Amano noted that 2016 marked the Agency’s sixtieth anniversary. With 168 member States spanning the globe, IAEA work aimed to improve the health and prosperity of millions of people. “Nuclear power should not be the preserve of developed countries,” he said, noting that the Agency would support its members at every step in the journey if they opted to introduce nuclear power, so they could make use of it safely, securely and sustainably.
In that vein, a number of speakers underlined the Agency’s responsibility in facilitating the full realization of the inalienable right of all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Pakistan’s representative, for one, recalled that his country had long sought to enhance the application of nuclear energy for socioeconomic development. With the Agency’s assistance, Pakistan aimed to further expand its training programmes, he said, adding that nuclear technology was being used to provide treatment at 18 oncology hospitals nationwide.
The European Union’s representative stressed that the IAEA safeguards system was a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and played an indispensable role in the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s implementation. Underlining the Security Council’s primary role in non-compliance cases, she recognized the serious proliferation challenges that continued to threaten international security, including those emanating from the actions of Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the need to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions.
Other speakers also expressed concern over those countries’ nuclear activities. Recalling allegations of a link between the two States, the Republic of Korea’s delegate stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had refused all IAEA safeguards and inspections since 2009 and continued to pursue the advancement of its nuclear capabilities.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative described the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula as a product of the United States’ hostile policy towards his country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had used nuclear deterrence to protect itself from constant nuclear threats from the United States, he said, emphasizing that the IAEA report was full of prejudice and unfairness. If the Agency truly wished peace and security for the Korean Peninsula, it would take issue with the United States’ threats towards his country, he said.
Syria’s delegate said “the only nuclear threat in the Middle East is that represented by Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and means of delivery”. Recalling that his delegation had submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council in 2003 calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, which had been vetoed by the United States, he said the IAEA’s inaction with regard to Israel demonstrated selectivity and double standards.
Several speakers spotlighted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — recently agreed between China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Iran, as a major step forward in multilateral nuclear diplomacy. Iran’s delegate reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but also underscored the obligations of its other parties. The United States’ recent decision to extend sanctions against Iran ran counter to those commitments, he stressed, urging that country to swiftly resolve such concerns.
Before the Assembly for the discussion was a note by the Secretary-General titled “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/71/322), in which he noted his submission of that report to the General Assembly.
In other business today, the Assembly, acting without a vote, elected seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, the main subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council, to serve three-year terms beginning 1 January 2017. Nominated by the Council — whose recommendation was contained in a related note by the Secretary-General (document A/71/641) — were Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Haiti, Republic of Korea and Senegal.
Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) reminded Member States that the Council had postponed the nomination of one member from the Western European and other States Group, whose term of office would expire on 31 December 2017, and one member from the same group whose term would expire on 31 December 2018.
Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled “Credentials of representatives to the seventy-first session of the General Assembly”, contained in a report of the Credentials Committee (document A/71/670) and introduced by the representative of Malawi in his capacity as Committee Chair.
Speaking following that adoption, the representative of Iran voiced a reservation to those parts of the report that might be construed as recognizing the “Israeli regime”.
Also delivering statements on the IAEA report were the representatives of China, Monaco, Singapore, Jamaica, Ukraine, Switzerland, Japan, India, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Australia, Morocco and Malaysia.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 13 December, to take action on L.35 and on a number of draft resolutions forwarded by its Sixth Committee (Legal).
Briefing by International Atomic Energy Agency Head
YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), noting that the Agency had celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2016 and now had 168 member States spanning the globe, said that it had continued to help improve the health and prosperity of millions of people by making nuclear science available in health care, energy, food and agriculture, industry and other areas. Meanwhile, its inspectors contributed to international peace and security by verifying that nuclear material was used for peaceful purposes. In 2016, the Agency had helped countries respond to the Zika virus outbreak, and had helped improve developing countries’ access to effective cancer treatment.
Describing particular progress in expanding the availability of such treatment in Africa and in the Agency’s partnership with the United Nations Joint Global Programme on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control — which aimed to reduce cervical cancer mortality in participating countries by 25 per cent by 2025 — he went on to say that the Agency had begun to modernize its nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna. Construction had begun on the first of two new buildings, the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, and would soon begin on the second.
“Nuclear power should not be the preserve of developed countries,” he said, reiterating that developing nations should also be able to use it. Nuclear power could significantly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security, while delivering energy in the large and growing quantities needed for development. There were currently 450 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries, while 60 reactors were under construction, he said, adding that around 30 further States were considering introducing nuclear power. If they opted to do so, the Agency would support them actively at every step of the journey so they could use that power safely, securely and sustainably.
Turning to nuclear safety, he said the Agency had begun work on the Nuclear Safety Review 2017, which would be presented to its Board of Governors next March and would reflect lessons learned and identify priorities going forward. Among those, it planned to give increased attention to issues such as the safety of radioactive sources used in industry, health care and other non-power applications. “There is widespread recognition that the world can never be complacent about nuclear safety and that a robust safety culture must be maintained everywhere,” he said, stressing that the Agency was the global platform for those efforts.
Recalling that an amendment to the Agency’s Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material had finally come into force in May 2016, 11 years after its adoption, he encouraged all countries to adhere to the amendment. On verification, he said the Agency currently implemented safeguards in 181 States, 174 of which had Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements in force. In particular, it had been working since 2003 to verify Iran’s nuclear programme, and those efforts had been indispensable in paving the way for the diplomatic breakthrough achieved in the recent Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in that regard.
“This is a very important agreement, which represents a clear gain for nuclear verification in Iran,” he said of the Plan of Action, noting that the Agency was now verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments and would continue to do so for many years. Expressing serious concern about the nuclear programme in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had conducted two more nuclear tests in 2016, he called upon that country to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, cooperate promptly with the Agency and to resolve all outstanding issues.
Turning to the case of Syria, he recalled that he had reported in 2011 on the likelihood that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site had been a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency. Urging Syria to cooperate fully on all such unresolved issues, he went on to stress that new and growing demand from Member States required a modest increase in the Agency’s budget.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
The representative of South Africa, in his capacity as Chair of the Agency’s Board of Governors, then introduced a related draft resolution, titled “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/71/L.35). The text, which was adopted by the Assembly annually, stemmed from a longstanding cooperation agreement between the United Nations and the Agency, entered into in 1957, he said, stressing that it provided a unique occasion for the Assembly’s general membership to be kept abreast on the Agency’s recent activities.
JOANNE ADAMSON, European Union, stressed that the IAEA safeguards system was a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and had an indispensable role in the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s implementation. Underlining the Security Council’s primary role in non-compliance cases, she recognized the serious proliferation challenges that continued to threaten international security and the need to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions. She expressed deep concern about the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by Syria, as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the only State to have conducted nuclear explosive tests in the twenty-first century. The European Union called for the immediate universalization of the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements and the Additional Protocols, which constituted the current IAEA verification standard.
The European Union also strongly supported nuclear security activities by the Agency, she said, adding that the bloc had contributed €40 million to the Nuclear Security Fund to date, with a further €45 million contributed by its member States. It intended to continue that support by adding another €9 million for the upcoming three years. Stressing the benefits of multilateral approaches, she said the Agency had started the procurement process for the Low-Enrichment Uranium acquisition requirement, and the European Union Council had adopted a decision in November contributing a further €4.3 million in support of the Agency’s Low-Enrichment Uranium Bank. Recognizing the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, the European Union supported the Agency and its Member States with €150 million annually, having allocated €225 million for the period 2014-2020 for nuclear safety promotion, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear material in third countries.
WU HAITAO (China) said over the past year, the Agency had effectively fulfilled its obligations under the Statute and had made great progress in promoting the use of nuclear energy. However, the international community was still facing many challenges, such as balancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy, preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and practically strengthening safety and security. Technical cooperation in the nuclear field should be promoted and the Agency should increase its investment in resources while deepening cooperation on nuclear energy and technology. All Member States, particularly developed countries, should further enhance support for technical cooperation to ensure that adequate resources were available. With the international nuclear non‑proliferation regime currently confronted by severe challenges, the international community must resolutely tackle double standards and safeguard the authority of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
VALÉRIE S. BRUELL-MELCHIOR (Monaco) said the Agency’s role in nuclear safety and security was indeed critical in the context of implementing the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Monaco was dedicated to harnessing nuclear application for sustainable development. The repercussions of ocean acidification were critical not only for coastal cities that largely depended on the sea for their livelihoods, but also for global food security. In addition to assisting the Agency in studying ocean acidification, Monaco had been focusing on issues of fisheries and the socioeconomic adaptation of coastal populations. Marine pollution was another major challenge, which the Agency was paying attention to. Public health, especially the struggle against cancer, continued to be a priority for the Agency and Monaco would remain dedicated to supporting IAEA in all areas.
NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) said his country was a strong advocate of utilizing nuclear technology for peace and progress. For more than 55 years, Pakistan had sought to enhance the application of nuclear technology for socioeconomic development. It continued to improve nuclear safety and protection measures at its nuclear power plants and research reactors. Over the past decade, Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory mechanism had grown into an effective system. With IAEA assistance, Pakistan aimed to further develop and expand its training programmes to bring additional participation in other areas. Besides nuclear power, Pakistan’s national atomic agency commission was providing health treatment through a network of 18 oncology hospitals, where 80 per cent of the country’s cancer patients were treated each year.
JOHN KHOO WEI EN (Singapore), reaffirming the Agency’s role in in ensuring a strong and sustainable nuclear safety framework worldwide, said that Member States themselves must also invest in the “never‑ending endeavour” of maintaining and strengthening nuclear safety. A significant milestone in international cooperation on the matter was the May 2016 entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Commending the Agency for its sustained efforts in making nuclear science and technology available to help Member States achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, he added that while the Agency was “sometimes unfairly pigeonholed” into a nuclear watchdog role, it was much more than that.
HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) pledged to work closely with the international community to channel resolve into action to ensure the highest standards of nuclear security. Emphasizing the importance of strengthening information security at nuclear facilities, he welcomed the work of the International Conference on Computer Security in a Nuclear World. Nuclear verification, a central pillar of IAEA work, had helped to create conditions for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Welcoming progress towards the resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue, he noted Iran’s continued implementation of transparency measures, expressing hope that it would continue to cooperate. He urged Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency and expressed concern by allegations of a link between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria’s undeclared construction of a nuclear reactor. On the nuclear tests that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had conducted, he noted its refusal of all IAEA safeguards and inspections since 2009 and its continuing pursuit of the advancement of its nuclear capabilities. In that context, he welcomed the IAEA resolution condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear testing.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) underlined the role and responsibility of the IAEA in facilitating the full realization of the inalienable right of all Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty States Parties to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including their right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for those peaceful means. Emphasizing the need for further enhancement of such activities, particularly to meet the needs of developing Member States, he also stressed that all work carried out by the Agency in relation to safeguard agreements should be undertaken in full conformity with the relevant legally‑binding instruments and should take into account the concerns and interests of Member States, including strict observance of confidentiality.
With regard to the Agency’s verification and monitoring activities in Iran, he recalled that the Director-General had certified the country’s full compliance of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran remained committed to that agreement but stressed that its other parties were also obliged to carry out their commitments and refrain from any action inconsistent with its letter and spirit. In that regard, he said the United States’ recent decision to extend sanctions against Iran ran counter to its commitments, and urged that country to swiftly resolve such concerns.
DIEDRE NICHOLE MILLS (Jamaica) said cooperation with the Agency had grown, presenting the Government with technical expertise in education, health and research. Activities included training courses, development of a plan of action for cancer therapy, re‑establishment of nuclear medicine capacities in the public sector and the conversion of a reactor in Jamaica from high‑ to low‑enriched uranium. That commitment to working with Jamaica had been reaffirmed through a series of country visits by senior IAEA officials. The links and mutually reinforcing nature of the Sustainable Development Goals provided much scope for the Agency’s vision for the peaceful use of nuclear technology to advance sustainable development.
ANDRIY TSYMBALIUK (Ukraine) said nuclear power would remain an important option to achieve energy security and sustainable development. In that context, Ukraine had taken steps to ensure the highest level of physical protection of its nuclear facilities. The Chernobyl accident, which had affected over 2,300 towns and villages, had introduced essential changes in many spheres not only in Ukraine but also around the world and changed attitudes towards nuclear energy worldwide. International regulations and standards for radioactive protection, national strategies for nuclear energy development, nuclear safety and radioactive waste managements had been substantially revised. The most important lesson from that accident was to bring lasting improvements to nuclear and radiation safety. For example, knowledge gained after the disaster at Chernobyl was used by the expert community to study the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. Ukraine continued cooperation with the Agency on a number of Chernobyl‑related issues, including radioactive waste management at the Chernobyl site.
ALEXANDRE PERREN (Switzerland) said that the international community’s efforts to ensure nuclear security could only be successful if the matter was addressed comprehensively in a global context. The Agency was the best platform for coordinating existing initiatives due to its almost universal membership and unique expertise. Welcoming the Ministerial Declaration that had been accepted at the 2016 International Conference on Nuclear Security, he emphasized that the majority of all nuclear material was used for military purposes and was not covered by any multilateral agreements. The absence of any specific reference to that fact in the Declaration had sent the wrong message.
KORO BESSHO (Japan) expressed strong support for the IAEA work, commending its contribution to global socioeconomic development. Japan had been a proud supporter of the Agency’s technical cooperation programmes. In 2015, it had pledged $25 million over a five‑year period to the Agency’s Peaceful Uses initiative and had contributed to its work in countering the Ebola outbreak. He also expressed support for IAEA nuclear security summits and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which would strengthen the international non‑proliferation regime and lead to stability in the Middle East. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s provocations, including nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, represented a grave challenge to international security and the nuclear non‑proliferation regime. It was important that the international community ensured the effectiveness of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said, urging that country to take concrete steps towards denuclearization without delay.
Mr. KUMAR (India) said nuclear technology was an important option for countries to meet the challenges of increased energy demand, concerns about climate change and the security of the world’s electricity supply. With the Paris Agreement’s recent adoption, the time was ripe for an even stronger role for the IAEA in expanding nuclear safety. Encouraging the Agency to remain engaged in activities which represented a balanced picture of nuclear power and its mitigation potential against greenhouse gas emissions, he said India had contributed to its technical meetings and coordinated research projects. He recalled that the recent Ministerial Declaration had highlighted the threats of nuclear terrorism and emerging cyberthreats.
KIM IN RYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula was a product of the United States hostile policy towards his country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had used nuclear deterrence to protect itself from constant nuclear threats from the United States. “It is just a self‑defensive measure,” he said, emphasizing that the Agency’s report was full of prejudice and unfairness. While not referring at all to the nuclear threats and blackmails of the United States towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the report was unilaterally taking issue with his country’s nuclear programme. If the Agency truly wished peace and security for the Korean peninsula, it would take issue with the United States threats towards his country.
The extreme hostile policy of the United States towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of war, he continued. Despite serious concerns of the international community, the United States continued to stage aggressive joint military exercises every year targeting his country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was merely protecting its State and social system from United States nuclear war threats. The United States was seeking to put pressure on his country by mobilizing “follower forces” at the United Nations. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was fully capable of countering the United States nuclear hegemony, he stressed.
MOHAMED AL MUTAWA (United Arab Emirates) said his country expected to operate its first nuclear reactor in 2017, thanks in part to IAEA guidance and support. Expressing support for the Agency’s efforts to advance the responsible development of nuclear energy globally, he said the United Arab Emirates would host a ministerial conference on nuclear power in the twenty-first century in 2017. He also commended the Agency’s role in the transfer of technology and knowledge, which would help Member States work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. States with concerns surrounding their nuclear activities should take all required steps to address those issues and restore confidence in the exclusive peaceful nature of their programmes, he said, calling on Iran to fulfil its relevant international obligations to dismiss any suspicions about its nuclear programme. He expressed concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s development of nuclear and ballistic capabilities, calling on that country to refrain from conducting any nuclear tests.
INA HAGNININGTYAS KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia) emphasized the importance of sufficient and predictable funding for the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund. For its part, Indonesia had launched a regional capacity-building initiative in 2015 to mobilize and optimize resources. Further, Indonesia had recently funded an emergency preparedness and review service mission to evaluate national nuclear preparedness. Voicing support for the Agency’s efforts in providing nuclear safeguards, particularly in verifying the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, she reiterated the important role the IAEA played in fostering international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology.
TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) said his country had started construction of its first nuclear power plant and its authorities were giving due attention to regulating and overseeing all safety aspects and physical protection of nuclear materials and installations. That included waste and transport safety and protection of radioactive materials, as well as emergency preparedness and response. The Agency had long remained Bangladesh’s main partner for the promotion of safe and secure applications of nuclear science and techniques. Bangladesh wished to further enhance its engagement with the Agency in the coming days with the view to collectively enhance global nuclear security and safety. It was also critical to promote the application of nuclear science and technologies for peaceful purposes.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) stressed that the issue of non-proliferation was one of his country’s top priorities, having acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons earlier than many other nations. Noting that a number of European Union States and Turkey possessed nuclear weapons in flagrant violation of the Treaty, he recalled that Syria had submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council in 2003 calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. However, that draft had met objection by the United States, which had vetoed it. “The only nuclear threat in the Middle East is that represented by Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and the means of delivery,” he stressed. European countries had long provided Israel with both nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, which could now reach a distance of more than 5,000 kilometres.
He said such activities demonstrated the selectivity and double standards at play. The Agency had never condemned Israel’s military aggression and its refusal to cooperate with IAEA inspectors to verify the source of probable pollution from Israeli reactors. The Agency had not taken action in response to Israel’s recent military aggression against Syria, he said, also raising questions about the credibility of information provided to the Agency about a 2007 Israeli bombing of a building in Syria. He called on the IAEA to take action with regard to Israel’s nuclear weapons.
DARREN HANSEN (Australia) noted that his country regularly made in-kind and extrabudgetary contributions to the Agency’s work, including under the Peaceful Uses Initiative. It was active in helping secure the global supply of potentially life-saving radiopharmaceuticals, including through the new export-scale molybdenum-99 radiopharmaceutical manufacturing plant, which would have the capacity to meet 20 to 25 per cent of the world’s demand once it came online. Australia continued to encourage all countries to develop and implement effective safeguards, and for those who had not yet done so, to bring into force the Additional Protocol. It would continue to support the effective implementation of safeguards through such forums as the Asia-Pacific Safeguards Network and the Australia Safeguards Support Programme. Australia remained concerned that the Agency had not been able to implement any verification measures in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since April 2009, and welcomed the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2321 (2016). It was vitally important for that country to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes and abide by its international obligations to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) welcomed the readiness of the Agency to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and demonstrate that nuclear energy could be a viable option to mitigate climate change. Through its verification activities, the Agency played a vital role in international peace and security. Morocco respected its non-proliferation obligations and fully complied with the Agency in that regard. He deplored that the implementation of the safeguard regime had seen no progress in the Middle East, calling for a stepping up of efforts aimed at achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world as the final non-proliferation safeguard. Morocco had made progress in the areas of water management and cancer research and had become a major regional player in technical assistance. It had also played a regional role in promoting the Agency’s standards and the safe use of nuclear power and enhancing nuclear security. Morocco had participated in initiatives to combat nuclear terrorism and other efforts aimed at promoting the political exchange of experience.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said activities aimed at facilitating the implementation of Member States’ safeguard obligations had been carried out in consultation with them. Those efforts were instrumental in global non-proliferation efforts and the Agency’s central role in promoting the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. Malaysia remained committed to supporting that crucial framework, which should continue to be a key driver for Member States’ efforts in achieving sustainable socioeconomic development. He encouraged Member States to collectively fulfil their financial obligations in a timely manner to ensure sufficient, assured and predictable resources for the Agency.