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Statement by H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieiris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at the debate on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Wednesday, 08 November 2023
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York


Statement by H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieiris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
at the debate on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency -
08 November 2023 during the 78 Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President, my delegation concurs with the observation made by the DG of the IAEA, Dr. Grossy that the IAEA is a formidable institution that deals with issues of war and peace, of human health of energy, food and water all of which are fundamental concerns of all human beings. Dr. Grossy and his team must be congratulated for facilitating the peaceful application of nuclear technology in various sectors including health care, agriculture and energy production. We also note that through its technical cooperation programmes, the agency has assisted developing countries in harnessing nuclear technology for socio economic development, improving health care services enhancing agricultural productivity and giving greater access to clean and sustainable energy sources. It must be noted that the IAEA have played a critical role in fortifying the emergency preparedness and response capabilities of Member States.  In doing so, the IAEA has provided training, guidance and support during nuclear emergencies, the agency has also helped facilitate effective and coordinating international responses.  Thereby reducing potential risk and mitigating the consequences. Sri Lanka acknowledges the agencies dedication expertise and commitment to fulfilling its mandate.

As reflected in the Annual Report, we note with appreciation the significant adaptations in the Agency’s methods of work to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of its mandate in peaceful uses of nuclear technology, enhancing nuclear safety and security as well as nuclear verification and safeguards.

The Technical Cooperation activities of the Agency, are more than ever, vital for a developing country such as Sri Lanka.

Mr. President, Supporting the IAEA amongst other reasons is crucial for ensuring effective nuclear supervision and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, principally as it plays a vital role in verifying that member states comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Mr. President, you will however appreciate that we always have areas where improvement can be suggested for greater supervision. Permit me to mention a few; we believe that to minimize the risk of proliferation requires more rigorous inspection improve technology and increase transparency.  Secondly, we can improve in the provision of better coordination with member states providing timely and accurate information and facilitating international cooperation in the case of accidents or incidents.  Thirdly, we ask that there will be a wider scope in its technical cooperation programmes to assist member states particularly developing countries in building their nuclear infrastructure and capabilities by providing more opportunities for training and expertise and the resources to enhance safety, security and peaceful application of nuclear technology. We would offer grater encouragement to continue to promote and encourage universal adherence to international treaties and agreements connected with nuclear energy and non-proliferation which could involve diplomatic efforts, advocacy and dialogue with member states.  We also believe that it might be useful to enhance the IAEA’s mechanism for information sharing among member states by creating a more active and secure platform for sharing data, research and best practices related to nuclear energy, safety and security. We are appreciative of the fact that the IAEA relies on voluntary contributions from member states which mechanism can limit its capacity to be more effective.  We strongly recommend advocating for increased funding and resources to enhance the agency to increase its ability to conduct inspections provide technical assistance and support member states in implementing nuclear safeguards and security measures. My delegation also believes that the IAEA could in collaboration with member states develop and strengthen legal frameworks relevant to nuclear energy and security that could contribute in promoting the adoption of international conventions, protocols and guidelines that would provide a clear legal basis for the work of the agency. It is also recommended that the IAEA enhances it communication and outreach efforts to engage with the public, academia and other stakeholders through which the agency can foster greater understating and support for its work.  Needless to say the requirement for capacity building initiatives to help member states develop their own capacities cannot be overstated. My delegation believes that training programmes technical assistance and knowledge sharing can empower member states to take ownership of their nuclear portograms whilst at the same time ensuring effective supervision at the national level.

Respecting the right of all state parties to peaceful use of nuclear energy, we believe, is very much in keeping with the letter and 3 spirit of the realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. We emphasize the importance of building and strengthening capacities in all Member States, especially the developing states and appreciate the assistance provided by the Agency to developing countries operating, expanding or embarking on nuclear power and radiation technology programmes in establishing or enhancing their national safety infrastructure.

In conclusion, Sri Lanka reiterate the providing increased support to the IAEA would reinforce its critical role in nuclear supervision, non-proliferation, safety and security and would contribute to a strengthening our global efforts to ensure the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy and wish the IAEA in line with its “atoms for peace and development” mandate every success in supporting countries in reaching the sustainable development goals nine of which engages directly with the use of nuclear science and technology.    Mr. President, Sri Lanka firmly believes in the unlimited positive potential of the IAEA by effectively sharing the benefits of safe and secure applications of nuclear technology. Sri Lanka and looks forward to continued meaningful cooperation in the coming year with the IAEA.

Link to the Video : https://youtu.be/MnNvRTqI7JE