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Slovenia strongly supports efforts aimed at achieving equal representation for women at all levels among the IAEA staff

Statement by Ambassador Andrej Benedejčič, Permanent Representative and Governor from Slovenia, at the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, on the Annual Report for 2016 (Agenda item 2), Vienna, 12 June 2017

Mr. Chairperson,

I would like to thank Director General Amano for the preparation of the Annual Report for 2016, which summarizes the numerous activities of the Agency in the past year in a comprehensive and concise manner.

In this connection, I note with satisfaction that the proportion of women in professional and higher categories reached 29% by the end of 2016 and that the percentage of women in senior management position reached 28%, which is the highest in the history of the Agency. I would therefore like to congratulate the Director General for his determination and personal engagement in achieving these positive results.  I look forward to his continued efforts to reach equal representation for women at all levels at the Agency, as announced in his statement to the Board on March 7.

Mr. Chairperson,

I would also like to take this opportunity and thank Director General for his intention to join the International Gender Champions initiative.  This is a leadership network that brings male and female decision makers together to promote gender equality and break down gender barriers. In this connection, I would like to inform fellow governors that the official launch of the initiative here in Vienna will take place the day after tomorrow during lunchtime.  I think it would be only appropriate if as many of us as possible could attend the event and thus follow the example of our colleagues who have already joined the initiative in Geneva and New York.

Mr. Chairperson,

Returning to the report, I would like to note that it describes nuclear power as a new energy source for some 30 countries. For them the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) should be the perfect Agency service to determine the status of their infrastructure. Last year such reviews were conducted in two countries and INIR follow-up missions were conducted in another two countries. This shows that embarking to nuclear power is a demanding process, where the speed of implementation often varies. 

In Slovenia, the nuclear option remains on the table for the future.  The process for extending the lifetime of the Krško NPP until 2043 is continuing in line with the already established schedule.  The 250 kW TRIGA research reactor also remains in operation.  In fact, it has recently marked it semicentennial anniversary, which is why our experts were pleased to contribute to the Agency's publication "History, Development and Future of TRIGA Research Reactors" that was published last year.

This year the Agency is involved with two of its services in Slovenia. I am therefore glad to inform that the OSART (Operational Safety Review Team) mission to the Krško NPP finished its work at the beginning of June. We are also looking forward to the EPREV (Emergency Preparedness REView) mission, which is scheduled for November.

Turning to capacity building and knowledge management, I would like to praise the Agency's activities aimed at supporting Member States in this area.  It is important that the practice of organizing meetings, workshops, training courses and schools continues.  It is also commendable that the Agency provides lecture materials and contributes to maintaining nuclear education networks and master programmes in nuclear technology.

Let me also say a couple of words about the IRRS missions.  In our view, they are an important tool for assessing the regulatory infrastructure in all Member States. By fulfilling their recommendations and suggestions the Member States can significantly improve their regulatory effectiveness. It is for this reason that every year Slovenia provides experts to numerous IRRS missions.  I would therefore like to note with satisfaction that, according to the report, last year more than 70% of IRRS recommendations and 80% of IRRS suggestions were implemented worldwide.

Mr. Chairperson,

Before concluding, I would like to underline that Slovenia has always attached special importance to nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness. In our view exercises in this area, which are performed regularly, play a crucial role in verifying and improving the status of emergency preparedness and response in Member States. The report states that last year the Agency conducted 13 Convention Exercises.  I would like to add that the Slovenian side took part in many of them. In fact at this very moment, three Slovenian experts are contributing to the Agency’s activities in this area.

Finally, I would like to commend the Agency for organizing the International Conference on Nuclear Security last December where Slovenia was represented by its Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning. We believe that the ministerial declaration has given additional momentum to the efforts of all the stakeholders that are working tirelessly in the area of nuclear security.

With this, my Delegation takes note of the Annual Report for 2016, as contained in the document GOV/2017/8.

Thank you.