Statement by Tareq Md Ariful Islam, Deputy Permanent Representative under Agenda Item 88: Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly on 11 November 2019
Bangladesh joins others in thanking the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for presenting his 2018 Report. We look forward to the Agency’s sustained efforts towards achieving its objectives as enshrined in its Statute.
We mourn the passing away of Yuhiya Amano, former DG of the Agency. We congratulate Ambassador Rafail Mariano Grosi for his election as the new DG of the Agency.
Bangladesh has been efficiently using nuclear techniques for peaceful purposes for quite some time now. Bangladesh considers nuclear energy as a safe, environment-friendly and economically viable source of power generation to meet the increasing demand for electricity and thus unlock our development potentials through enhanced productivity and sustained growth. However, our initiative for nuclear power generation is relatively recent. Our aim is to generate at least 4000 MW electricity from nuclear sources by 2030, which will be 10% of our total targeted electricity generation (40,000 MW) by that time.
We recognize that the right of peaceful uses of nuclear energy comes with the responsibility to ensure nuclear safety and security. The IAEA has a unique role in this regard. On one hand, it has a central role in ensuring nuclear safety and security globally. On the other, with its mandate of Atoms for Peace and Development, it is helping member states build capacity through its technical cooperation programmes. In constructing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the first in the country, we are following the highest IAEA standards.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina envisions transforming Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041. In this journey forward, we greatly value our partnership with IAEA. We concluded the IAEA Safeguard Agreement in 1982 and its Additional Protocol in 2001. Last year, we signed our Country Programme Framework for 2018-2023 with the Agency with a focus on food, agriculture, water, soil and environment, human health, nuclear power, nuclear and radiation safety and security, nuclear knowledge development and industrial applications. Our technical cooperation projects on improving food security, stress tolerant crop variety, and cancer management have proved immensely beneficial to the lives and livelihood of our people.
IAEA has long remained our main partner for the promotion of safe and secure applications of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes by way of Technical Cooperation programmes, including under the Regional Cooperative Agreement (RCA). We have received sustained cooperation for developing capacity in the application of nuclear science and techniques in sectors such as Nuclear Infrastructure and Research, Livestock, Agriculture, Health, Industry, Water Management etc. In addition, Bangladesh has benefited from IAEA’s RCA framework that continues to promote regional capabilities and expertise in different thematic areas including research reactor and radioactive waste management, nuclear safety and radiation protection. We hope that such support by the IAEA would continue in the future in response to the evolving needs and demands on the ground.
Bangladesh wishes to further enhance its engagement with IAEA in the coming days with a view to collectively enhancing global nuclear security and safety and promoting the application of nuclear science and technologies for peaceful purposes. We consider these to be of utmost importance for realizing a number of relevant SDGs, particularly by the developing and least developed countries.
I thank you.