Closing Session

Closing remarks by Ramzi Jammal at the Seventh Review Meeting for the CNS

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vienna, Austria

Ramzi Jammal

Your excellencies, distinguished representatives of Contracting Parties, ladies and gentlemen:

It is now time to conclude the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

It has been a great honour for me to serve as the President of this Review Meeting.

I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to all Contracting Parties that have contributed to the success of this Review Meeting. You have worked hard, both here and at home.

I want to thank you for your active participation in the review process and for your dedication to improving global nuclear safety. You should congratulate yourselves on a job well done.

I would like to recognize the IAEA Secretariat colleagues who have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful review meeting.

I would also especially like to thank the vice-presidents for their leadership and advice, and all the officers of the Seventh Review Meeting, for their dedication and hard work since the organizational meeting in October 2015.

I would also like to offer a special thank you to the IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, for opening the Review Meeting (and IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo for his presence at the closing session).

Before officially closing the meeting, allow me to share with you a few closing thoughts.

As I have already mentioned on numerous occasions since I became President, my primary objectives for this Review Meeting were to increase participation and transparency. I believe we are collectively achieving this.

The Contracting Parties agreed to webcast the opening plenary and the part of the closing plenary where the summary report is approved, as well as the press conference.

This will hopefully lead to increased media interest and public awareness of the hard work the Contracting Parties do to ensure public safety and the protection of the environment.

For the first time, the Contracting Parties also approved attendance from countries that have signed the Convention but not yet ratified it.

Nine out of the 10 signatories attended the opening plenary, and I understand that 4 are here with us today.

I hope that this will lead to more countries ratifying or acceding to the Convention in the near future.

A significant number of Contracting Parties have already published their national reports on the IAEA's website or on their national website.

I also suggest that you share your country review report with the government entities which ratified or acceded to the Convention. Share with them the areas of good performance, the challenges and the suggestions.

Over the last year and a half, I have engaged with Contracting Parties and non-Contracting Parties in various ways.

These efforts and the commitment of Contracting Parties resulted in three countries becoming new Contracting Parties, and only one Contracting Party not submitting its National Report for this review cycle.

The Contracting Parties have certainly shown their strong commitment to transparency during this review process.

While we have seen much improvement in this review process, there are still some challenges ahead of us.

Some of these challenges include the need to further engage countries without nuclear power programs and countries embarking on a nuclear power program in the review process.

There is a need for all Contracting Parties to ensure that there is added value in their participation in the review process.

Several recommendations were made to that effect during the Review Meeting.

The Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety was also a significant topic of discussion during the Review Meeting. I am pleased that Contracting Parties could find a path forward to ensure that its principles will be considered in future reviews.

I would like to end my remarks with a few observations.

The peer review process is a means to an end - not the end itself.

Although this review process only happens every three years, it is important to keep the focus on the objective of maintaining a high level of nuclear safety at all times.

In the interval to the Review Meeting, I encourage all Contracting Parties to make use of other mechanisms, such as IAEA and WANO peer reviews as well as regulatory exchange of information and experiences, to continue assessing your nuclear safety framework and to ensure that improvements are implemented.

Contracting Parties have been dedicating significant resources to implementing nuclear safety enhancements in recent years, especially post-Fukushima.

I would like to commend you all in this regard, and I truly hope that each Contracting Party will remain engaged and continue to evaluate the improvements and changes to the review process to ensure that they meet the goal of improving nuclear safety globally.

Complacency is our enemy; continuously enhancing safety is a must.

Thank you for your attention. I wish you all safe travels and the best of luck.

I hereby declare the Seventh Review Meeting closed.