STATEMENT OF THE 53rd GOVERNING BOARD OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER
The Governing Board of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) held its 53rd meeting in Moscow. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ronald Lehman.
Representatives of various ISTC Parties attended the meeting, including Canada, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan participated as rotating CIS Board member.
The Governing Board called for an orderly wind down of the ISTC in Russia and continued the discussion about a new multilateral framework for scientific and technological cooperation.
The Board was informed by the Russian party about the modalities for the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from ISTC. The Russian Federation confirms that all projects approved for funding will be completed and that during their implementation period and until completion of the Russian withdrawal all provisions of the ISTC Agreement will remain in force. After the completion of the projects, the Russian party will send a written notification to the other ISTC parties on its withdrawal. After 6 months of the written notification to the parties i.e. 2015 the Russian Federation will withdraw from the ISTC Agreement.
The funding parties welcomed the willingness of the Russian Federation to conduct consultations on all aspects of its withdrawal plans in order to achieve an orderly wind down of ISTC operations in Russia. In addition to establishing a timeline for completion of projects in the Russian Federation, these consultations will also address critical issues like the tax free transfer to Russian research institutes of equipment and materials to which ISTC now holds legal title, the repayment of outstanding loans, the reimbursement of the funds invested into the ISTC Secretariat building, the development of a plan for the disposition of ISTC archives, and other related matters.
Canada, the EU, Japan, the USA and the representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Tajikistan stressed the importance of the work ISTC has carried out in those countries. The shared view was that such activities should continue after the withdrawal of Russia from the 1992 Agreement and that this cooperation could take place under the conditions established by the current Agreement.
They instructed the Executive Director to make the necessary preparations to transform the current ISTC Branch Office in Kazakhstan into a main office.
The Governing Board agreed on the desirability of continuing discussions regarding the possible establishment of a new multilateral framework for scientific and technological cooperation based on the objectives and principles identified in the report of the working party adopted by the Governing Board on 14 July 2010. The parties agreed that such discussions should continue in a variety of venues and should include consideration of the many issues associated with multilateral scientific and technical, as well as nonproliferation cooperation.
The Governing Board instructed the Executive Director to take the necessary steps to transfer ownership of all ISTC-owned equipment to the institutes storing the equipment once the appropriate conditions for such transfer have been agreed upon with the relevant authorities in Russia and in the non Russian ISTC member countries of the former Soviet Union.
The representatives from the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan agreed to work with the Secretariat to resolve this issue.
The Governing Board reconfirmed its position that, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the ISTC Agreement, neither party nor ISTC funds are to be used to pay local taxes: any tariffs, dues, customs duties, import taxes, and other similar taxes or charges imposed by the Russian Federation and the other ISTC countries of the CIS and Georgia.
The Governing Board stated its support for the Russian Federation’s efforts to find solutions to this matter.
The Governing Board approved a supplemental program to support expert reviews of ISTC projects in various sectors. The topics of the reviews will include, but not be limited to nuclear safeguards, safety, security and related issues; nuclear reactor technology development; technologies to support oil and gas research; research to support energy requirements (e.g. renewable energy, energy storage, energy transmission); and medicine.
The situation after Fukushima shows the importance of international cooperation. The ISTC has finalized a review of the results of its scientific and technological work in the nuclear sector. The Governing Board is of the opinion that various results could be of use to solve some of the current problems in and around Fukushima.
Seeking to stimulate more in depth discussions on the outcome of the relevant work of ISTC together with the researchers and other relevant persons from Russia, Japan and other ISTC member countries, the ISTC Governing Board decided on the establishment of a new supplemental program to facilitate exchanges of views between all interested parties on Cooperation and Support for Nuclear Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation, Remediation, and Monitoring. The US pledged $2M for this work.
The Governing Board approved a supplemental program to support the participation of Russian scientists under a program related to Emergency Preparedness and Response, Rehabilitation, Remediation and Monitoring in North-West Russia, in the Kara Sea and the Arctic Marine Environment. Implementation of the program may start after internal concurrence with the Russian agencies to be completed within the shortest possible term.
The Governing Board noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the sustainability planning program and asked the Secretariat to be kept informed on their further results. The financing of the sustainability plans respectively for the Pulse Institute, Moscow and the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kazakhstan will be further examined.
The Governing Board approved the final Project Funding Worksheet (FS53). The ISTC approved 2 new projects representing over 494,880 USD in new funding for activities in the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The total sum for partner projects approved between December 2010 and June 2011 is 1,039,840 USD for 6 new partner projects
The Governing Board noted with sadness the passing away of His Excellency Academician Mr. Victor N. Mikhailov being one of the founding fathers of ISTC. Mr. Mikhailov is remembered for his great leadership during the first years of the establishment of ISTC and his understanding of the importance of international scientific and technological cooperation.
The Governing Board recognized the loss of Mr. Viktor Emelyanov, an employee of the ISTC Secretariat, who served the organization for more than a decade. He is very much remembered for his important work under the ISTC Targeted Initiative on fuel cells.
The Governing Board also recognized the passing away of Mr. Sergey Shestakov as member of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the ISTC Governing bodies. Mr. Shestakov is remembered for his substantial work very much carried out in a collegial spirit.
The Governing Board approved the extension of Mr. Ronald F. Lehman II as ISTC Chairman until March 2013.
The Governing Board noted the approval by written procedure of the appointment of
Dr. Orihiko Togawa as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for a 5-year term.
The Governing Board thanked Mr. Victor E. Alessi for his valuable contribution to the work of Governing Board of ISTC in his function as Board Member and Acting Chairman for many years. Mr. Alessi is recognized as one of the founding fathers of ISTC.
The Governing Board equally thanked Mrs. Sharon White for her contribution to the work of ISTC as member of US delegation. The Board was in particular grateful for her performance in her tasks as Co-Chair of the Working Party on the future of ISTC. It welcomed Ms. Anne Harrington and Mr. Simon Limage for their participation on behalf of the United States.
The Governing Board thanked Mr. Marcus Cornaro and Mr. Jean-Paul Joulia for their contribution to the work of ISTC respectively in the capacity of GB and CC member on behalf of the European Union. It welcomed Mr. Kristian Schmidt for his participation on behalf of the European Union as the new Board member.
The Governing Board noted the approval by written procedure of the appointment of Sergey Vorobiev to serve as the ISTC Principal Deputy Executive Director until 15 April 2012.
The Governing Board thanked Mr. Waclaw Gudowski for his valuable contribution to the work of the ISTC Secretariat. The Board stressed his important work in the field of nuclear science as well as with respect to the excellent functioning of the Scientific Advisory Committee.
The Governing Board decided to convene the next Plenary Session on 8 December 2011 in Moscow.