|IAEA Technical Co-operation - A Partner in Development|
FOREWORDThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations specialized organization of modest size, but with an enormously important mandate - promoting the safe and peaceful applications of atomic energy while guarding against its destructive use. It is an appropriate moment to take stock of the Agency's accomplishments to date, and to examine its prospective role in addressing some of the key challenges confronting the global community as we move into the 21st Century.
The IAEA is less well known for its development assistance work than for its activities in nuclear safety and enforcing international non-proliferation accords. But over the course of more than three decades, IAEA's "Technical Co-operation" (TC) Programme has helped to build the foundations for effectively applying nuclear-related technologies in dozens of developing countries. The degree of sophistication of many nuclear applications has made this "capacity building" phase a complex process entailing many stages of education and training, sharing of research, development and refinement of appropriate equipment and facilities and international co-ordination of efforts.
IAEA counterpart institutions and personnel in many developing countries now rival those in the industrialized world in terms of capabilities and expertise. Many of them are utilizing nuclear technologies to generate electric power, to advance their industries and modernize their agriculture and to analyze and control urban, industrial and marine pollution. Also adopting nuclear technologies are the less-developed countries. Today, they too are well positioned to apply high-technologies to many of their most fundamental and far-reaching developmental challenges: providing adequate food and water supplies; building basic human health services; industrializing; and controlling environmental pollution.
One critical challenge in the 21st Century will be improving the well-being of the poor majority in the developing world, and doing so in a sustainable fashion. Reaching people in the developing world with safe, proven and sustainable applications of nuclear science and technology is the paramount goal of IAEA Technical Co-operation in the next century. This booklet presents some of IAEA's recent experiences in applying such specialized knowledge in pursuit of this goal. It is a record that offers hope about our common future.