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26 May 2014 | Vienna, Austria
50th Anniversary of Group of 77 (G77)

Statement at Event Marking 50th Anniversary of G77

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Good afternoon, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to speak at this event marking the 50th anniversary of the Group of 77.

The G77 is a very important body within the IAEA. It is effective in making its voice heard. I am grateful for the role which the G77 plays in the work of the Agency and for the support which you have given to the IAEA.

The IAEA is often described as the world's nuclear watchdog. But, in fact, we do much more than helping to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. An equally important part of our mandate is to make peaceful nuclear science and technology available to all countries, including in the developing world.

We help countries to improve human health, fight cancer and improve nutrition. We help to improve access to electricity. We help to increase food production, manage scarce water resources and monitor environmental pollution. All of these are areas where nuclear techniques have an important role to play.

As a scientific and technical organisation, the IAEA is an important partner in development. Through our technical cooperation programme, we assist developing countries in addressing the basic human needs of their people through technology transfer and capacity-building.

I visit around 30 countries every year. Everywhere I go, I see IAEA technical cooperation projects in action. I meet farmers, fishermen and cancer patients whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the work of the IAEA. This is one of the most gratifying aspects of my work.

The IAEA makes an important and unique contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This is not always recognised. I am doing my best to raise awareness of our role. I would like to see better recognition of the importance of science and technology, including nuclear related technology, in the global development agenda.

It is, of course, Member States who decide the development agenda. But G77 countries can play a decisive role in raising awareness of the important role of nuclear technology in development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA is embarking on an ambitious project to modernise our nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, near Vienna. These eight laboratories, which celebrated their own 50th birthday two years ago, are unique within the United Nations system.

They help to meet the development objectives of Member States in food and agriculture, human health, environmental monitoring and the use of nuclear instruments. They carry out applied research and development, as well as providing training and technical and analytical services.

I plan to hold a ground-breaking ceremony in September to formally start construction of the new labs. When finished in a few years' time, the nuclear applications labs will be able to offer even better services to all IAEA Member States, especially to member states of the G77.

On that optimistic note, I will conclude my remarks by warmly congratulating the G77 on its 50th anniversary. I wish you continued success in the decades to come.

Thank you.