Acceptance of the Berlin Peace Clock Award

Vienna, Austria

Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications

Your Excellencies, Members of the Berlin Committee for UNESCO, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Director General, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, I am honoured to accept the award of the Berlin Peace Clock.

Dr. ElBaradei has asked me to convey to you his regrets that he is unable to be here today, and to express his deepest appreciation for the Committee´s recognition of the work of the Agency. It is indeed a great tribute to and recognition of the Agency’s mandate, which is to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity, and to ensure that assistance by the Agency is not used to further military purposes. It was set up in 1957 as the "Atoms for Peace" organisation in the United Nations system, and its role remains as important now as compared to that foreseen by its founder Member States in a very different world 47 years ago.

The Agency now is better known for the last part of the mandate - its work in nuclear safeguards and verification of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, in today´s world the Agency is rarely out of the news. The technology at our disposal; our expertise in using that technology for inspection and analysis, and above all our independence and scientific credentials are vital in maintaining the confidence of our Member States and furthering the causes of peaceful relations.

The fulfilment of the other side of our mandate also contributes to a more peaceful world. In the shadow of the publicity received by nuclear verification work, the Agency is less known for assisting Member States in serving their basic human needs. We promote the use of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture, human health; water resources management; industrial techniques, and helping to understand pollution for a cleaner environment. We work with many other partners, but often the nuclear technology brings unique solutions to some of the world’s most urgent and pressing problems.

Your Excellencies, Committee Members, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dr. ElBaradei has also asked me to inform you of the significance that he attaches to the award of the Berlin Peace Clock. It is powerful symbol of the hopes and aspirations of people everywhere. Its motto "Zeit sprengt alle Mauern", can be understood in all languages. The Agency, as an international organisation and part of the United Nations family, shares those hopes and will endeavour to repay that trust in the years to come, working for a peaceful world with no barriers between peoples. The Berlin Peace Clock will serve as a reminder of our obligations.

Thank you.

Last update: 13 November 2014