Statement to the 53rd Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference 2009

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Designate Mr. Yukiya Amano

Madam President, Director-General, Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, Madam President, on your appointment as the President of the General Conference. Presiding over this Conference could be a difficult and complicated task, but I am confident that this Conference will bring about fruitful results under your able leadership.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

It is truly a great honor for me that the General Conference has approved my appointment as the next Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. I humbly accept the appointment to this prominent post and express my sincere gratitude to the Member States for their support and trust.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my profound respect to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei for his outstanding contribution to the IAEA during his 12-year tenure. His tireless efforts and selfless dedication towards world peace and prosperity through the activities of the IAEA will undoubtedly be remembered, and I sincerely wish you, Dr. ElBaradei, good health and all the very best for your future.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

It seems to me that my appointment is made during a period in which the situation surrounding the IAEA is slowly, but continuously, changing. These changes include; increasing risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the rise in demand for energy coupled with concerns about increased emission of Green House Gas, food security, water availability, human health and continuing difficulties of the global economy, among others. All of these challenges are global issues, and the Agency has the ability and responsibility to address them by using nuclear technologies.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

Let me now elaborate my thinking on these issues a little bit further.

Nuclear power generation can be an option to meet the increasing needs of energy without emitting significant amounts of Green House Gas. Both developed and developing countries must be able to enjoy its advantages if they decide to introduce it. The application of radioisotopes will provide us with various benefits, including a boost in food production. Nuclear medicine is an effective tool to protect human health, especially in the fight against cancer. Natural resources such as water can be better managed by the use of nuclear technology.

In these endeavors, technical cooperation of the Agency deserves particular attention, as cooperation is indispensable in enabling all the people in the world to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Other important issues are nuclear safety and security. Ensuring safety and security is critical in gaining the international community´s wider support and better recognition of nuclear technology as a safe and secure technology. The Agency should continue to play a vital role in these fields.

Madame President, distinguished delegates,

The spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism is an increasing threat for the international community. As science and technology continue to advance, as knowledge expands and spreads, and as the movement of people and commodities becomes more salient, the world faces increasing risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. It is unlikely that this trend will ever be reversed, but rather it will continue to accelerate. Therefore, we must make further efforts to off-set this trend by universalizing and further strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, especially the Agency´s safeguards system. Safeguards agreements with states must be implemented fully, professionally, and impartially with the full cooperation from all the states concerned. These efforts, in their turn, will facilitate the increased uses of nuclear energy.

I have touched on various worrying aspects, but let´s not overlook a recent positive development, which is an emerging hope for progress in nuclear disarmament. If this hope is translated into a concrete result, the IAEA may have a role to play in verification.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

Whilst the IAEA is well placed to address the global issues that I just mentioned, its contribution can be maximized only when it pursues its dual-objective, namely ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the one hand and promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including technical cooperation, on the other. Merely being a "Nuclear Watchdog" does not suffice. Promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy alone is not enough. The IAEA needs to pursue its dual objective in a balanced manner in addressing the global issues.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

I have stressed the advantages of the Agency, but the IAEA can not address these global issues alone. There are a lot of other players and stakeholders sharing the same objectives with the Agency at various levels. It is, therefore, a "must" for the Agency to co-operate with Member States, international and regional organizations, international forums and civil societies. I will identify and build on comparative advantages of the Agency and, thereby, achieve greater synergy in a wider context.

Turning our eyes to management, constant efforts to enhance the quality of management are needed for the Agency to remain an effective and efficient organization.

Areas of priorities must be clearly defined to make maximum use of available resources. Waste of resources, if there is any, must be eliminated. Communication between the Secretariat and Member States and between different branches of the Secretariat must continue to be improved to enhance efficiency and remove duplication. These efforts are particularly needed should the General Conference approve the increase in the Agency budget despite the difficult global economic situation.

In this regard, we should not forget that the Agency has an excellent and dedicated body of staff, in which I have full confidence. Their expertise and professional skills combined are the Agency´s greatest asset. As the Chief Administrative Officer, it will be my responsibility to maintain the best possible working environment, which is an area I aim to further build on.

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

Today, I have been entrusted with the responsibilities of the "chief administrative officer" of the Agency. I hereby pledge to manage the Agency in an impartial and reliable manner, under the authority and subject to the control of the Board of Governors, and for the benefit of all Member States of the IAEA.

Having been stationed here in Vienna as Ambassador and Governor of Japan until August of this year, I am honored to have been able to meet, get to know and form friendships with so many truly distinguished Governors and Ambassadors. I sincerely hope to maintain the good contact we have enjoyed over the past years and to continue to build on this close cooperation in all areas.

Madam President, Distinguished delegates,

In conclusion, it is my belief that the IAEA is well positioned to address various global issues through its activities by using nuclear technologies. The chance for contribution and success, however, will be maximized only when the Agency pursues its dual objective in a balanced manner. Constant efforts must be made to ensure and further enhance its quality of management. The staff of the Agency is its greatest asset to achieve the Agency´s objectives.

Having these in mind, I am looking forward to working in close co-operation with all of you, so that the Agency can contribute to addressing the global issues that we face, as a united and unified organization.

Last update: 24 October 2014