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The Road to Rio+20: Applying Nuclear Technology for Sustainable Development

Click on the topics below to learn how the IAEA is contributing:
Ocean | Food | Energy | Water


NEW BROCHURE: The IAEA at Rio+20:  Nuclear Technology for a Sustainable Future
Nuclear technologies are used daily to find and protect sustainable sources of fresh water, produce energy and food,
while providing researchers the tools to study the ocean’s past and predict its future.

The IAEA works to apply nuclear technology in four of the seven areas identified as priorities for Rio+20: energy, food, water and oceans. 

Access to affordable energy is essential for attaining any development goals. The IAEA helps countries to identify their current and future energy needs, and to develop plans to meet these needs. If countries choose to pursue nuclear power, the IAEA helps them to do so safely, securely, economically and sustainably. The IAEA also verifies that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes only, thereby directly contributing to international peace and security. Its safety standards, assistance and reviews increase safety to the benefit of human health and the environment.

In agriculture and food security, nuclear techniques are used to breed improved crops, enhance livestock reproduction and nutrition, and control animal and plant pests and diseases. Higher and more reliable yields improve farmer’s livelihoods, and better quality and safer food is available for consumers. Isotopic techniques are applied for better soil and water management.

In water resource management, nuclear techniques are used to map and manage ground water resources, helping decision makers to make informed choices that will support effective and sustainable water resource management. Nuclear techniques are also used to enhance water use efficiency in agriculture, and to understand and support better management of the marine environment. Nuclear techniques are used to monitor and assess effects of climate change on the oceans, and to validate global climate models and ocean circulation models.

Various delivery mechanisms, such as the technical cooperation (TC) programme and coordinated research activities (CRAs) provide IAEA Member States with access to the benefits of nuclear technology. CRAs help countries to develop cutting edge technologies through research in nuclear techniques, and TC projects apply these methodologies to address priority development needs in areas as diverse as human health, food and agriculture, water and the environment.

Key UN documents


UN General Assembly Resolution: “The Future We Want”
September 2012 | This resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly, set the framework for recent debates on the post-2015 development agenda, with sustainable development and an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future at the centre. Read more

Realizing the Future We Want for All
June 2012 | In this report, UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda lays out its main findings and recommendations for a development agenda beyond 2015, calling for an integrated policy approach to ensure inclusive economic development, social progress and environmental sustainability, as well as a development agenda that responds to the aspirations of all people. Read more

The United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015
June 2012 | This policy note suggests some general contours for future development strategy related to the post-2015 debate, emphasizing need for the global community to take a comprehensive view of development that encompasses economic, social and environmental dimensions, while simultaneously ensuring respect for human rights and sustaining progress already achieved. Read more

Responsible/Contact: Department of Technical Cooperation | Last update: 17 Dec, 2013

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