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Increasing the impact of nuclear science for development through the Peaceful Uses Initiative

Rafael Mariano Grossi

“The IAEA is looking to accelerate progress in peaceful uses of nuclear applications.”
— Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, IAEA

This year marks a decade of action under the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI). Far reaching in scope and impact, the PUI has enabled us to expand our horizons to support developing Member States and confront some of the most pressing and — at times — unanticipated global challenges. From supporting cancer control programmes, to increasing food security and enhancing nuclear safety, projects under the PUI have been instrumental in increasing the contribution of the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology to development.

In the last ten years, the initiative has mobilized €174 million in extrabudgetary contributions from 24 countries, the European Commission and the private sector. More than 300 projects have been implemented, benefiting over 150 Member States (read more here). Several countries have made multi-year funding pledges to the PUI, making funding more reliable. This is particularly beneficial for long-term, large-scale projects where predictability is key. As the world faced unexpected challenges, such as the Zika virus disease and now COVID-19, the PUI has enabled the IAEA to respond quickly and flexibly to the evolving priorities of Member States.

I invite you to reflect not only on our accomplishments, but also on the possibilities and opportunities for greater impact on the well-being and livelihood of billions of people, as well as the protection of our planet. This edition of the IAEA Bulletin demonstrates how the PUI has unlocked the diverse capabilities of the IAEA and our partners, and how the use of nuclear and related techniques has made a difference for millions around the world. 

But we cannot stop there. The IAEA is looking to accelerate progress in peaceful uses of nuclear applications. To this end, we are launching programmes to prevent zoonotic diseases and tackle plastic pollution, among others. Support through the PUI will be instrumental in delivering on these priorities.

In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the IAEA facilitates the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VETLAB) Network, which provides the foundation of our new programme on zoonotic diseases. Our work on ocean research using nuclear and isotopic techniques will be one of the pillars of our new plastics initiative.

In this edition, you can read about these and other projects made possible through PUI support.

We also discuss the complementarity between the PUI and the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (read here). It is highlighted that the goal of the PUI is not only to raise funds, but also to develop projects that will make an impact on people’s lives (read here). You will also see examples of South–South cooperation, where a country is both benefiting from the PUI and contributing to it (read here).

The PUI epitomizes the mission of the IAEA — uniting the best of science, technology and human ingenuity from around the world for the greater good. The IAEA takes pride in reaching the ten-year milestone and will certainly — with the support of our Member States — keep fuelling the momentum to achieve even more in the years to come.

November, 2020
Vol. 61-4

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