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Programme: Protection of the Marine and Terrestrial Environment

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio in 1992 produced several agreements including Agenda 21 and the 27 principles of the Rio Declaration. Many of them addressed environmental issues and emphasized that, in order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection efforts conducted at the international level should be an integral part of the development process. In 2002 this global commitment to sustainable development was once again reinvigorated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg. Here a comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved since Rio was carried out and recommendations for future actions were made for the maintenance of a high quality of the ocean and fresh waters, soil, air and other natural resources without compromising industrial and agriculture production.

In the framework of its mandate aiming at encouraging and assisting practical applications of, and research on, nuclear techniques for development and environmental health, and responding to the request of its Member States, the Agency has over the years demonstrated that these play an important role in the protection of the environment from radioactive and non-radioactive pollutants. Within this programme, the transfer and behaviour of radionuclides and non-radioactive pollutants in the marine as well as terrestrial environment are investigated to develop and improve transfer models used for impact assessments and to elaborate appropriate remediation strategies for stakeholders dealing with environmental issues. New aspects of the programme are the strengthening of radioecology for the protection of terrestrial environments and contribution to climate change investigations.

The programme will contribute to the ecological and economic sustainability and conservation of clean and healthy environments, and risk assessment and reduction for human well-being. It will further provide scientific information and assistance to international organizations such as WHO, UNDP, UNEP and FAO and enhance capacity building of Member States in Eastern Europe, South America, Africa and Asia experiencing elevated levels of radiation or pollution of either natural or anthropogenic origin.


To enhance the capability of Member States in the use of nuclear techniques for the identification and mitigation of environmental problems caused by radioactive and non-radioactive pollutants.