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IAEA Member States Pay Tribute to Late Director General Yukiya Amano

IAEA Member States held a minute of silence for the late Director General Yukiya Amano, who passed away last week. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

During a Board of Governors meeting held today, IAEA Member States paid their respects to Director General Yukiya Amano, who passed away last week. Delegations expressed deep sadness and a sense of great loss at his passing, commending Mr Amano for his dedication and devotion to the work of the Agency and to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology for the benefit of people around the world.

At the start of the meeting at the IAEA’s headquarters, Member States held a minute of silence in memory of the late Director General, followed by heartfelt tributes from 75 delegates, most of them speaking on behalf of their countries but some also for regional groups. Several delegates fondly recalled personal memories of their interaction with the Director General, who during his decade-long tenure at the helm of the IAEA visited many Member States more than once. They thanked him for his deep commitment to the IAEA and for his drive in strengthening its activities.

Mr Amano was praised for the concrete results the Agency delivered under his leadership, which helped countries achieve their development objectives in the areas of health, food and energy security, among many others. He was also praised for his efforts on gender equality. Under Mr Amano, the IAEA’s motto Atoms for Peace was modified to Atoms for Peace and Development, to reflect the growing role played by nuclear technology in improving the lives of millions.  

His determination in making the IAEA a centre of scientific excellence in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology was also remembered, particularly in modernizing the IAEA’s laboratories under the ReNuAL project.

Recalling Mr Amano’s long and distinguished diplomatic career at the service of non-proliferation, delegates expressed great appreciation for how he guided the Agency with “uncompromised seriousness” and “unwavering determination” through challenging times. Under him, the Agency’s reputation for professionalism, technical expertise, independence and impartiality was further strengthened, delegates said.

On behalf of the IAEA, Deputy Director General Mary Alice Hayward thanked Member States for the “very warm words of condolences”.

At the end of the meeting, the Board designated Cornel Feruta as acting Director General, until a new Director General assumes office.

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