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Resolutions Adopted to Strengthen Nuclear Safety, Security, Science and Technology: IAEA 61st General Conference Concludes

The 61st IAEA General Conference concluded today. (Video: A. Silva, J. Weilguny/IAEA)

Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear safety and security and to further nuclear science and technology in both nuclear power and non-power nuclear applications were the focus of some of the key resolutions adopted at the 61st regular session of the IAEA General Conference, which came to a close today.

A resolution on strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of IAEA safeguards acknowledged IAEA’s safeguards as a fundamental component of nuclear non-proliferation, by providing assurance that States are complying with their obligations under relevant safeguards agreements and helping to create an environment conducive to nuclear cooperation.

At the week-long Conference, which took place from 18-22 September in Vienna, delegates also adopted a resolution to strengthen the IAEA’s technical cooperation activities, noting IAEA projects underway in a broad range of fields such as nuclear knowledge management, education and training, assisting national nuclear entities to build and enhance basic infrastructure and regulatory frameworks in this field, and improving technical capacities for ensuring sustainability. The resolution further requests effort to ensure that the Technical Cooperation programme takes into account the specific needs of each Member State, particularly developing countries and least developed countries, in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

At its Thursday and Friday afternoon plenary meetings, resolutions were adopted on the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East and implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, respectively.

IAEA resolutions and decisions will guide the IAEA’s implementation of activities in the coming year. The resolutions and decisions will be posted here as they become available.

Delegates also approved the IAEA’s Budget for 2018.

By the end of the 61st IAEA General Conference, 90 Member States have pledged to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2018. While not all Member States use the opportunity of the General Conference to pledge their contribution, a pledge by so many countries – over 50% of all IAEA Member States – represents a record. The total Technical Cooperation Fund Target for 2018 is 85.7 million euros.

The General Conference takes place annually, giving an opportunity to all IAEA Member States to jointly consider matters related to the IAEA’s ongoing work, budget and priorities. Close to 2,500 participants attended this year’s event, including delegates from 157 of the IAEA’s 168 Member States, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the media.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who was re-appointed for another four-year term, highlighted in his opening statement the IAEA’s commitment to responding promptly to Member State needs with high-quality programmes and concrete results.

Mr Amano also noted the increased awareness globally of the IAEA’s unique role in transferring nuclear technology to developing countries, its nuclear verification activities, and its work supporting countries in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Delegates at the Conference approved the application of Grenada for IAEA membership. Eleven countries have been newly elected to serve on the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors for the period 2017-2019. The newly elected Board members are Armenia, Belgium, Chile, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Sudan and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

Scientific Forum and side events

Throughout the week delegates were able to attend a selection of over 50 side-events showcasing activities and special programmes by the IAEA Secretariat, as well as several Member States, including a two-day Scientific Forum focusing on how nuclear science can play a vital role in the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of major diseases, and improve health and well-being. H.M. King Letsie III of Lesotho was the guest of honour at the Forum and gave the keynote address.

Other notable side events included a panel discussion on the added value of gender parity in organizations, and informative sessions on the use of molecular imaging to diagnose dementia, the IAEA’s nuclear security e-learning training programme, and nuclear energy innovation as part of the global response to climate change.

During the week, participants from 20 delegations visited the eight IAEA laboratories based in Seibersdorf, Austria, which deliver technical assistance to Member States in the areas of food and agriculture, human health, the environment and the development and use of nuclear scientific instruments.

The 62nd regular session of the IAEA General Conference will be held from 17-21 September 2018 at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna.

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Last update: 22 September 2017

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