The IAEA's work in nuclear safeguards has earned the organization the moniker "nuclear watchdog". And while that is a big part of what we do, the IAEA also expends significant effort, financial, and human resources on development activities.
Health, food, agriculture, energy, water, the environment, radioisotope production and radiation technology are some of the key areas where the IAEA's support for its Member States is critical to their continued development.
These activities are not undertaken in isolation, but are in line with national development priorities and with the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
So the Implementation Forum on the margins of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) 2013 is an ideal opportunity to highlight the IAEA's contribution to the progression of the global development agenda.
Two of the Agency's projects - on desertification and regional water management - are being highlighted on the Implementation Forum's Website.
Tools to Tackle Desertification
By combining the specialised skills and expertise of the IAEA and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), countries facing increased soil salinity and desertification can apply nuclear technology to improve food security, combat poverty and ensure environmental sustainability.
Through its Technical Cooperation Programme, the IAEA is teaching countries how to use radionuclide and stable isotopic techniques to study soil erosion and land degradation.
These capacities are essential for effective soil conservation, land use planning and decision making.
Under the cooperation agreement signed in May 2013, the IAEA and UNCCD will be able to help countries to improve their understanding of, and access to, high-quality data on land and soil dynamics.
Fifteen countries share five aquifers in the Sahel, a semi-arid region that experiences recurrent drought.
The IAEA's ground‐breaking technical cooperation project will use isotope hydrology techniques to identify aquifers' ages, origins, quality and movement within the hydrologic cycle, as well as to characterize the major aquifer systems and basins in the Sahel.
The detailed hydrological studies will cover five systems: the Iullemeden Aquifer System, the Liptako‐Gourma-Upper Volta System, the Senegalo-Mauritanian Basin, the Chad Basin and the Taoudeni Basin.
The project aims to support a rational and sustainable management of shared groundwater resources in the region that will contribute to socio-economic development. The project will strengthen capacities of professionals and institutions involved in water resources management within the Sahel.
ECOSOC, formally the Economic and Social Council, is the UN body that discusses and debates the world's economic, social and environmental challenges and the body from which policy recommendations are issued.
As such, ECOSOC has broad responsibility for some 70% of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system, including 14 specialized agencies, nine "functional" commissions, and five regional commissions.