Strong support for the IAEA´s work was reaffirmed by the United Nations General Assembly convening for the 63rd General Session. Following IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei´s Annual Report presented in New York on 27 October, the General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution praising the IAEA´s role in "encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses" and appealing to Member States "to continue to support the activities of the IAEA."
In his address to the 63rd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, Dr. ElBaradei reported on the IAEA´s work in the areas of technical cooperation, nuclear power, nuclear safety, security and verification, and on a comprehensive report completed this year by a distinguished external group that calls for greater financial resources and authority.
Excerpts of the Director General´s statement in key areas follow: (The full text is accessible here).
Technical Cooperation - "Technical cooperation should not be seen as part of a ´political balance´ between the development and other activities of the Agency. Our role as a development agency is as important as anything else we do. To this end, we have established effective partnerships with agencies such as the WHO and FAO. Thanks to these partnerships, many thousands of people receive radiation therapy for cancer, grow higher-yielding food crops and have access to clean drinking water."
Nuclear Power - "There are now 439 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries and the number of new plants under construction stands at 36. The IAEA advises countries considering the introduction of nuclear power, helping them to identify their options and the best energy mix for them."
Balancing Potential Risks - "We need to think seriously about some form of multinational control over the fuel cycle. This should provide assurance that every country that wants nuclear energy - and is in compliance with its safeguards obligations - has guaranteed access to a supply of nuclear fuel that will not be interrupted for political reasons."
Nuclear Security - "The Agency helps countries improve their border controls, strengthen physical protection of nuclear material and radioactive sources and enhance nuclear security at major public events, such as the Beijing Olympic Games this summer."
Nuclear Verification - "Effective nuclear verification requires four essential elements: adequate legal authority, state-of-the-art technology, timely access to all relevant information, and sufficient human and financial resources. Despite some progress, we still have shortcomings in all four areas."
Report of Commission of Eminent Persons - "The problems facing the world in the nuclear arena are plain for all of us to see. The Agency can do much to address them, if given the authority, technology and resources."