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Technical Cooperation a Key Agenda Item at IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

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The IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses the Board of Governors. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

Director General Yukiya Amano delivered his opening statement at the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors starting today in Vienna, by addressing issues of technical cooperation, nuclear applications, nuclear energy, safety and security, and nuclear verification.

The 648 proposed new technical cooperation projects for 2016-2017 demonstrate the wide scope of the Agency’s mandate, and the positive impact of its work on the lives of people around the world, Mr Amano told the Board.

“Importantly for our work, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in September, contain explicit recognition of the importance of science and technology for development,” he said.

“The SDGs cover many areas in which the IAEA contributes a great deal,” Mr Amano added. “These include energy, food security and nutrition, human health, protection of the oceans and management of water resources, as well as climate change.”

The SDGs are a set of universal development goals, targets and indicators that countries can use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. They were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September.

IAEA Member States may choose to reflect SDG targets in their development plans, which could be reflected in their IAEA country programme frameworks, Mr Amano said.

“The TC programme will continue to respond to Member State needs and priorities.” Watch the part of his statement on the SDGs here.

Update on the lab modernization project

Mr Amano also briefed the Board on the progress of plans to modernize the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, near Vienna. The Insect Pest Control Laboratory will be the first of two new laboratory buildings scheduled for construction under the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project. Modernization of the labs will improve the IAEA’s ability to help countries use nuclear science and technology to achieve the SDGs, Mr Amano said.

Construction of the first laboratory is expected to begin next April.   Construction of the second building, the Flexible Modular Laboratory, will begin once the required funding is available, Mr Amano told the Board.

So far, some 13.9 million euros has been provided or pledged by 20 Member States for the ReNuAL project, Mr Amano said, thanking them for their support.

“However, we still need an additional 6.7 million euros. I again call on all Member States in a position to do so to contribute generously.”

Nuclear energy and climate change

Turning to nuclear energy, Mr Amano noted that the IAEA will be participating in side events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-21, that begins in Paris next week.  The objective of the conference is to reach am international agreement on combating global warming.

“Many countries expect nuclear power to play an important role in their energy mix in the coming decades,” Mr Amano said. “It is one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide among energy sources, considering emissions through the entire life cycle.”

Nuclear Safety

On nuclear safety, Mr Amano noted that his report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the final report on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety had been published in September.

“Work is underway to incorporate the output from these major undertakings into the Agency’s regular nuclear safety activities,” he said.

Nuclear Verification

In the area of nuclear verification, the IAEA is conducting preparatory activities related to the verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed between Iran and six countries and the European Union in July this year. This includes verification and monitoring of the steps Iran has begun taking towards the implementation of its commitments under the agreement, Mr Amano said.

The activities set out in the Road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme between Iran and the IAEA for the period to October 15th were completed on schedule and a wrap-up technical meeting took place on November 24th.

“Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in my report of November 2011, for action by the Board,” Mr Amano said. Watch the part of his statement on nuclear verification in Iran here.

Importantly for our work, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in September, contain explicit recognition of the importance of science and technology for development.
Yukiya Amano, Director General, IAEA

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Last update: 18 Apr 2018

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