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Statement at FAO Conference and Signing Ceremony

Rome, Italy | FAO Conference and Signing Ceremony

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to attend this FAO Conference.

Director General Graziano da Silva and I have just signed revised Joint Arrangements between the FAO and the IAEA.

Our two Organizations have made an important contribution to combating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition since we joined forces in 1964 to create the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.

The Joint Division has helped to unlock the potential of nuclear technology for the benefit of many hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries.

Our cooperation continues to evolve. With the support of the FAO, the IAEA has proposed that it should become a member of the Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis.

The IAEA is often described in the media as the UN "nuclear watchdog". But we are much more than that. By making nuclear technology available, we make a unique contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially in ending poverty and hunger, as well as in child and maternal health.

I have been impressed by the impact our projects have had in improving lives in many developing countries.

In Peru, I met farmers who grow new types of barley at high altitudes, thanks to radiation-induced mutation techniques made available with our assistance. In Ethiopia, I learned how the sterile insect technique is being used successfully to eradicate the tsetse fly in the Southern Rift Valley. This has the potential to save the lives of millions of cattle and protect the livelihoods of over 100 000 farming families.

A major success story was the role played by the Joint Division in the eradication of the deadly cattle disease rinderpest.

Our work can also have a favourable impact on the environment, resulting in less use of fertiliser and more efficient use of water.

The Joint Division provides scientific and technical support for over 250 national and regional IAEA Technical Cooperation Projects in Member States. Some 500 research institutions and experimental stations in Member States participate in Coordinated Research Projects every year.

Our eight nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna are unique within the UN system. They are doing pioneering work related to human and animal health, food security and safety, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. We are finalizing plans for an extensive modernization of the laboratories in the next few years.

Last year, we organized a Scientific Forum in Vienna entitled Food for the Future: Meeting the Challenges with Nuclear Applications. I am very grateful for the active participation of the FAO, which helped to make the event a great success.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division, and the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, are a successful example of inter-agency cooperation in the United Nations.

In signing the Revised Arrangements today, we reconfirm our commitment to this very effective partnership.

Our work helps to reduce poverty, improve food security and combat disease. This brings us a step closer to the sort of world we all want to see.

The IAEA greatly values our collaboration with the FAO. I thank you, Director General, for your commitment to our joint endeavours. And I assure you that I remain committed to strengthening cooperation between our two organizations in the coming years.

Thank you.


Last update: 26 July 2017