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Director General's Statement to Sixty-First Regular Session of IAEA General Conference

Vienna Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses delegates at the 61st IAEA General Conference, Vienna, Austria, 18 September 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Madam President,

I am very pleased to welcome all participants to the 61st General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA’s 60th anniversary year is drawing to a close. In the past six decades, the Agency has contributed to international peace and security and made a real difference to the lives of millions of people.

Thanks to the support of Member States and the dedication of our excellent staff, we can take pride in important achievements in all areas of our work.

Since becoming Director General nearly eight years ago, I have focused on ensuring that the IAEA remains an international organisation of excellence that delivers concrete results promptly.  

Madam President,

Since the last General Conference, we have continued to verify and monitor the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented. Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue.   

Madam President,

The nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a matter of grave concern.

The nuclear test by the DPRK on September 3rd, its sixth and largest to date, is extremely regrettable.

I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA. The Agency is working to maintain its readiness to return to the DPRK when political developments make this possible.

Madam President,

The first International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme greatly enhanced awareness of our unique role in transferring nuclear technology to developing countries. In order for us to fulfil this role, it is important that all countries contribute on time and in full to the TC Fund.

The TC programme helps countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in energy, food and agriculture, industry and water management, as well as in health.

The modernisation of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf continues to make excellent progress. The new Insect Pest Control Laboratory will be inaugurated a week from today.

When completed in a few years’ time, the expanded laboratory complex will greatly increase our capabilities as a technology holder, to the benefit of all 168 IAEA Member States.

Madam President,

Nuclear power plays a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security. The Agency supports countries that wish to introduce nuclear power, or to expand existing programmes.

Last month, the IAEA LEU Bank Storage Facility was inaugurated in Kazakhstan. Establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank will provide a last-resort mechanism to give countries confidence that they will be able to meet their future needs for nuclear fuel.

The Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century will start in Abu Dhabi on October 30. I encourage all Member States to participate at ministerial level.

Madam President,

Safety and security are extremely important in all uses of nuclear technology, whether for power or non-power purposes. They are national responsibilities, but the IAEA plays the central role in ensuring effective international cooperation.

Lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident have now been incorporated into all IAEA nuclear safety requirements, ensuring that they become part of global safety practice. Safety culture must continue to be strengthened.

Our Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Security last December was a great success. I am pleased that the Board adopted the Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021 last week by consensus. The IAEA will continue its work as the global platform for strengthening nuclear security.

Madam President,

Sound management of limited resources is essential if the Agency is to be able to meet the growing needs of Member States.

We are continuously implementing efficiency measures, but demands for Agency support are increasing. We will continue to strike a balance between those real needs and the reality that many Member States face continued financial constraints.

Modest real increases in our budget in recent years have been very helpful in enabling us to address priority areas such as technical cooperation and nuclear safety and security.

I count on Member States to support modest real increases in the IAEA budget in the coming years.

The proportion of women in the Professional and higher categories on IAEA staff is higher than it has ever been. I am confident that, with the active support of Member States, it will continue to grow.

Finally, Madam President, I thank the staff of the Agency for their commitment and dedication. I share the great pride which IAEA staff take in their work.

I thank all IAEA Member States for their active support for the Agency and for me personally. And I am very grateful to Austria for being a generous and welcoming host country.

Under our Atoms for Peace and Development motto, the Agency will continue to deliver high-quality programmes and respond promptly to Member State needs.

Thank you.

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Last update: 20 September 2017