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Director General's Remarks at Insect Pest Control Laboratory Inauguration

Vienna Austria

The new IAEA/FAO Insect Pest Control Laboratory was inaugurated today at a ceremony in Seibersdorf, Austria. From left: FAO Assistant Director General Ren Wang, German Ambassador Friedrich Däuble, Austrian Ambassador Christine Stix-Hackl, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, Indonesian Ambassador Darmansjah Djumala, South African Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo. (Photo: S. Gas/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us today. We are here to mark a great milestone in the ReNuAL project – the inauguration of the new Insect Pest Control Laboratory.

When we broke ground here three years ago, the place where we now stand was an empty field of grass. Today, I hope that all of you are as proud as I am to see new laboratory buildings beginning to occupy this space.  

This building would not be here without you, the Member States of the IAEA. I warmly thank all of the donors for their great generosity. I am especially grateful to the United States for its additional pledge during last week’s General Conference of a further 3.1 million US dollars, and to Germany for its further pledge of one million euros.

Member States have now contributed around 30 million euros in extrabudgetary funds for ReNuAL and ReNuAL+. As you can see, that money has been put to good use. I congratulate Aldo and his excellent team for working tirelessly to raise the funds required, and for implementing these hugely important projects professionally and efficiently.

We still face a shortfall of 1.1 million euros. We need this sum as soon as possible in order to fully fund the Flexible Modular Laboratory, which is under construction behind us. This will ensure that the work remains on schedule. I encourage all Member States in a position to do so to contribute.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many of you will have visited the current Insect Pest Control Laboratory that is still in use on the other side of the site. It is a patchwork of old buildings and containers that is no longer fit for purpose. Despite these challenges, our insect pest control experts have shown tremendous dedication to their work and to meeting the needs of Member States.

When an outbreak of the Mediterranean fruit fly occurred in the Dominican Republic in 2015, our scientists acted quickly to help the government eliminate this very serious threat to the country’s economy.  The support of the IPCL proved essential in bringing Senegal to the point of eradicating the tsetse fly, which transmits deadly diseases that affect both cattle and people. Within just a few years, the lab became the global leader in the development of the sterile insect technique to control mosquitoes and the terrible human diseases they carry.

The IPCL offers a very tangible example of the enormous practical benefits of nuclear science and technology. This is core IAEA business. With new and modern facilities, the IPCL will in future be able to do even more to help Member States control insect pests that endanger our crops, our livestock and our health.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The modernisation of the nuclear applications laboratories is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the Agency. These are your laboratories. The benefits will be felt by Member States for decades.

I express my special gratitude to the Co-Chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL, Ambassador Seokolo and Ambassador Däuble. Their energetic support has been essential in getting us to where we are today.

And I thank Assistant Director General Wang for the continuing strong partnership that we enjoy with the FAO.

These new laboratories will greatly strengthen the support we are able to provide to our Member States through the Joint FAO/IAEA Division for decades to come.

Thank you.

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