General Conference Reaffirms Key IAEA Role in Promoting Peaceful Use of Nuclear Science and Technology

The 63rd annual IAEA General Conference concluded yesterday with resolutions adopted affirming the importance of the Agency’s role in facilitating the development and use of nuclear science and technology for peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.

The General Conference, held in Vienna annually, is an opportunity for all IAEA Member States to jointly consider matters related to the IAEA’s ongoing work, budget and priorities. This year over 3000 participants attended the event, including delegates from 152 of the IAEA’s 171 Member States, and from international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the media.

In his opening statement Acting IAEA Director General Cornel Feruta highlighted the IAEA’s unique range of services in the field of nuclear science and technology and how these contribute directly to the achievement of nine of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Feruta also emphasized the Agency’s essential role in verifying that nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful activities and its extensive work in helping Member States to keep nuclear and radioactive material and technologies safe and secure.

Conference delegates adopted resolutions on strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications; strengthening its technical cooperation activities, and strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of IAEA safeguards.

Resolutions were adopted on the implementation of the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) safeguards agreement between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and on the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East.

Further resolutions were adopted on nuclear and radiation safety and on nuclear security.

The General Conference approved the Agency’s Financial Statements for 2018, and Programme and Budget for 2020-2021.

IAEA resolutions and decisions will guide the IAEA’s implementation of activities in the coming year. The resolutions and decisions will be posted here as they become available.

By the end of the 63rd General Conference, 94 Member States had pledged to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2020. While not all Member States pledge their contributions at the General Conference, pledges by so many countries � around 55% of all IAEA Member States � represent a record.

The total amount pledged against the 88.1 million euro Technical Cooperation Fund target for 2020 is 29 995 934 euros, representing 34.1% of the target. This is also the highest amount of pledges ever received as of the end of an IAEA General Conference.

The General Conference elected 11 countries to serve on the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors for the period 2019-2020. The newly elected Board members are the following: Estonia, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia.

Scientific Forum and side events

A total of 86 side-events took place during the week showcasing the innovative work underway at the IAEA and in Member States using nuclear techniques.

A two-day Scientific Forum focussed on ‘A Decade of Action on Cancer Control and the Way Forward’. The Forum featured experts, government representatives and academics from 28 countries, who spoke about the successes and challenges in the field of nuclear medicine and cancer control, and discussed ways of maximising capacities to fight against the growing cancer burden.

Princess Chulabhorn, President of the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Thailand gave the keynote address. High level speakers in the opening session included Sika Kabore, First Lady of Burkina Faso; Lalla Malika Mahamadou, First Lady of Niger; Elizabeth Zulema Tomas Gonzales, Minister of Health in Peru; Sergey Kraevoy, Deputy Minister of Health, Russian Federation; Douglas Lowy, Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute, United States of America; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (by video), and Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group.

During the week, delegates from 59 IAEA Member States also took part in guided tours on offer of the IAEA laboratories at the Agency’s headquarters in Vienna and in Seibersdorf, Austria.

The 64th regular session of the IAEA General Conference will be held from 21 to 25 September 2020 at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency