International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The IAEA was created in 1957 in response to the deep fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology. The Agency’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953.
The U.S. Ratification of the Statute by President Eisenhower, 29 July 1957, marks the official birth of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the press conference following the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., President Eisenhower evoked his address to the UN General Assembly in December 1953, at which he had proposed to establish the IAEA.
“In fact, we did no more than crystallize a hope that was developing in many minds in many places … the splitting of the atom may lead to the unifying of the entire divided world.”
The IAEA is strongly linked to nuclear technology and its controversial applications, either as a weapon or as a practical and useful tool. The ideas President Eisenhower expressed in his speech in 1953 helped shape the IAEA’s Statute, which 81 nations unanimously approved in October 1956.
The Agency was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations family. From the beginning, it was given the mandate to work with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. The objectives of the IAEA’s dual mission – to promote and control the Atom – are defined in Article II of the IAEA Statute.
“The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. It shall ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose.”
In October 1957, the delegates to the First General Conference decided to establish the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Until the opening of the Vienna International Centre in August 1979, the old Grand Hotel next to the Vienna Opera House served as the Agency’s temporary headquarters.
The IAEA has also two regional offices located in Toronto, Canada (since 1979) and Tokyo, Japan (since 1984), as well as two liaison offices in New York City, United States of America (since 1957) and Geneva, Switzerland (since 1965). The Agency runs laboratories specialized in nuclear technology in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria, opened in1961, and, since 1961, in Monaco.
The Statute of the IAEA was approved on 23 October 1956 by the Conference on the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was held at the Headquarters of the United Nations. It came into force on 29 July 1957.
The Statute has been amended three times by application of the procedure laid down in paragraphs A and C of Article XVIII. On 31 January 1963, some amendments to the first sentence of the then paragraph A.3 of Article Vl came into force; the Statute as thus amended was further amended on 1 June 1973 by the coming into force of a number of amendments to paragraphs A to D of the same Article (involving a renumbering of sub-paragraphs in paragraph A); and on 28 December 1989 an amendment in the introductory part of paragraph A.l came into force. All these amendments have been incorporated in the text of the Statute, which consequently supersedes all earlier editions.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The IAEA plays an active part in helping the international community achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It helps countries to use nuclear and isotopic techniques and thereby contribute directly to attaining nine of the 17 Goals.
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Through the IAEA, and its partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), countries around the world are improving food security and agriculture by using nuclear and isotopic techniques to protect plants from insect pests and to breed new plant varieties that show, for example, improved crop yields, disease resistance or drought tolerance.
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
To help achieve the target of reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases by one third, the IAEA assists countries in tackling cancer by helping them devise comprehensive cancer control programmes, establishing nuclear medicine, radiation oncology and radiology facilities, as well as supporting education and training for specialized health professionals.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Water is essential to life. As populations grow and economies expand, access to clean and safe water is imperative. Isotopic techniques shed light on the age and quality of water. Some countries use this to implement integrated water resource management plans to sustainably use resources and to protect water and water-related ecosystems.
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
The IAEA fosters the efficient and safe use of nuclear power by supporting existing and new nuclear programmes around the world, catalysing innovation and building capacity in energy planning, analysis, and nuclear information and knowledge management.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Nuclear science and technology can make a major contribution to economic growth, and have an important role to play in support of sustainable development. With the IAEA’s help, several countries have increased the competitiveness of their industries by using these technologies for example for non-destructive testing for safety and quality tests, and irradiation techniques for improving product durability, from car tires to pipelines and medical devices to cables.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Nuclear power, along with wind and hydro, is among the lowest-carbon technologies available to generate electricity. The IAEA works to increase global awareness of the role of nuclear power in relation to climate change, in particular to ensure that the role that nuclear power can and does play in assisting countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is properly recognized.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
To sustainably manage and protect oceans and, in turn, support coastal communities, many countries are using nuclear and isotopic techniques, with support from the IAEA, to better understand and monitor ocean health and marine phenomena like ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Isotopic techniques provide accurate assessments of soil erosion and help to identify erosion hot spots, providing an important tool to reverse land degradation and restore soils. The IAEA’s support in this area helps many countries to gather information using these techniques to shape agricultural practices for more sustainable use of land and, ultimately, to increase incomes, while also improving conservation methods and protection of resources, ecosystems and biodiversity.
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Partnerships with Member States are at the heart of the IAEA’s activities. Close collaboration between the IAEA, United Nations organizations and other international and civil society organizations helps to maximize the impact of the IAEA’s support towards the achievement of Member States’ development priorities.See more