Amano underscores technical cooperation

17 September 2018

Yukiya Amano today highlighted the International Atomic Energy Agency’s technical cooperation programme in his speech to the Vienna-based organisation's 62nd General Conference. The IAEA director general spoke via videolink as he has recently undergone a medical procedure outside Austria.

Yukiya Amano addressing the IAEA General Conference via video (Image: IAEA)

The IAEA’s technical cooperation programme helps to improve the health and prosperity of millions of people by making nuclear science and technology available in health care, food and agriculture, industry and many other areas, he said

“I see the enormous difference our work makes in my many visits to developing countries,” he said.

Capacity-building is a key element of this programme, he said, and the IAEA has supported nearly 50,000 fellowships since 1956, helping scientists from developing countries to significantly improve their skills. In a recent survey of former fellows, almost 90% of respondents said their placements fully met their professional expectations and the needs of their home institutes, he noted.

A review of the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy in under way. In due course, this will work under the “overall coordination” of Amano’s office as part of its “one-house approach” to cancer-related issues, he said.

The IAEA’s role in transferring nuclear technology to developing countries is unique, he said, and it is important that all countries contribute “on time and in full” to the technical cooperation fund.

The modernisation of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf “continues to make excellent progress” and major construction work on all new laboratory buildings is nearly complete, he said.

“I am very grateful for the generous contributions received so far. I encourage all Member States in a position to do so to contribute to the costs of equipping the new buildings,” he added.

The IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology will take place in Vienna on 28-30 November, he noted, encouraging all Member States to participate at ministerial level.

“Due attention to safety and security is essential in all uses of nuclear and radiation technologies. Nuclear safety and security are national responsibilities, but the IAEA plays the central role in ensuring effective international cooperation,” he said.

“We continue to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Agency peer review and advisory services in nuclear safety and security so that they can better support Member States in the application of IAEA safety standards and security guidance,” he said, adding that the next IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security will take place at ministerial level in Vienna in February 2020.


The IAEA has “significantly increased” the amount of material on its public website in languages other than English. Versions of the website in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish were launched in June, he noted.

It continues to implement efficiency measures “to make optimal use of the resources entrusted to us by Member States”, he said. “But demand for Agency support is steadily increasing. It is essential that Member States continue to make available the resources we need to provide the services they expect,” he added.

Amano aims to achieve gender parity among the IAEA’s most senior officials by 2021.

“Since becoming Director General more than eight years ago, I have worked hard to increase the proportion of women on the Agency’s staff, especially in more senior positions,” he said. “We have made progress. But we can do better.”

The General Conference heard that the medical procedure was successful, and Amano is making steady progress for a full recovery. For some weeks, however, he is restricted from travelling. He continues to discharge responsibilities, supervising and guiding to agency while Mary Alice Hayward holds the title of acting director general. Amano plans to return to work next month.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News