International Atomic Energy Agency:
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria
On December 8, 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave this famous “Atoms for Peace” speech in which he promoted the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In 1955, the International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy was held in Geneva. Subsequently, in 1957, another conference was held in New York in which the founding document of the International Atomic Energy Agency was approved after two years of negotiations between twelve countries. The IAEA’s Statute was approved in 1956 and came into force in 1957.
Vision and Role:
The International Atomic Energy Agency is supposed to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, establish safeguards to ensure that its assistance is not used for military purposes, and work to increase nuclear safety. In pursuing these goals, the IAEA encourages research and development as well as provides secure materials and other services, equipment, and facilities for member states. It also encourages members to exchange scientific and technical information and training. It establishes safeguards by ensuring that the IAEA’s services, products, and information are not used to pursue military purposes. The Agency also ensures nuclear safety. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars ensuring that safety standards are upheld every year.
Members and Region:
The International Atomic Energy Agency has 173 member states, with almost every state as its member. Some non-members are Somalia, Bhutan, and the Maldives, while North Korea is a former member. It operates worldwide and cooperates with multiple regional organizations to share information and organize conferences. It works with AFRA (African Regional Cooperative Agreement), ARASIA (Cooperative Agreement for the Arab States in Asia), RCA (Regional Cooperative Agreement for Asia and the Pacific), and ARCAL (Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean).
The IAEA is an autonomous organization that is not under the purview of the UN, but it reports to both the UNGA and UNSC. It works mainly with the UNSC, and its founding statute lays out its organizational structure. It has three central bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat.
The Agency has two policy-making bodies. The first is the Board of Governors, which comprises 35 member states and makes most of the organization’s policy. The second policy-making body is the General Conference, which comprises all 173 members. Lastly, the Secretariat is the enforcement arm of the Agency and is headed by the Director-General. It is made up of professional and general staff.
Reported by Mohsin Mudassar, a student of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. He is a member of the youth diplomacy forum.