63rd IAEA General Conference to Begin on Monday; Acting DG Calls for Renewed Commitment to Mandate

Strengthening the effectiveness of safeguards implementation and making more use of nuclear science and technology for development are some of the topics that delegates from the IAEA’s Member States will discuss at the Agency’s 63rd General Conference in Vienna from 16-20 September.

“At this General Conference, we need to show renewed commitment to the peaceful, safe and secure use of nuclear technology around the world,” said Acting Director General Cornel Feruta, who has led the Agency since the death of Director General Yukiya Amano in July. “The General Conference is a great opportunity for Member States to review our activities, exchange experiences and pave the way forward for the Agency. I look forward to welcoming participants from all parts of the IAEA community next week.”

“These are not normal times for the Agency,” Mr Feruta added. “I am grateful to Member States for their strong support and to IAEA staff for their continued dedication during these testing times. We will continue to focus on delivering the best possible service to our Member States.”

Many of the IAEA’s 171 Member States will be represented at the meeting, including at ministerial level. Agenda items include the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as issues related to radiation safety and ways of strengthening the Agency’s technical cooperation activities.

Delegates will discuss the IAEA’s annual report and financial statements for 2018 and are expected to approve its programme and budget for 2020-2021.

The Conference will elect 11 new members to the IAEA’s 35-member Board of Governors.

The complete list of documents provided to delegates is available here. General Conference sessions in the Plenary Hall, including the statements of officials and delegates, will be livestreamed.

Scientific Forum on cancer control

A two-day Scientific Forum entitled A Decade of Action on Cancer Control and the Way Forward will be held from 17 to 18 September. The Forum will be opened by Acting Director General Feruta and will feature high level speakers, including Sika Bella Kabore, First Lady of Burkina Faso, Elizabeth Zulema Tomas Gonzales, Minister of Health of Peru, and Princess Chulabhorn, President of the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Thailand.

Member State representatives will describe their experiences in trying to improve access to radiotherapy and nuclear medicine, often with the assistance of the IAEA, in the last 10 years. IAEA experts will present the Agency’s response to the evolving needs of countries in cancer control, including through education and training, the use of information technology and the development of networks.

Sessions at the Scientific Forum will showcase the increasing role of imaging techniques in providing precise cancer diagnoses and enabling more effective treatment, and provide an overview of existing uses of radiation in medicine. The topic of health economics will also be discussed in relation to cancer care.

More information on the Scientific Forum is available here.

Side events, tours and exhibitions showcasing cutting-edge work

Throughout the General Conference, 86 side events will highlight the innovative work underway at the IAEA and in Member States using nuclear techniques.

One side event will showcase the modernization of the IAEA’s Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, which will significantly improve the services the Agency can offer to Member States.

A panel discussion will give delegates a preview of the next IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security, which will take place at ministerial level in February 2020.

Version 2.0 of the IAEA’s Radiation Safety Information Management System (RASIMS) online tool will be demonstrated. It enables  Member States to compare their national radiation safety infrastructure to relevant IAEA safety standards.

A new IAEA-developed e-learning course on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material will be presented.

Treaty Event, aimed at promoting universal adherence to multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary, will give Member States an opportunity to deposit instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Further side events include sessions on energy planning and climate change, strengthening safeguards implementation, and encouraging more women to work in the nuclear field.

The full list of side events is available here. Many will be featured on this web site.

Tours of the IAEA’s Radiation Safety Technical Services Laboratory, Incident and Emergency Centre, Isotope Hydrology Laboratory, Safeguards equipment laboratories, and of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf, will be on offer for delegates.

Alongside the General Conference, 44 exhibitions from IAEA Member States, the IAEA Secretariat and partner organizations will focus on various aspects of nuclear science and technology.