The purpose of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is to promote and accelerate the contribution atomic energy makes to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. At the same time, the Agency is charged with ensuring that the assistance it provides is not used to further states' military objectives, and that nuclear material is not diverted to non-peaceful activities.
The IAEA Statute entered into force in 1957, making it an independent inter-governmental organisation under the aegis of the UN rather than a specialised agency.
The Agency is charged with drawing up and implementing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards provisions, as well as those of the Treaty of Tlatelolco (the Latin American Nuclear Weapon Free Zone), the Treaty of Pelindaba (the African Nuclear WeaponFree Zone), the Treaty of Bangkok (the ASEAN Nuclear Weapon Free Zone), the Treaty of Rarotonga (the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone) and the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty.
These safeguard activities are a relatively new concept in international law and form one of the most important aspects of the IAEA's role and functions. The aim of the safeguards is to assist states in demonstrating their compliance with international obligations in the interest of preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.
There were 1173 nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards, with 367 inspectors conducting 2162 inspections by the end of 2010. The IAEA's role in nuclear safety has increased as nuclear power programmes have grown and public attention has focused on the issue. In the security area, the focus is on helping states prevent, detect and respond to terrorist or other malicious acts, such as illegal possession, use, transfer and trafficking of nuclear materials, and to protect nuclear installations and transport against sabotage.
Although the IAEA is not a regulatory body, its recommendations have been used by many countries as a basis for national standards and rules. The Agency also has important functions under international conventions related to emergency response and preparedness in the event of a nuclear accident. These conventions (with party numbers as of May 2011) are: the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, which entered into force on 27 October 1986 (109 parties); and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, which entered into force on 26 February 1987 (105 parties). In 1994, an IAEA Diplomatic Conference adopted the Convention on Nuclear Safety. It entered into force on 24 October 1996 (72 parties).
Other conventions adopted under the auspices of the IAEA (with numbers as of May 2011) are:
The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which entered into force on 8 February 1987 (145 parties). An amendment to this Convention was adopted on 8 July 2005 but has not yet entered into force (46 contracting states)
The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, which entered into force on 18 June 2001 (57 parties)
The Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, which entered into force on 12 November 1977 (38 parties)
The Joint Protocol relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention, which entered into force on 27 April1992 (26 parties)
The Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, which entered into force on 4 October 2003 (nine parties)
The Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement ofDisputes to the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, which entered into force on 13 May 1999 (two parties)
The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which was adopted on 12 September 1997 but which has not yet entered into force (four parties).
Board of Governors
Laboratories (Vienna, Seibersdorf, Monaco and Trieste), regional safeguards offices (Tokyo and Toronto) and UN liaison offices.
The General Conference is composed of representatives of all IAEA Member States (151 as of 2011), and is the Agency's highest policy-making body.
The Board of Governors has 35 members. Thirteen members are designated each year by the Board to serve for one year, and 22 (11 each year) are elected by the General Conference to serve for two years. The term of all members runs from the end of a regular session of theGeneral Conference until the end of the next or second subsequent regular session. Article VI of the IAEA Statute requires the Board to designate the 10 members most advanced in them technology of atomic energy, including the production of source materials.
It also requires the Board to designate the member most advanced in the technology of atomic energy, including the production of source materials, in each of the following areas: North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, and the Far East.
The members elected to the Board of Governors by the General Conference are representatives from the following areas: five from Latin America, four from Western Europe, three from Eastern Europe, four from Africa, two from the Middle East and South Asia, one from South East Asia and the Pacific, and one from the Far East. In addition, one member is elected from the Middle East and South Asia, or South East Asia and the Pacific, or the Far East and one other member from Africa, or the Middle East and South Asia, or South East Asia and the Pacific.
In 1999, the General Conference approved an amendment to the IAEA Statute concerning the size and distribution of seats on the Board of Governors, by which Board membership would be expanded from 35 to 43 seats. This amendment will enter into force when two-thirds of all IAEA Member States have accepted it and other conditions are met. The Board of Governors Chair for 2010-11 is Ansar Parvez, Pakistan. He succeeds Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, Malaysia. Vice-Chairs for 2010-11 are John Hartmann Bernhard, Denmark, and Olena Mykolaichuk, Ukraine.
Specifically, the IAEA seeks to act as a catalyst for the development and transfer of peaceful nuclear technologies, to build and maintain a global nuclear safety regime, and to assist in global efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The IAEA groups its activities under three pillars:
1) Science and technology 2) Safety and security 3) Safeguards and verification.
The IAEA is authorised to:
Encourage and assist research on atomic energy for peaceful purposes worldwide
Act as an intermediary in the supply of materials, services, equipment and facilities
Foster the exchange of scientific and technical information
Encourage the exchange and training of scientists and experts
Establish and administer safeguards against the misuse of aid provided by the IAEA
Establish safety standards.
The following table lists IAEA Member States and Board terms. Board terms run until the end of a regular session and members are elected at the General Conference.
Afghanistan Albani Algeria Angola Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Bulgaria Burundi Burkina Faso Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Congo Costa Rica Cote d'Ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic DR Congo Denmark Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Finland France Gabon Georgia Germany Ghana Greece Guatemala Haiti Holy See Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jamaica Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan AJ Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Qattar ROK Republic of Moldova Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapme Slovalcia Slovenia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syrian AR Tajikistan Thailand The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Togo Tunisia Turkey Uganda Ukraine UAE UK UR of Tanzania USA Uruguay Uzbekistan Venezuela Viet Nam Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
The General Conference meets once a year. The 54th session was held in Vienna from 20 to 24 September 2010. The 55th session is scheduled to be held from 19 to 23 September 2011. The Board of Governors generally meets five times a year, in March and June, twice in September (before and after the General Conference) and in December. Additional meetings can be scheduled.
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