For information only – not an official document

26 September 2022

The Secretary-General

Message to the opening of the 66th regular session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency

(delivered by Ms. Ghada Waly, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

26 September 2022

I am pleased to send greetings to the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

This past year has been marked with grave trials and tests. We face continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ramifications of the ongoing war in Ukraine, and other crises of global consequences, not least climate change.

On all these fronts, the IAEA has made important contributions to helping achieve a safer and more secure world, acting as an expert, impartial and technical interlocutor. 

On COVID-19, the IAEA has utilized nuclear and nuclear-driven techniques to provide critical support to Member States. Despite increasing restrictions, the Agency has worked to verify the nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. By assisting more than 140 countries and territories, through its technical cooperation programme in areas such as health, nutrition, food, agriculture and climate change, the IAEA has contributed to efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

And, of course, the IAEA has been at the forefront of the critical task to ensure the safety, security and safeguarding of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, especially the Zhaporzhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. I thank Director General Grossi and the IAEA team for their critical work to consult with relevant parties on concrete measures to ensure the safety of the plant and the area surrounding it.

I believe that the presence of the IAEA at the plant is a very important deterrent and repeat my call for an end to attacks, and for the reestablishment of the purely civilian nature of this plant.

I look forward to further strengthening our cooperation across the board.  I wish you a successful General Conference.  

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