The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, has congratulated Morocco for its election to the presidency of the 64th General Conference of the Agency, and underlined that this election reflects the constructive commitment of the Kingdom to peace in the world.
“The election of Morocco, an African country which has been engaged for years in non-proliferation efforts, at the head of this great world event, is a good testimony of its constructive commitment to peace in the world”, underlined M. Grosso in a statement to MAP, on the sidelines of the opening session.
“I am delighted as Director General to be able to count on the Moroccan presidency for the whole year which opens until next year to support and accentuate the work of the IAEA. Well done Morocco…We are very grateful! ”Continued Mr. Grosso.
Morocco officially assumed its role as president of the 64th IAEA General Conference, the governing body of this UN agency, on Monday. The Kingdom has thus acceded for the first time, and by unanimous acclamation, to this prestigious post in the person of the Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Azzeddine Farhane.
In his opening address, Rafael Mariano Grossi underlined the unprecedented circumstances wherein this 64th General Conference is taking place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that things are still far from normal.
During the lockdown, the agency continued to implement safeguards throughout the world to prevent any misuse of nuclear material and launched the largest operation in the Agency’s history to help countries confront the coronavirus, he said.
Thirteen hundred consignments of equipment for virus detection and diagnosis and other supplies have been delivered, or are in transit, to 123 countries, the IAEA Director General said, adding, “Fighting the coronavirus will remain our top priority until the pandemic is finally defeated.”
As COVID-19 will certainly not be the last pandemic which threatens the world, he said he has therefore proposed a new IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action project, known as ZODIAC, to establish a global network of national diagnostic laboratories for the monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of zoonotic diseases, using nuclear or nuclear-derived techniques.
“Member States will have access to equipment, technology packages, expertise, guidance and training. Decision-makers will receive up-to-date, user-friendly information that will enable them to act quickly. We will work closely with partners such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations,” he explained, urging all Member States to fully support this initiative.
The IAEA General Conference, the Agency’s annual meeting and main governance event, is held Sept.21-25 against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agency’s support to its Member States in the fight against COVID-19 is expected to take center stage in the deliberations.
Agenda items are expected to include topics related to nuclear and radiation safety and ways of strengthening the Agency’s activities in nuclear science, technology and applications, as well as the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Delegates will also discuss the IAEA’s 2019 technical cooperation report, annual report and financial statements, and its budget update for 2021.