The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - Structure



The three organs of the IAEA are the General Conference, the Board of Governors, and the secretariat, headed by a Director-General.

General Conference

The General Conference consists of all members, each having one vote. It meets once a year at IAEA headquarters in Vienna. Special sessions may be convened by the director-general at the request of the Board of Governors or a majority of the IAEA members. The General Conference elects 22 of the 35 members of the Board of Governors for a period of two years. It considers the board's annual report and approves reports for submission to the UN and agreements with the UN and other organizations. It approves the budget recommended by the board and the appointment of the director-general. The General Conference may discuss any matter concerning the IAEA and may make recommendations to the Board of Governors or to any of the member states.

Board of Governors

The 35-member Board of Governors is the body actually vested with "the authority to carry out the functions of the Agency in accordance with (the) Statute." The board generally meets five times each year. It is composed as follows: the outgoing Board of Governors designates for membership on the board the 13 members most advanced in the technology of atomic energy and the production of source materials and the member most advanced in the technology of atomic energy and the production of source materials in two of the following areas in which none of the aforesaid 13 is located—North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the Far East.

The General Conference also elects to membership of the Board of Governors the following: (1) 20 members, with due regard to geographical representation, so that the board at all times will include in this category 5 representatives of Latin America, 4 representatives of Western Europe, 3 representatives of Eastern Europe, 4 representatives of Africa, 2 representatives of the Middle East and South Asia, 1 representative of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and 1 representative of the Far East; (2) in addition, 1 further member from among the members of the following areas: the Middle East and South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the Far East; (3) and 1 further member from among the members in the following areas: Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Member States represented on the IAEA Board for 2001–2002 were designated or elected as follows: the 13 designated members of the board for the 2001-2002 session were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russian Federation, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States; the eleven member states that were elected in 2001, to serve on the board of governors for the 2001-2003 sessions were Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kuwait, Morocco, Philippines, Romania, Spain, and Turkey; and the member states that were elected in 2000, serving on the board for the 2000-2002 sessions were Argentina, Egypt, Ghana, Ireland, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Switzerland, Thailand, and Ukraine.

Director-General and Secretariat

The staff of the IAEA is headed by a director-general, appointed by the Board of Governors with the approval of the General Conference for a term of four years. The statute describes the director-general as "the chief administrative officer of the Agency," but it closely limits his independent powers by providing that he "shall be under the authority and subject to the control of the Board of Governors." The director-general is responsible for "the appointment, organization, and functioning of the staff."

The first director-general, who held the post from 1957 to 1961, was Sterling Cole of the US, a former congressman. Dr. Sigvard Eklund, a Swedish physicist and administrator, served as director-general from 1961 to 1981. He was succeeded by Dr. Hans Blix of Sweden, a former foreign minister, who was reap-pointed in 1993 for a fourth four-year term. On 1 December 1997, Blix was succeeded by Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei (of Egypt) as Director General. El-Baradei has been a senior member of the Secretariat since 1984. He heads a staff of about 2,200 from some 95 countries.

Position in the UN System

The IAEA is an autonomous international organization occupying its own position in the UN family of organizations. Under the relationship agreement between the UN and the IAEA, the IAEA is recognized as being "responsible for international activities concerned with the peaceful uses of atomic energy." One of the statutory objectives of the IAEA is to ensure that none of the assistance it gives to member states is "used in such a way as to further any military purpose," and the IAEA has a staff of inspectors to report violations of this rule. In case of noncompliance, the agency's Board of Governors reports to the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN.

IAEA has established strong cooperation arrangements with many of the key UN development agencies in order to advance the contribution of nuclear science and technology in the fields of agriculture, human health, industry, environmental protection, and other sectors. Principal partners in are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The agency also develops cooperative arrangements with multi-lateral development banks, bilateral donors, and non-governmental organizations and institutes such as the Inter-American Nuclear Energy Commission, the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, the League of Arab States, the OAU, the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD, and the European Atomic Energy Community. Finally, the IAEA maintains contact with a number of nongovernmental organizations having consultative status with it.

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