ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has once again been elected a member of the board of governors (BoG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for two years.

According to a spokesman for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Shahid Riaz Khan, the IAEA elects 11 new members of the BoG every year for two-year term. And this year, Pakistan was among those countries which were elected new board members.

PAEC Chairman Muhammad Naeem is currently leading the Pakistan delegation in the 62nd IAEA General Conference in Vienna, the capital of Austria.

The spokesman said that of the 170 IAEA member states, 35 countries were members of its BoG.

This is in recognition of the country’s contributions to peaceful use of nuclear technology, says PAEC official

“This is recognition of Pakistan’s contributions to peaceful use of nuclear technology and also a diplomatic achievement of Pakistan,” the spokesman said.

The PAEC chairman also addressed the IAEA moot, he said and quoted Mr Naeem as saying in his speech, “We believe that in this era of climate change, nuclear power is a promising option to generate electricity.”

The chairman said that they acknowledged great contribution of the IAEA to promotion of peaceful use of nuclear technology in Pakistan.

“We were encouraged by the positive remarks of the IAEA director general during his visit to the country about the robust measures put in place in Pakistan regarding nuclear safety and security,” he said, adding that “Pakistan stands ready to further strengthen its partnership with the agency.”

According to a Foreign Office statement, Pakistan’s election took place by acclamation as a consensus candidate from the Middle East and South Asia region.

Pakistan has been elected 19 times to the BoG in the past which is recognition of the country’s long-standing commitment to the aims and objectives of the IAEA in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and its positive contribution to formulation of the policies and programmes of the agency.

Pakistan is a founding member of the IAEA and has enjoyed longstanding and mutually beneficial collaboration with the agency on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Scientists and engineers from Pakistan have contributed to the agency’s work in various fields, including the area of nuclear safety and security. Pakistan has also been hosting various IAEA- sponsored events for national and regional capacity building in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Pakistan had previously become the chair of the UN nuclear watchdog’s governing body in 2010 despite being outside a global anti-nuclear arms pact.

The one-year board chair position rotates between regions, which put forward their own nominees, and entails chairing debates of the IAEA’s 35-nation decision-making body and helping them reach consensus decisions.

The IAEA is an international organisation that seeks to promote peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

With its headquarters in Vienna, the agency reports to the United Nations’ General Assembly and Security Council.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018