On September 19, at the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Estonia was elected to the agency’s Board of Governors for the first time; Estonia’s tenure will last from 2019-2021.
Estonia will be represented at the board of the organisation by Toomas Kukk, Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the international organisations in Vienna. The Estonian ministry of the environment will also appoint a specialised attaché, Reelika Runnel, to Vienna to provide support during Estonia’s membership.
A say in important international issues
The IAEA has an important role in helping countries meet the sustainable development goals of the UN, above all climate targets, and in the safe use of nuclear technology and the promotion of radiation safety. For instance, the IAEA helped Estonia build its radiation safety system between 1996 and 1997 and draw up its first law on radiation. The IAEA is also cooperating with Estonia within the framework of a technical cooperation programme to train experts and acquire medical equipment.
According to the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, it is an important achievement to be elected a member of the board of the IAEA as Estonia will get the chance to have a say in important international security issues, such as the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Membership also supports Estonia’s role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2010-2021.
Thirteen permanent and 22 rotating members
Estonia submitted its candidacy to the IAEA in September 2017.
The general conference and the Board of Governors are the two main decision-making bodies of the IAEA. The board includes 35 member states, including 13 permanent members (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Japan, South Africa, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 22 rotating members elected by regional groups of states.
The 2019-2020 board also includes Azerbaijan, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, the Netherlands, Italy, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand, Uruguay, Ghana, Greece, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Hungary, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The IAEA was founded in 1957 and it includes 171 member states. Estonia joined the IAEA on 31 January 1992. The main task of the IAEA is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and relevant cooperation, and to monitor the measures of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Cover: The HQ of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna (Facebook).