The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors voted Aug. 3 for a rare hike in the agency’s budget, raising its 2010 budget to $453 million. That rise represents a 2.7 percent real increase above the 2009 budget, on top of a 2.7 percent increase to adjust for inflation. The 5.4 percent hike is half the 11 percent increase sought by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. A preliminary estimate for 2011 includes an 11.4 percent increase over the agency’s 2010 budget. That figure is first subject to consideration by a working group the board established to assess the agency’s resources, priorities, and budgets up to 2013.
The board decision on the 2010 budget must be approved by the IAEA General Conference, which meets this month.
The budget increase was the result of about six months of negotiations, in which the
In addition to arguing for adhering to the zero real-growth policy, some countries have noted the additional challenge of the current international financial situation. In a May 5 interview with Arms Control Today, Bill Rammell, then the British minister of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, said that although there may be movement on increasing the agency’s funding “over the medium term,” in the current fiscal climate it was “unrealistic” to expect a major increase in the agency’s budget. (See ACT, June 2009.)
Laying out his nuclear security strategy during the 2008 presidential election campaign, Barack Obama called for doubling the agency’s budget over the next four years. He has reaffirmed that policy since taking office.
Responding to the board decision, Susan Doman, spokeswoman for the
For the last several years, ElBaradei has pushed for a funding boost, warning that the budget limitations jeopardize nuclear safety and security. (See ACT, July/August 2007.) He told the board June 16 that “zero growth continues to erode our ability to fulfill our responsibilities.”
The director-general rejected other proposals to address the agency’s funding needs, such as seeking private loans. “The whole idea that now we either have to go out and borrow or hold out our hands and say ‘please give us some money to do security and safety’ is really a bastardization of an international organization,” he said.
The budget decision includes the establishment of a capital investment fund to support infrastructure development over the next several years. The agency has been seeking such funds to modernize its ailing laboratories, which are used to analyze nuclear material and environmental samples.
Amano Gets Final Nod
Meanwhile, after several months of voting attempts, the board elected Yukiya Amano as its fifth director-general July 2. Amano, who currently serves as
The 35-member board elected Amano with a vote of 23 in favor, 11 against, and 1 abstention, providing him with the two-thirds majority necessary to win.
The Japanese career diplomat won the vote over two other candidates,
In a March matchup with Minty, Amano fell one vote short of the needed two-thirds. Support for the two candidates was largely split between the industrialized and developing countries, with the former largely favoring Amano and the latter generally supporting Minty.
Amano promised in a statement following the appointment to devote “every effort to the effective, efficient and impartial functioning of the Agency in the interest of all member states.”