The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The agency also seeks to inhibit the use of atomic energy for military purposes. The agency was first established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957. Though the agency was established independently of the United Nations under its own international treaty (the IAEA Statute); the IAEA reports to both to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The headquarters of the IAEA is located in Vienna, Austria. Two “Regional Safeguards Offices” are located in Toronto, Canada; and Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA has two liaison offices, located in New York, USA; and Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, it has laboratories in Seibersdorf and Vienna, Austria; Monaco; and Trieste, Italy.
The main role of the IAEA today is to serve as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology worldwide. The IAEA’s programmes encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international safeguards against its misuse, and facilitate the application of safety measures in its use.
The IAEA’s mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. Three main pillars – or areas of work – underpin the IAEA’s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.
The IAEA, as an autonomous organization is not under direct control of any United Nations body, but does report to both the General Assembly and the Security Council. Unlike most other specialized agencies, it does not do most of its work with ECOSOC. The IAEA’s structure and function is defined by its founding document: the IAEA’s Statute. The IAEA has three main bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat.
As an independent international organization related to the United Nations system, the IAEA´s relationship with the UN is regulated by special agreement. In terms of its Statute, the IAEA reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council regarding non-compliance by States with their safeguards obligations as well as on matters relating to international peace and security.