By Lisa Zengarini
The Holy See commends the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its dedicated work to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and to make peaceful nuclear technology available for the benefit of all humankind.
Possessing nuclear weapons is “immoral”
Speaking on Monday at the 65th IAEA General Conference, Mrs Francesca Di Giovanni, Vatican Under-Secretary for the Multilateral Affairs Section for Relations with States, said the Holy See acknowledges the “unique role” of IAEA with regard to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through its programme of safeguards, verifying that nuclear materials are not diverted from peaceful purposes.
By doing so, the Agency “contributes significantly to creating a world free of nuclear weapons,” she remarked, recalling that Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned their possession as “immoral” and has called for the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free world.
AIEA’s important services during the pandemic
Mrs Di Giovanni also commended the Agency’s successful efforts to continue to provide its important services despite the considerable disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She referred in particular to the new IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action project (ZODIAC). The initiative was established in June 2020 with the aim of helping countries prevent pandemics caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses that originate in animals and can be transmitted to humans.
To this end, it will it will assist their research and development activities and provide expert guidance, as well as technical, scientific and laboratory support.
“Unique work” of IAEA in helping developing countries
The Vatican representative further underscored the “unique work” of IAEA in helping developing countries to use nuclear technology to treat cancer, grow more food, and to manage and protect their water supplies.
She also emphasized the ongoing “relevant contributions” made by the Agency in the area of climate change, monitoring pollution of the ocean and eco-systems, and help countries adapt to new climate realities, including food and water shortages.
Using money spent on weapons to eliminate hunger
Reminding the Holy See’s ongoing commitment to integral ecology and to promoting political and technical measures that favour a sustainable development based on fraternity, Mrs Di Giovanni finally reiterated Pope Francis’ call on world leaders to take the courageous decision “to use money spent on weapons for a global fund to eliminate hunger and contribute to the development of poorer countries”.
The 65th IAEA General Conference is taking place in Vienna, Austria, and will run to September 24.