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Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General and Ignazio Cassis, Head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs at their meeting in Bern on 8 October 2020. (Photo: E. Perez Alvan/IAEA)

The Swiss government is committed to support the work of the IAEA, with an emphasis on projects that use nuclear technology to help countries meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), senior Swiss federal officials told IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in Bern today.

In his meetings with Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Patrizia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Mr Grossi introduced new IAEA programmes supporting SDGs such as the Women’s Cancers Partnership Initiative, an upcoming project to combat plastic pollution and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, which aims to increase the number of women studying nuclear-related subjects at the graduate level.

He highlighted ZODIAC, an initiative to prevent and combat future pandemics of zoonotic origin.

“COVID-19 will certainly not be the last pandemic which threatens the world. I have therefore proposed a new IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action project, known as ZODIAC, to establish a global network of national diagnostic laboratories for the monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of zoonotic diseases, using nuclear or nuclear-derived techniques,” Mr Grossi said.

The IAEA’s projects are built on the Agency’s core expertise and experience as well as on close collaboration with other international and UN organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), he said. “Our work has perfect synergies with those of other organization towards the achievements of the SDGs and we complement each other perfectly,” Mr Grossi said.

Mr Cassis and Mr Grossi discussed the IAEA’s nuclear verification work, including in Iran. Mr Cassis commended the IAEA for its ongoing nuclear safeguards activities under the travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

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