IAEA could benefit from non-state funding, says report

22 July 2016

A working group assembled by the Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) has made recommendations on how non-state sources can help fund the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) nuclear security and technical cooperation activities.

The Vienna-based IAEA currently receives the majority of its funding - including extrabudgetary resources - from its member states. However, the PSA notes, "many members states are financially constrained, still recovering from the global economic recession that began in 2008, limiting the amount they can contribute voluntarily". As a result, the IAEA "faces a shortage of resources that impedes its ability to develop and implement" its technical cooperation and nuclear security activities.

As part of a two-year project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the PSA brought together a working group to consider ways in which non-state sources can help fund these activities. The group was composed of individuals from 17 countries, including former senior officials from the IAEA Secretariat, former governors and ambassadors who represented their countries at the IAEA, and other experts with IAEA experience.

The working group has now published its final report - entitled Strengthening the IAEA: Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Security - in which it says the agency "stands to benefit from diversifying its options through voluntary contributions". The report says, "The non-state donor community - industry and businesses, foundations, international governmental organizations (IGOs), and other entities in the position to donate or partner with the agency - can play a larger role in helping the agency execute its expanding portfolio."

The working group made ten recommendations which it believes would "help put the IAEA in a better place to attract, receive and utilize non-traditional contributions" to its technical cooperation and nuclear security programs.

"Foremost among these recommendations, the group believes that the IAEA would benefit if it developed a comprehensive strategy to diversify its revenue stream beyond reliance on state-based contributions," the report says. "Key to such a strategy is the commitment of the director general and senior staff. The director general should consider forming an influential global leadership team of corporate executives dedicated to fundraising, to engage the private sector and establish public-private partnerships."

The other recommendations focus on "identifying priorities, improving transparency for potential donors, establishing metrics, interacting with the private sector, working closely with other IGOs, and soliciting support from civil society and non-governmental organizations, all of which are core building blocks of a necessary comprehensive strategy".

The report says the IAEA's challenges in attracting non-state donor contributions are "at least in part, cultural". It says, traditionally, the agency has little experience in fundraising activities. However, it notes the IAEA "has in place a loose framework for accepting contributions from non-state donors and engaging in public-private partnerships".

The working group suggests that, in order to pursue non-state donor contributions actively, "both the Secretariat and member states will need to recognize the benefits that such donors and public-private partnerships can offer, and will need to commit to developing a strategy to pursue these types of partners".

The report says that, while the IAEA's safeguards and verification functions are well recognized, "its important projects in nuclear security, human health, agriculture, water security and other sustainable development areas are generally not well known". The working group recommends the IAEA should "dedicate itself to strengthening its brand with a compelling mission statement, reinforced by a strong communications and marketing campaign".

According to the IAEA's latest annual report, the agency had a total regular budget for 2014 of €342 million ($377 million), supplemented by extrabudgetary expenditures totalling €68.3 million. Its Technical Cooperation Fund also received €69.2 million from voluntary contributions in 2014.

The PSA is a Washington, DC-based non-profit, bipartisan, non-governmental organization to advance the principle of bipartisanship on critical national security and foreign policy challenges.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News