#Article (Archive)

Lawmakers ratify membership of Int’l Atomic Energy Agency

Oct 12, 2016, 10:47 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

(Monday October 10, 2016 Issue)

Lawmakers Thursday ratified the country’s membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a motion tabled by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Pa Ousman Jarju.

He said the IAEA is a specialised agency of the United Nations, created in 1957 as the ‘world’s Atom for Peace’ organisation to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

He said it comprises 167 member states as of November 2015, although established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute.

The IAEA reports to both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, he said.

“The IAEA generates and collects data on illicit trafficking and nuclear security incidents, through coordination with states and other international organisations.”

In fulfillment of the above, he added, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and its line ministry would work with the Ministry of Defence, research institutions and other security agencies to monitor and enforce nuclear chemical safety.

Minister Jarju added that The Gambia has endorsed several IAEA protocols, which include: Comprehensive safeguard agreement (CSA), 1978, the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba), 1996; Additional Protocol (AP), 2010, and Small Quality protocol (SQP), 2011.

This has obliged the country to meet reporting obligations to IAEA, and a team of experts in Radiation Safety and Nuclear Security visited The Gambia, from 9 to 11 January 2012, to conduct an advisory mission in order to evaluate the current status of the legislative and regulatory infrastructure, for regulatory control of radiation sources at national level and provide guidance in the areas where deficiencies were identified.

The programme arrangements were made by the NEA, which was identified as the lead institution with regard to IAEA issues in The Gambia and also provided premises, as well as logistical and technical support for the conduct of the mission.

Seconding the motion was the National Assembly Member for Kombo South, Hon. Abdou Colley, who said the objective of the IAEA is to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of Atomic Energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.

This is also to conduct its activities in accordance with the purposes and the principles of the United Nations, to promote peace and international cooperation and in conforming with the policies of the United Nations for the establishment and safeguard throughout any international agreement into such policies.

The National Assembly Member for Banjul South, Hon. Alhagie Sillah, contributing to the debate about the effects of nuclear weapons said, among other things, that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq.

Yet the United States went on to attack Iraq, which had “created ISIS and other terrorist groups”.

“If you look at the documents it is also preventing other incidents that have happened in the world. For example, when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, those people are still going through the aftermath of it and the effects of the atomic waste,” he added.