Nuclear Pollution

IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco Turn 60

The role of the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco in helping conserve the ocean for future generations by applying nuclear technologies was emphasized at last week’s events that marked the 60th anniversary of the labs. These unique laboratories within the United Nations system investigate the effects of radioactivity and pollution on marine ecosystems.

Prince Albert II of Monaco, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Oceans Peter Thomson and representatives of 65 IAEA Member States joined Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at the celebrations that took place at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

“The work of the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco is unique,” ​​said Grossi. “For sixty years, these labs have been helping countries confront marine pollution, seafood safety and other emerging challenges. We are helping them achieve their own sustainable development goals.”

In his address, Mr Grossi paid tribute to the vision of Prince Albert I, who identified marine pollution as a major environmental concern already in 1959, when internal conventions related to the protection of the environment were non-existent.

“If we are here today, we owe it to that noble tradition that you, Monsignor Prince Albert II, have decided to personally continue and to support in the way you and the Principality of Monaco have been doing for the past six decades,” Mr. Grossi said.

Prince Albert II spoke of the important work of scientists. “The dialogue between laboratories like yours and political authorities is one of the keys to our future,” he said. “The time has come for humanity to tackle the great problems of the Ocean with the best resources at its disposal, so that it can more quickly overcome the obstacles so deeply anchored in the very roots of civilisation.”

In his address, Mr Thomson spoke of the ongoing United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

“The UN Decade’s slogan is ‘The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want'”. The IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco have a special global role in the provision of the ocean science we need,” he said. “With red alert for humanity now having been declared, that role will only deepen the significance of these laboratories’ undertakings.”

He urged countries to support the efforts of the IAEA as they forge ahead in building “That Science We Need for that Ocean We Want.”

The anniversary celebration featured a photo exhibition showingcasing the contribution of nuclear science to ocean conservation, hosted at the museum. Scientists from all over the world sent video messages, which were broadcast at the event, along with a film about the work of the laboratories. A full recording of the event is available here.

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