History

Celebrating 50 Years 1964 - 2014, Joint FAO/IAEA Division The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO ) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 1 October 1964. It was designed as a strategic partnership to mobilize the talents and resources of both organizations. Working together would broaden and deepen the cooperation between the two organizations and benefit their Member States in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology in a safe and effective manner. In turn, this would enhance efforts to provide the global community with increased production of better quality and safer food, while sustaining natural resources.

Prior to 1964 both FAO and IAEA each had their own programmes for the application of atomic energy in food and agriculture: FAO in the Atomic Energy Branch of its Agriculture Department and the IAEA in its Unit of Agriculture in the Department of Research and Isotopes. In order to better coordinate this work, the FAO and IAEA Directors General negotiated "the Arrangements for the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Atomic Energy in Food and Agriculture". The associated FAO/IAEA agriculture laboratories were then established in 1964 within the IAEA laboratories, hosted at the Austrian National Laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria - about 35 km from Vienna.

The Arrangements provide for the Joint Division to be housed at IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, with the laboratory facilities nearby. The Joint Division staff are members of one of the parent organizations, and report to both FAO and IAEA. The Joint Division merges the mandates of both organizations and carries out the activities of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme. FAO is the lead organization in the United Nations for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development, while the IAEA is the world's center of cooperation in the field of nuclear technology. The Joint Division's programme and activities are problem-oriented and focused on developing and transferring technologies in response to real, practical needs. This programme has a unique vision for identifying where appropriate nuclear techniques can enhance, improve or increase agricultural production, protect natural resources and facilitate agricultural trade.

Since 1964, the Joint Division has continuously evolved its programme to meet the world's changing needs. It has always focused on expanding its ongoing contribution to agricultural development and global food security, and proactively embraced and added its expertise to efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, respond to globalization, conserve ecosystem services and broaden biodiversity. Today, both FAO and IAEA strive to mobilize commitment and concerted action towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals through the appropriate integration of nuclear and related technologies for sustainable agriculture and food security.