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Arms Control and International Security: U.S. Support for UN Sustainable Development Goals Through the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative

The Initiative

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) in 2010 with the help of the United States to raise extra-budgetary contributions to support Agency activities that promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The PUI supports implementation of Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This provision requires NPT States Parties that are “in a position to do so” to “cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

PUI funds complement extra-budgetary funding available through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF), which is the Agency’s traditional mechanism of support for promoting national and regional development.

The PUI and TCF fund IAEA activities that advance several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The United States contributed more than $50 million to the PUI during the first five years of the Initiative. At the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the United States announced an additional commitment of $50 million to the PUI over the next five years. Numerous other IAEA Member States and the European Union have donated to the PUI and the donor list continues to grow.


Since 2010, the PUI has provided the IAEA with additional flexibility and resources for high priority IAEA Member State projects. These projects support international development in areas that include human health, water resource management, food security, environmental issues, nuclear power infrastructure development, and nuclear safety and security. The list of countries having benefited from PUI-supported IAEA projects has grown to more than 150 states worldwide.

U.S. PUI support contributes to the fulfillment of several of the SDGs. Examples include:

  • Zero Hunger (SDG 2): U.S. PUI funds have helped IAEA efforts to improve food safety and quality, agricultural productivity, and capacities to combat animal diseases.
  • Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3): U.S. PUI funds have aided IAEA efforts to enhance human health education and training, infant and child nutrition, national capacities to combat cancer and Ebola, and nuclear medicine services.
  • Clean Water (SDG 6): U.S. PUI funds have helped IAEA efforts to develop sustainable water resources using isotope hydrology and small-scale irrigation technologies.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7): U.S. PUI funds have aided IAEA efforts to assist in nuclear power planning, infrastructure development, and nuclear safety.
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9): U.S. PUI funds have helped IAEA efforts to advance the development and application of radiation technologies.
  • Climate Action (SDG 13): U.S. PUI funds have aided IAEA efforts to assess impacts of climate change on polar and mountainous regions and on marine ecosystem management.
  • Life below Water (SDG 14): U.S. PUI funds have helped IAEA efforts to promote seafood safety, actions against ocean acidification, and assessments of radionuclides in the marine environment and of the impact of the Fukushima accident.
  • Life on Land (SDG 15): U.S. PUI funds have aided IAEA efforts to enhance soil fertility management practices and the sustainable development of uranium resources.

Looking Forward

Though much has been achieved with the help of the PUI, there are always more needs to be met. Providing funding to the PUI allows donors to address urgent needs around the world, while complementing their international assistance priorities and advancing the SDGs. States and organizations are encouraged to explore with the IAEA Secretariat various projects to which they could contribute through the PUI, and to look for opportunities to partner with others on PUI-supported projects. States benefiting from the PUI are encouraged to highlight for others the PUI’s impact in advancing national and regional goals.

For more information about the PUI, please visit the IAEA’s website at and the U.S. State Department’s website at

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