IAEA Board of Governors
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 2: Tribute to the late Director General Yukiya Amano
24 July 2019
It is with great sadness that I speak here today – on behalf of the Australian Government – to pay tribute to our fallen Director General, Yukiya Amano.
Mr Amano was a strong and tireless leader of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He was a superb diplomat, and he brought to his leadership an adroit understanding – and assertion – of the proper role that the Agency must play.
- Of when, where and how it should – and needed – to be pro-active;
- Of when it should decline involvement in potentially loaded processes;
- And of when and how the Agency should assert its independence from political pressures – and be seen to assert such independence.
For these attributes alone Mr Amano earned Australia’s strongest respect and gratitude and – I believe – the strong respect and gratitude of the entire diplomatic community and of a great many other governments.
Much more than this can be said about Yukiya Amano’s legacy and his achievements, including about his contribution to international security and non-proliferation, particularly the crucial role he played in JCPOA negotiations and in preparing the Agency for a possible return to the DPRK.
And he was dedicated to championing the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and the role that it can – and does – play in improving the lives of countless people all around the world.
When Japan – Mr Amano’s home – was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, he turned the attention and resources of the IAEA towards addressing the unfolding Fukushima nuclear accident, which coordinated a substantial global response in its aftermath and encouraged the world to learn valuable lessons for the future.
Australia was proud to endorse and support Mr Amano’s leadership in promoting gender parity at the IAEA and more broadly.
His pro-active and pathfinding approach in this important area – where he went much further than any of his predecessors – will form an important part of his legacy.
He will be well remembered by women – and by all gender champions – in the nuclear field.
Mr Amano was a good friend to Australia and to Australia’s region.
As Director General he made the long journey to visit Australia twice, in October 2012 and August 2016, where he showed that he was keen to see the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear technologies shared with all regions of the globe, including across the Pacific Islands.
In closing I wish to extend – on behalf of the Australian Government – our deepest condolences to Mr Amano’s family; to his friends; and to his colleagues.
His is a sore loss to us all.
He truly made a difference, and he will be missed.
Thank you, Chair.