Global Water Analysis Laboratories Side Event – 67th IAEA General Conference – Remarks as Prepared for Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, September 28, 2023
Director General Grossi, Deputy Director General Mokhtar, Ambassadors, Colleagues… thank you for inviting me to speak on this important initiative.
There are few things as essential to our existence as water. Water is life. It is a vital resource we rely on to protect our health, feed our families, provide energy, grow crops, and sustain wildlife and the environment.
Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal to achieve universal access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene is central to achieving other collective goals. Yet many obstacles remain as we face interlocking water and climate crises. Climate change increases stress
on global water resources. It also increases economic strain, worsens inequality and health security outcomes, and increases the likelihood that water insecurity will become a driver or trigger of conflict or instability.
The accelerating pace of climate change makes even more urgent the need to strengthen local, national, and regional capacities to understand and manage existing water resources. We need to work collectively to identify the key data, resources, and skills to develop effective climate change resilience strategies.
With unique expertise in isotope hydrology and experience working with Member State labs and institutions across sectors, the IAEA is well positioned to address this global challenge.
Isotope hydrology is a critical tool for collecting the data needed to monitor existing global water resources. It is important to help
countries build or strengthen their capacities to use this tool. It is equally important that we develop standard isotope hydrology data collection techniques to create information-sharing platforms that help with comparative data analysis. The insights provided by isotope hydrology can help scientists and communities address water scarcity, improve water quality, and mitigate the impacts of hydrologic change. The IAEA is the key institution for providing this capacity-building assistance to its Member States.
The United States was proud to participate in the IAEA’s launch of the Global Water Analysis Laboratory network at the UN Water Conference in March. Through the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiative, we contributed approximately 650,000 dollars to support the IAEA’s capacity to stand up this network, including funding for initial coordination activities and a Cost-Free Expert for two years. We will continue to be a strong partner in efforts to leverage nuclear science
and technology to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals and improve lives around the world.
Existential challenges such as those posed by climate change and water insecurity can only be addressed through sustained, collaborative efforts. We encourage others in a position to do so to also support this important IAEA initiative as we work together to forge a better future and a more peaceful, water-secure world.