COP28: IAEA and OPEC Fund strengthen cooperation on climate mitigation

12 December 2023

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund) have agreed to strengthen joint efforts in the area of nuclear science and technology for climate adaption and mitigation.

On the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and OPEC Fund Director General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa signed Practical Arrangements on Cooperation in the Area of Climate Adaptation. This seeks to enhance collaborative efforts by both sides to develop and implement joint projects on climate adaptation.

The OPEC Fund will support the establishment of a global seed bank to collect, store, and preserve seeds that have characteristics that can withstand new climate conditions, including seeds developed through application of nuclear techniques for plant breeding and soil and water management. The IAEA provides expertise and assistance in the application of nuclear techniques in these areas supporting climate-smart agriculture. By using nuclear techniques, such as plant mutation breeding, scientists can accelerate the natural evolution of plants using irradiation of seeds to help create new varieties with desirable traits adapted to climate change. Seed banks ensure these new varieties can be used in areas where crops are battling the effects of climate change throughout the globe.

The IAEA and the OPEC Fund have been collaborating since 1989, and the OPEC Fund has already provided more than $2.4m to IAEA activities in health and agriculture. Most recently, the IAEA worked with the OPEC Fund in 2018 to help improve rice harvests in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Nepal, and to help prevent the spread of animal diseases through capacity building in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Image: IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa at the signing of the agreement (courtesy of D Calma / IAEA)

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