ICAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA is not a Specialized Agency under Article 57 of the Charter of the United Nations. Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA may submit reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council directly.


USA – 28 July 1955

Atoms for Peace

Atom symbol with hemispheres

The IAEA was created in response to the deep fears and great expectations resulting from the discovery of nuclear energy, fears and expectations that have changed profoundly since 1945. Its genesis was President Eisenhower’s address (known as the Atoms for Peace Speech) to the 8th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 8 December 1953, though many of the ideas he presented had earlier roots. He proposed the creation of an international body to both regulate and promote the peaceful use of atomic power (nuclear power).


As a result of President Eisenhower’s proposals, the subject of atomic energy claimed much of the time of the UN 9th General Assembly in 1954. The outcome of the debate was unanimous adoption by the General Assembly on 4 December 1954 of a resolution on the atoms-for-peace program, recognizing the benefits arising from the discovery of atomic energy and its use to serve peaceful pursuits ameliorating living conditions. The Assembly also accepted the proposal for an international Conference on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 8 to 20 August 1955.


IAEA’s Emblem

The IAEA's Statute was approved on 23 October 1956 by the Conference on the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (held from 20 September to 24 October 1956) at the Headquarters of the United Nations; it came into force on 29 July 1957 (after eighteen States deposited their instruments of ratification, provided that such eighteen States include at least three of the following States: Canada, France, USSR, Great Britain, and USA) and established the IAEA, as an autonomous organization.


The IAEA consists of three statutory organs: the General Conference, the Boards of Directors and the Secretariat. The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA has two Regional Safeguards Offices (safeguards verification/inspection mission) which are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan; the IAEA also has two liaison offices which are located in New York City, USA, and in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, the IAEA has three Laboratories and Research Centers located in Austria, Italy and Monaco.


An ICAO Observer attended the second Annual General Conference of the Agency held in Vienna in September/October 1958, at which, among other things, drafts agreements to be signed between the IAEA and various UN Organizations (the Food and Agricultural Organization - FAO, ICAO, the International Labour Organization - ILO, the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization - UNESCO, the World Health Organization - WHO and the World Meteorological Organization – WMO) were approved. The formal agreement between ICAO and the IAEA, which provides a framework for cooperation between the two Organizations, came into effect in 1959, after approval by the ICAO Council on 28 September and by the General Conference of the IAEA three days later.


From the early years of IAEA, ICAO took part in IAEA’s work of drafting and maintaining regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials.  Cooperation with IAEA became more intensive from 1975 and onwards for the development of Annex 18 - The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the related Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air which amplifies the basic provisions of Annex 18 and contains all the detailed instructions necessary for the safe international transport of dangerous goods by air.


The subject of transport of dangerous goods by air is kept up-to-date by the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP, established in 1976) which meets periodically to review comments received from States and interested international organizations, to consider any changed recommendations of the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods or the International Atomic Energy Agency, and to prepare revised editions of Annex 18 and the related Technical Instructions.


Coordination between ICAO and IAEA continued on subjects such as the development of a radioactive materials transport accident and incident reporting system, the development of warnings to aircraft for clouds of radioactive debris injected into the atmosphere following nuclear accidents, the prevention of illicit cross- border movement of nuclear materials and other radioactive sources, the notification to area control centres and meteorological watch offices of the accidental release into the atmosphere of radioactive materials, etc.


Based particularly on the lessons learned following the general emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that occurred as a result of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, ICAO revised its existing cooperative agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A Joint Plan was developed describing inter-agency emergency preparedness and response arrangements for nuclear or radiological incidents or accidents, irrespective of their cause.


On 10 November 2023, ICAO and IAEA have agreed to enhance their cooperation around the transport of radioactive materials by air, notably to improve the efficiency and speed of these shipments that are vital for cancer care and other medical uses around the world. In a joint statement signed on that day, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar and IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi underscored that the agreement also “highlights the importance of adherence to the IAEA safety standards for the safe use of radioactive materials and to ICAO standards for global civil aviation safety and security.” The agreement builds on the cooperation between both UN bodies on matters of common interest that began in 1960. The agreement encompasses the development and review of relevant IAEA safety standards and the harmonization of best practices globally, with the IAEA and ICAO collaborating to collect and analyze associated information.


Argentina – Second Thematic Philatelic Exhibition (TEMEX ’60) held in Buenos Aires from 4 from 9 December 1960. During this exhibition, a total of 12 covers were released paying tribute to the United Nations, its Programmes and Specialized Agencies; all covers are similar, except for the emblem, the colors of the UN Buildings in New York and the date of release. These covers were issued on different dates ranging from 4 to 9 December 1960; the above cover related to IAEA was dated 5 December 1960.


Service cover sent from IAEA in Vienna to ICAO Headquarters in Montréal.

IAEA’s meter stamp and slogan. Postmarked on 24 April 1972.


Service cover sent from IAEA in Vienna to ICAO Headquarters in Montréal.

IAEA’s meter stamp and slogan. Postmarked on 3 December 1979.

Note the red arrow in the slogan indicating a change on the mailing address,

going from PO Box 590 to PO Box 100, which is still the current mailing address.


Service cover sent from IAEA to ICAO’s Secretary General (Mr. Yves Lambert).

Postmark dated 16 August 1982 with meter related to the 25th anniversary of IAEA.


Letter cut sent from Monaco’s Laboratory; postmarked on 10 March 1989. IAEA’s meter stamp and slogan.


Service cover sent from IAEA to ICAO, using TNT Mailfast. ICAO Central Registry blue receiving marks.

Postmark dated 9 October 1990.


Service cover sent from IAEA’s Regional Office in Toronto to ICAO Headquarters in Montréal.

Postmarked on 26 June 1992.