whatpricenucleargovernance-coverFindlay, Trevor. What Price Nuclear Governance? Funding the International Atomic Energy Agency. Cambridge, Mass.: Report for Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 24, 2016.


This report on the International Atomic Energy Agency proposes a grand bargain to address the organization’s longstanding funding challenges. What Price Nuclear Governance? Funding the IAEA, by MTA Associate Trevor Findlay, considers critical questions facing the IAEA’s budget and finance, and concludes that:

  • funding is insufficient for the Agency to carry out its core functions
  • increasing reliance on voluntary funding is problematic
  • the budget negotiation process is not as effective or streamlined as it should be
  • the current funding system is inequitable and inappropriate given changes in the nuclear industry since the IAEA was founded

Findlay recommends a number of steps to cut the Gordian knot between the funding of technical cooperation, nuclear safeguards, and nuclear security and break the impasse on IAEA funding, including:

  • the shielding system for nuclear safeguards must be ended
  • a Nuclear Emergency Fund and IAEA Endowment should be established  to provide greater financial stability to the Agency
  • the IAEA should seek alternative funding sources besides member states through a proper resource mobilization strategy.

To find out more and download the entire report visit the Belfer Center’s website.

About the Author

Trevor Findlay is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Findlay was a joint fellow Fellow/Senior Fellow with the International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs at Harvard University from 2011 to 2015. He remains an MTA Associate. From 2005 to 2015 he was a professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and holder of the William and Jeanie Barton Chair in International Affairs. He remains a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at Carleton.

Dr Findlay has a BA Honours degree from the University of Melbourne in political science and a Masters degree and PhD in international relations from the Australian National University (ANU). He spent thirteen years in the Australian diplomatic service, with postings in Tokyo, Mexico City and Geneva. This was followed by academic appointments at the Peace Research Centre at the ANU, including acting directorship, and four years as a project leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden, where he inaugurated the project on peacekeeping and international security. From 1998 to 2005 he was Executive Director of the London-based  non-governmental organization, the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC). Professor Findlay was appointed to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters in 2013.

His current research focuses on global nuclear governance. His report on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Unleashing the Nuclear Watchdog, was published in 2012 by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Canada. Dr Findlay’s most recent book is Nuclear Energy and Global Governance: Ensuring Safety, Security and Nonproliferation (London: Routledge, 2011). His Belfer Center papers for MTA include: Beyond Nuclear Summitry: The Role of the IAEA in Nuclear Security Diplomacy After 2016 (March 2014) and What Price Nuclear Governance: Funding the IAEA (March 2016).