The central - traditional - purpose of the Safeguards System of the IAEA (stated in the so-called „comprehensive safeguard agreements“) is to ensure that source material or special fissionable material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (see para. 1 and 2 of the model agreement INFCIRC/153) in all Non-Nuclear-Weapon-States (NNWS).
The technical objective is „the timely detection of diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities to the manufacture of nuclear weapons or of other nuclear explosive devices or for purposes unknown, and deterrence of such diversion by the risk of early detection“ (see para. 28, INFCIRC/153).
The IAEA was established by the United Nations (UN) as an independent organization in 1957. Its objectives and functions, the organizational structure and financial questions are regulated in the Statute of the IAEA. The IAEA is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its member states. They have to fulfill in good faith all their obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Stature.
The IAEA has two central – but conflicting - objectives (Art. II of the Statute):
(1) „to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world“
(2) to „ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose“
Die Verifikation eines völkerrechtlichen Vertrages sichert dessen Einhaltung. Die Vereinten Nationen haben im Jahre 2007 „Verifikation“ wie folgt umschrieben:
Verification involves the collection, collation and analysis of information in order to make a judgement as to whether a party is complying with its obligations.
Über das Thema „gesellschaftliche Verifikation“ wird international seit Jahrzehnten unter verschiedenen Bezeichnungen diskutiert: „societal verification“ („gesellschaftliche Verifikation“), „inspection by the people („Inspektion durch das Volk“) oder „societal monitoring“ („kritisches Überwachen durch die Zivilgesellschaft“).