On 26 April we will mark the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. We remember the hundreds of emergency workers who responded to the accident and the more than 330,000 people uprooted from their homes in its aftermath. We stand in solidarity with the millions who have been traumatized by lingering fears about their health and livelihoods.
After nearly three decades, the affected areas in Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation are still suffering from the impact of the accident. However, we can take heart that communities in the affected regions now have a chance and, increasingly, the means, to lead a normal life.
In an effort to advance socio-economic development, promote healthy lifestyles and restore a sense of community self-reliance, the United Nations proclaimed 2006-2016 a “Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development” for the affected regions, and established a UN Action Plan on Chernobyl.
The Decade and Action Plan will come to an end on the 31st December 2016. In response the United Nations Development Programme Administrator and the United Nation Co-ordinator of International Cooperation on Chernobyl has initiated a series of consultations to define the vision for post-2016 international cooperation. This dialogue will provide substantive inputs to the new United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on Chernobyl and a United Nations General Assembly resolution on Chernobyl.
On this solemn anniversary, the Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support those affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He calls for a forward-looking strategy designed to further help the recovery of the affected areas and to work together for greater nuclear safety worldwide.