Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Alexander A.Pankin at the special commemorative meeting in observance of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe on agenda item 69 (c) “Strengthening of international cooperation and coordination of efforts to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster”

Mr. Secretary-General,

Madam President,

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which became the worst technological catastrophe of the twentieth century in terms of its scope and complexity.

Today, speaking at the commemorative ceremony in Chernobyl, President of Russia Dmitry A. Medvedev said: “I have sent today to our partners in other countries, including the CIS, proposals to provide proper development of nuclear energy in the world, including aimed at prevention of global catastrophic consequences. It seems that we need to think about new international conventions. We have to do that in the memory of those who were the first to come to rescue, in fact, the whole humanity”.

In his address to the nation on this occasion Dmitry A. Medvedev underscored: “Chernobyl is a common tragedy for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and it is shared by the entire global community.  We are currently raising funds to build a new sarcophagus for the stricken reactor. A donors’ assembly comprising 28 countries has already been established. Russia will also make its contribution by donating at least 45 million Euros to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and Nuclear Safety Account within two years.

The heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States launched an address to the international community at the meeting in Moscow in December 2010 on this tragic date and the appeal to develop cooperation aimed at the mitigation of the consequences of this catastrophe and at the recovery of the affected areas.

We appreciate very much courage and selflessness of hundreds of thousands of Chernobyl disaster relief workers. Risking their lives and health, they fulfilled their duty and protected people from the harmful effects and further spread of radiation. Paying the tribute to the memory of the victims the heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States proclaimed 26 April as the International Day Commemorating Victims of Radiation Accidents and Catastrophes

More than 200 thousand Russian nationals took part in the emergency relief operation in the aftermath of the disaster. Over 59 thousand square kilometers of fourteen regions of Russia were contaminated. 3 millionRussianpeoplelivedintheseterritories.

Despite the large-scale emergency response measures aimed at addressing and mitigating the consequences of the catastrophe taken both immediately following it and in subsequent years, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant continues to be a potential source of danger. Minimizing this threat in the near future on the basis of new technologies is in everyone’s interest. There is therefore a need to muster the scientific, technical and financial capacity of the entire international community.

In the Russian Federation the work to minimize the effects of the Chernobyl disaster centers on the measures aimed at overcoming negative health, social and psychological impacts, improving the living standards of the population in the affected areas and their return to the normal conditions.

In this context, a number of programs are being implemented in Russia at the federal level. The federal budget funds provided between 1992-2010 for the programme-related measures carried out in the vicinity of Chernobyl, at the prices for the corresponding years, is approximately 10 billion rubles. The funds were used for over 1353.5 square meters of housing, hospitals with a capacity of 3799 patients, polyclinics receiving over 10205 visits per shift, schools with a capacity of 19880 pupils, preschool institutions with a capacity of 3902 children, clubs, recreation centers with a capacity of 3960 people, some 794.5 km of roads, 4049,1 km of gas pipe-lines and 312, 5 km of water network pipes.

The consequences of Chernobyl are not limited to one country. The Russian Federation is working actively with other countries and international organizations on matters related to overcoming the consequences of the disaster. The cooperation between Russia, Belarus and Ukraine has been developing actively. Russia is an active participant of the Chernobyl Forum. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation manages Russian involvement in relevant projects with UNDP, IAEA, WHO and UNICEF.

Such projects include IAEA regional project “Radiological Support for the Rehabilitation of the Areas Affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident”, and UNDP, WHO and UNICEF projects carried out within the framework of the International Chernobyl Research and Information Network (ICRIN).

Madam President,

We attach particular importance to further international cooperation on Chernobyl. We are convinced that it is necessary to continue and to step up the work within the Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development (2006-2016), proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 62/9.

The United Nations should be the catalyst in coordinating international Chernobyl cooperation. We support the efforts of UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark, to put the UN Action Plan for Chernobyl Recovery to 2016 into action. We welcome the active participation of all involved UN agencies, the World Bank, IAEA and other international organizations in its implementation. We would also like to commend the contribution by famous tennis player Maria Sharapova, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for Chernobyl. It is important to us to keep the emphasis in this work on the sustainable development of the territories affected by radiation.

We consider the adoption by consensus of the UNGA resolution on Chernobyl last December as the confirmation of solidarity of the international community with the efforts of affected States as well as its readiness to continue to pay necessary attention to the Chernobyl issues at the international level.

We commend the results of the International Conference on Chernobyl held in Kiev last week. We are convinced that these results will contribute the development of an important area of international cooperation such as strengthening of response capacity to the technological disasters and, in particular, to those associated with radioactive accidents. In the context of new challenges and threats our civilization is facing, such kind of cooperation is on the agenda as never before. The experience of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation and its readiness to explore the international cooperation in this field is well known.

We highly appreciate the international assistance extended to the Government of Ukraine and call upon all partners to continue efforts to complete the construction of the Shelter facility to transform the site into a stable and environmentally safe system. Russia has been donor of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund from 2005. In this context we would like to announce the decision of the Russian Government to make a contribution of 5 million Euros to the Nuclear Safety Account in 2012 and pledges of 20 million Euros in 2011 and 20 million in 2012 to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund.

In conclusion we express our appreciation to the leadership of the UNDP assuming the coordinator functions on Chernobyl since 2004 for its contribution into the strengthening of international cooperation in this field as well as to other organizations, in particular, humanitarian ones who worked hand in hand with us all these years.

Thank you.