Feature Stories

Forum Sharpens Focus on Human Consequences of Chernobyl Accident

Staff Report

6 February 2003

At the IAEA's initiative, a Chernobyl Forum has been launched, with the participation of international organizations from within the UN family and representatives of the three countries primarily affected by the 1986 Chernobyl accident. The Forum was established with a view to contributing to the implementation of the new United Nations strategy launched in 2002 on the Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident - A Strategy for Recovery.

At the first organizational meeting, held from 3 to 5 February 2003 in Vienna, representatives of the participating UN organizations and countries discussed the following issues:

Following detailed discussions at the meeting it was decided to establish the Chernobyl Forum as a series of managerial, expert and public meetings with the following main objectives:

The first expert meeting of the Chernobyl Forum will be organized in June 2003.

The prime expectation from the Chernobyl Forum is that it will be able to issue authoritative statements and recommendations that will contribute to overcoming the widespread disagreements over the long-term impact of the Chernobyl accident. Reports will be produced aimed at assisting the affected countries to optimize their activities related to remediation of land contaminated with long-lived radionuclides and to providing health care to people affected by the accident. The Forum will identify any further research that might be needed to clarify remaining disagreements related to the long-term impact.

Members of the Forum are the relevant organizations from within the UN system -- including the IAEA, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank -- as well as representatives of the three States primarily affected by the Chernobyl accident, namely, Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It is also envisaged that other relevant international and national organizations, together with individual experts, who have been instrumental in the assessment and remediation efforts following the Chernobyl accident, will take part in the Forum.

An important task of the Chernobyl Forum will be to provide information to the public on the health and environmental effects of the Chernobyl accident. Public information specialists will be involved in the work of the Forum from the outset. An international conference, aimed at informing decision-makers, the general public and the media about the work, the findings and the recommendations of the Forum will be organized once the activities of the Forum are concluded.