26 April 2015 – In a message to mark the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today remembered 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,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's Spokesperson. “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.”
He drew attention to the fact that the UN proclaimed 2006-2016 a 'Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development' for regions affected by the disaster, and established a UN Action Plan on Chernobyl, all in an effort to advance socio-economic development, promote healthy lifestyles and restore a sense of community self-reliance.
The Decade and Action Plan come to an end on 31 December 2016 and, in response, the UN Development Programme Administrator and the UN Co-ordinator of International Cooperation on Chernobyl initiated a series of consultations to define the vision for post-2016 international cooperation, providing substantive inputs to the new Secretary-General's Report on Chernobyl and a 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,” said the statement. “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.”