UN lays out plan for future development of area around Chernobyl disaster site
Marking the twenty-second anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine on 26 April 1986, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today presented a draft action plan to support the Chernobyl area’s ongoing recovery until 2016.
The action plan is part of the “Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development” proclaimed by a 2007 UN General Assembly Resolution. The aim of the Decade, which runs from 2006 to 2016, is to promote a “return to normal life” for the region.
The UN’s plan is built on scientific findings showing that most people living in the affected areas need not fear negative health effects from radiation. The objective is to spur recovery by promoting new economic opportunities, including investment and job creation, and to restore community self-sufficiency. Accurate, up-to-date information is also being provided to counter widespread myths and misconceptions.
A statement issued by the spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the accident had had a huge impact on the region but that the outlook was hopeful: “We can take, heart, however, in the growing confidence that communities affected by the Chernobyl accident now have the chance and, increasingly, the means, to lead a normal life.”
Later this year, Russian tennis star and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Maria Sharapova plans to visit UNDP community development projects that her charitable foundation has funded since 2007. Ms. Sharapova, who has family roots in Gomel, a city not far from the damaged reactor, said that she looked forward to visiting the region, “and delivering a message of recovery, self-reliance, and healthy choices to young people.”