UNDP > Speeches & Statements > in Belarus
Speech of Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus, at the CORE website presentation, 10 November 2004
Mr. Chairman, Excellences, distinguished guests!
Eighteen years after the Chernobyl disaster hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering its tragic aftermath. In some cases people’s lives have improved because of their own efforts and those of the government and the international community. But in too many cases their lives have not changed for the better and Chernobyl continues to cloud their future. We, at the UN Office in Belarus are particularly sensitive to the needs of the victims of the disaster and that is why the issue remains such high priority on the UN agenda.
The UN acknowledges the enormous efforts by the Government to deal with the tragedy and the quality of that response. We are well aware that, despite difficulties faced in this transition period, the Government has nonetheless managed to allocate substantial funds to deal with Chernobyl related issues.
However, much still remains to be done to mitigate the human consequences of the tragedy. The bulk of the high level international assistance has so far targeted territorial cleanup, humanitarian assistance, and building a Chernobyl “Shelter”, while the sustainable development of the victims of contamination has only recently become the focus of attention. Time has come to focus our attention on the people directly and put them at the center of our efforts.
The 2002 joint UN Chernobyl Report entitled Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. A Strategy for Recovery has emphasized the need to shift from traditional humanitarian assistance to a more long range goal, involving a more developmental approach to stimulate economic and social development, education and awareness raising, while continuing to provide primary health care, radiation monitoring and health monitoring. The report also stressed that, rather than addressing specific issues, the approach should be holistic, integrating health, environmental and economic measures to address the needs of the concerned populations. A high priority should be given to addressing the needs of children and young people.
Signing of the CORE Declaration started a new wave in the approach towards the rehabilitation of Chernobyl affected areas. The CORE Programme was registered this year and is now an important cornerstone of the new Chernobyl strategy. We need to send a very clear message to the outside world, to the citizens of Belarus and to interested donors and international organizations, that we, the signatory of the Declaration, intend to keep our promises and to translate words and promises into firm strategies for practical action to help the most vulnerable.
In July, I visited Slavgorod district, buried villages, memorial “Park of the buried villages”, met with the local people and the local authorities. The desire of all whom I met to work on rehabilitation of the district expressed during those meetings once again confirmed that the participation of the people in the development and implementation of such activities must be a key ingredient for success.
UNDP support project to CORE programme in cooperation with the Committee of Chernobyl and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation became the first step to implement the approaches stated in the UN Chernobyl report. The CORE Website that is presented today is one of the steps to meet the information needs of the population living in Chernobyl affected areas. We hope that website will serve to be an excellent tool to respond to the information needs of the people who live in the affected areas and to draw attention to local concerns that require assistance from the government and international community.
New UNDP Country Programme Document (CPD) that is currently being prepared for the period 2006-2010 puts emphasis on the importance of continued support to regional development and to promote the socio-economic recovery of Chernobyl affected areas. Support to Cooperation for Rehabilitation Programme (CORE) will continue more systematically by applying area-based development schemes under which socio-economic issues such as employment promotion, SME development, micro-credit facilities, will be tackled in a given geographic location be it Slavgorod, Stolin, Chechersk, Bragin, or any other district affected by Chernobyl.
The upcoming 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe should become another occasion to highlight the importance of sustainable development of affected territories. As a knowledge-based organization, UNDP will continue to develop value-added content with new innovative programmes and involve partners from different regions of the country and internationally.
In conclusion, I encourage all our partners present here to continue their efforts in assisting people living in affected territories, and to provide information to the CORE website to promote information and knowledge sharing for development of the affected territories.
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