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Summary of Meeting with H. E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev

Date: 6 June 2013 (Thursday), from 12:00 to 13:30

Venue: Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations

 By: Mary Lam Ching Yin

During the 1.5-hour meeting, Mr. Sergeyev addressed three central aspects of Ukraine’s contribution to the UN, namely nuclear energy, food security and peacekeeping. The meeting anchored mainly at nuclear energy as a result of rising concerns expressed by the international community over nuclear safety and development of nuclear programs worldwide.

To begin with, Mr. Sergeyev reaffirmed Ukraine’s insistent commitment to share with the international community its achievement in nuclear energy development, and to speak openly about both the positive and negative sides of using nuclear energy. Mr. Sergeyev emphasized that openness, transparency and cooperation and highlighted three crucial elements in accomplishing nuclear safety around the world.

Mr. Sergeyev’s remarks on the various aspects with regards to nuclear development and safety are as follows:

  •  Although nuclear energy might not be a form of renewable energy, it undoubtedly realizes sustainable development. Being essentially carbon free, nuclear energy is clean and contributes to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore, nuclear energy should remain an energy option.
  • The major challenge in nuclear safety lies in cooling nuclear reactors (i.e. removing heat from the reactor core). Further advancement in science and technologies is much looked forward to in devising cooling systems which better guarantee safety;
  • Countries share responsibilities for nuclear safety. This is because environmental harm resulted from nuclear accidents are experienced at the expense of the world as a whole.
  • In order to subject nuclear development in each country to international supervision, it is crucial for countries to be open and transparent about their respective nuclear programs. Self-isolation of any country with regards to nuclear development poses potential threats to nuclear safety around the world
  • Sharing of know how should be encouraged among countries to ensure benefits for all. Wider application of technologies lowers the cost of acquiring such technologies, thus promoting availability.
  • Countries should learn from mistakes in order to avoid repeating history. Ukraine has learnt its lesson from the Chernobyl incident and is now fully committed to advancing nuclear safety in cooperation with the UN and related bodies. At the same time, Ukraine remains supportive of nuclear development on an international level.

 In addition to nuclear development and safety, Mr. Sergeyev enlightened us to Ukraine’s contribution to the UN with regards to food security.

In general terms, food security refers to one’s access to food and its availability. Mr. Sergeyev particularly drew our attention to the tremendous impact that political power has over food security with reference to the following two examples:

The Irish Potato Famine which took place between 1845 and 1852, following political decisions made by the Irish regime in managing property and rents. These decisions had led to the exploitation of the majority and forced them into a mono-culture of potato growing for survival, thus giving rise to potato dependency. Such dependency indicated a vulnerable food supply which would collapse entirely when blight struck Europe in 1840s, claiming lives of approximately 1 million.

The Holodomor, an artificial famine made by the Soviet regime from 1932 to 1933, resulting in deaths ranging between 2.2 million and 10 million.

Moreover, Mr. Sergeyev pointed out that in less developed countries or regions, substantial amount of quality land which could have favored food production are used for commercial development instead, thus lowering food availability. Mr. Sergeyev concluded the meeting by emphasizing the importance of the roles of regional actors in promoting food security in these regions.

Edited By Wayne Dean Doyle

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