Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation

 

The Round Table Discussion was co-organized by Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations, Project Chernobyl, and Russian American Foundation. It brought together representatives from different countries, international organizations and scientists to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. Its main purpose was to showcase the post-Chernobyl experience and discuss its implication for continued international cooperation on other technological threats.

Country and international organization leaders expressed their appreciation of the global collaboration efforts to identify and mitigate Chernobyl’s consequences. Representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, UN DESA and Kazakhstan especially thanked UNDP for its leadership, and scientists as well as the WHO for their quantitative studies on medical consequences in the affected region. Participants of the Round Table Discussion including the representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, WHO, IAEA, the United States, and Chernobyl Children International also shared the important contribution of their countries and organizations.

The invited scientist Valentina Drozd from Project Chernobyl turned the attention to the greater challenge now: helping to solve the puzzle of a virtual epidemic of thyroid cancer around the world. Her research identified this phenomenon in Belarus and other countries including the United States. Mary H. Ward found that contamination of drinking water with nitrates caused by agricultural fertilizers, animal, and human waste was one of the leading factors for the dramatic rise in the radiation-induced thyroid cancer in Belarus. At the same time, Yuri E. Nikiforov also suggested genetics mechanisms of post-Chernobyl cancer.

Throughout the meeting, participants emphasized that the terrible suffering experienced by millions after Chernobyl can be alleviated in part through the efforts of the international community to advance medical and scientific knowledge, which will benefit untold millions around the world.

Meeting: Round Table Discussion “Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation”
Date/Location: Wednesday, April 26, 2017; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Dmitry Mironchik, Head of Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus;
Sergey Kononuchenko, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations;
Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UNDESA;
Rusian Bultrikov, Deputy Permanent Representative, Minister-Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations;
Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director, Office at the United Nations, WHO;
Valentina Drozd, MD, PhD, Head of International Department of “Project Chernobyl”;
Xolisa Mabhongo, Representative of the IAEA Director General, Director of the IAEA Office in New York;
Matthew Dolbow, Counsellor for Economic and Social Affairs, United States Mission to the United Nations;
Mary H. Ward, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental (Rockville, USA);
Kathleen Ryan, Chairperson of US Board, Chernobyl Children International;
Yuri E. Nikiforov, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology; Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology; Director, Division of Molecular & Genomic Pathology (Pittsburgh, USA)
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Strengthening the Science-Policy-Society Interface for Achieving Sustainable Development

sdg2The economic, social and environmental challenges facing societies range from regional to global in scale. There is an urgent need for the international science community to develop the knowledge and strengthen the science-policy-science interface for achieving sustainable development. Therefore, it is crucial to shape effective responses and foster global justice, which would facilitate progress toward sustainable development goals. The global change research community plays a central role in understanding the functioning and human impacts of Earth System.

Mr. Mc Bean introduced Future Earth, an international scientific community, which serves as a global platform for international science collaboration. It aims at providing knowledge required for societies in the world to face risks posed by global environmental change and to seize opportunities in transition to global sustainability. The key objectives are to build and connect global knowledge to intensify the impact of research and find new ways to accelerate sustainable development. Mr. Nakicenovic pointed out that the global problems, including access to water; food and energy need to be resolved immediately. He emphasized vigorous investment is needed in human capacity and knowledge, in order to create a niche market for sustainable development systems. Ms. Abrahamse echoed Mr. Nakicenovic’s comments. She specifically talked about the importance of the easy access to information, which would empower and create solutions for solving the grand societal challenges.

Mr. Ullah introduced the bipolar linear system – “The pipeline approach” in understanding the concept between consultation and collaboration. He also highlighted it is essential to maintain the independence of science so as to contribute to problem solving and foster innovation, leadership and competitive advantage. Mr. Davies addressed the issues between good governance and sustainable development. He concluded by underlining the need for an overarching vision on poverty eradication, and the development of partnerships to sustain a strong science-policy interface.

Meeting Title: Strengthening the science-policy-society interface for achieving sustainable development
Speakers: Gordan Mc Bean, President-elect of the International Council for Science; Nebojsa Nakicenovic Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of South African National Biodiversity Institute; Farooq Ullah, Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum; Peter Davies, Wales’ Commissioner for Sustainable Future
Location: ECOSOC, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 1 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited by Wit Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

OWG for Sustainable Development Goals: Focus Areas 15 & 16

Focus Area 15: Means of implementation/Global partnership for sustainable development 

Focus area 16: Peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions

H.E. the Ambassador of Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China acknowledged that the implementation process of the SDGs would determine the success of the program. The G77 delegates reiterated their support of Bolivia’s statement that the MDGs were weakened by the ill-defined implementation programs, particularly for the 8th MDG, and therefore action-orientated targets are key to maximising outcomes.

Delegates commonly asked that focus area 15 address; the removal of tariff boundaries, debt relief, market and trade access, prevention of elicit arms trade and human trafficking. H.E. the Ambassador of Denmark, Ambassador of Switzerland and representatives on behalf of Norway, Germany, France, and Australia, affirmed the need to engage with civil society, media and private sectors alongside multiple levels of governance for successful implementation worldwide.

State ambassadors and those representing the G77, Caricom, and the Non-aligned Movement have emphasised the role of peace as indispensable to the achievement of sustainable development for all states. In particular, H.E. the Ambassador of Croatia, focused on Croatia’s recent experience of war and corrupt governance, which has cemented their firm believe that factors of Sustainable Development are lead by safety, freedom of speech, inclusiveness, and institutions that are both accountable and capable.

Representative of Zimbabwe who spoke on behalf of the Southern African Counties expressed that the primary focus should instead be on the eradication of poverty, which would, in turn, provide peace to states. Representatives of Denmark, Egypt, Cuba and Brazil shared their concerns for inclusive societies and rule of law as a whole focus area and consider instead mainstreaming these targets throughout the paper amongst other focus areas.

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Meeting Title: Eleventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (9th meeting: Focus Areas 15 and 16)

Key Speakers:Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Hungary Csaba Kőrösi, Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Kenya Macharia Kamau and delegates on behalf of: Bolivia, China, Barbados, Iran, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Lesotho, Colombia, Guatemala, Nauru, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Australia, United States, Canada, Romania, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Singapore, Palau, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Latvia, Austria, Portugal, Cuba, Morocco, Egypt, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, India and Vanuatu

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Date: May 9th 2014

Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

 

Post 2015 Development Agenda Recommendations

United Nations, New York Headquarters, 20 January 2014

On Monday, January 20th, the Woman’s International Forum (WIF) held a presentation featuring Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, special advisor to the secretary general on the post-2015 development planning. She opened her presentation by recognizing the 715 days left to accomplish current Millennial Development Goals (MDGs). With little time before the post-2015 agenda is implemented, Ms. Mohammed suggested various changes to the MDG’s to better adapt the new agenda with current global affairs. The special advisor stated the most essential characteristic of the post-2015 agenda is the need for realistic goals with common denominators. She finds this quality imperative to the effectiveness and adherence to the post-2015 agenda.

Following her introduction, Ms. Amina Mohammed continued her presentation by arguing that the post-2015 agenda should distribute its goals between climate change, openness and responsibility of governments, inequality and discrimination, technology, and job security rather than focusing primarily on poverty. Although she acknowledges the gravity of poverty throughout the world, she stated that the current MDGs focus far too heavily on this issue and not enough on the areas previously mentioned. Moreover, Ms. Mohammed argued that gender inequality should be a priority in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda. With inequality and discrimination embedded in economic, social, and political domains, the advisor to the secretary general emphasized that societies will not be able to successfully evolve, making regional issues of the world generational issues. The post-2015 agenda gives member states an opportunity for a global paradigm shift, changing worldwide views that negatively effect the population.

The final part of her presentation addressed the significance of the post-2015 agenda’s global success. “Failure is not an option,” Ms. Mohammed stated, as she argued the progress for this agenda must not mirror the limited success of the current MDGs. In addition, Ms. Mohammed emphasized the use of pilot projects should be completely eliminated in the post-2015 agenda, explaining the wealth of knowledge in the world to know if a program will be effective and scalable. She supported this idea with her personal experiences in Nauru, the United Nation’s smallest member state with a population of less than 10,000. With poverty rates extremely high and a meek future for their young people, Ms. Mohammed argued that the post-2015 development agenda must reach small nations similar to Nauru, as it is essential this agenda does not, “leave any member state behind.”

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Meeting Title: Women’s International Forum: Meeting on “The Post-2015 Development Agenda – Enabling a life of dignity for all”

Key Speakers: Special Advisor of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, H.E. Irmeli Viinanen, H.E. Malini Nambiar

Written by WIT Representative: Alexander Luong