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The Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
A Strategy for Recovery

A Report Commissioned by UNDP and UNICEF with the support of UN-OCHA and WHO

22 January 2002

Executive Summary


The Report argues that the environmental effects of Chernobyl cannot be considered in isolation from their socio-economic and health aspects or from the changing institutional context of the three countries concerned. It explores the links between environmental contamination, health risks and economic constraints. The Report finds that, while physical processes are gradually reducing the level of radioactive contamination in the environment, the most vulnerable groups of people in the affected areas are facing a complex and progressive downward spiral of living conditions induced by the consequences of the accident and the events that followed.

1.10 The Report outlines a ten year strategy for tackling and reversing this downward spiral. It makes a series of recommendations designed to address the human needs resulting directly or indirectly from the accident. These aim to promote long-term recovery through a new consensus between the main parties involved, new partnerships and a new generation of initiatives designed to assist the individuals and the communities concerned to take their future in their own hands. On the basis of the assessment undertaken, the Mission identified the following five key principles which underlie the approach it recommends to tackling the consequences of the accident:

* Chernobyl related needs should be addressed in the framework of a holistic view of the needs of the individuals and communities concerned and, increasingly, of the needs of society as a whole;

* the aim must be to help individuals to take control of their own lives and communities to take control of their own futures;

* efficient use of resources means focusing on the most affected people and communities, and on children. The response must be commensurate to the scale of the needs;

* the new approach should seek changes that are sustainable and long-term, and based on a developmental approach;

* the international effort can only be effective if it supports, amplifies and acts as a lever for change in the far larger efforts made by local and national government agencies and the voluntary sector in the three countries.

To the full report in pdf format