Your Excellency Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi Madame Sahle-Work Zewde,
Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat,
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners, dear colleagues,
Representatives of Ukrainian community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all at the opening of the Poster exhibition “Chernobyl Lessons for the Future. Solidarity with Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.
On this day, 26th of April, the world community remembers horrific tragedy, mourns its victims and honors all those involved in overcoming consequences of the disaster at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Defined as the largest technological disaster of the XXth century, Chernobyl catastrophe was the only one in the history of commercial nuclear power to cause fatalities from radiation, the level of which was about 40 times higher than after Hiroshima.
According to data of the "Chornobyl Union" Organization, the explosion and its consequences killed about 60 000 people, exposed millions to dangerous levels of radiation and forced a wide-scale permanent evacuation of hundreds of towns and villages.
Ukraine still has to deal with a number of Chernobyl’s legacy issues, its health and environmental effects, ruined cities and protection from radiation of the remains in the reactor.
Since then considerable work has been done to protect the world from further radiation spread, much owing to the international donor community.
After the disaster and the initial sarcophagus was built over the destroyed nuclear reactor, the New Safe Confinement – a 25,000 ton arch-shaped structure, was moved into position to safeguard the radioactive site, with tons of nuclear fuel still inside.
This year’s commemorations are therefore partly dedicated to approaching completion of the testing and handover of the Confinement to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant administration.
Today’s event is even more remarkable as the Chernobyl day is commemorated at the United Nations Office in Nairobi.
Its relevance is largely determined by the location in Nairobi of two United Nations agencies – UN Environment and UN-Habitat, whose potential is unique in mitigating and overcoming specific aspects of disaster-related consequences, such as acute environmental risks and destruction of homes and infrastructure - to name just a few.
This event is also a demonstration of solidarity with the victims of atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as the Government and people of Japan, having previously experienced the impact of nuclear radiation, have been actively providing medical, human, and financial assistance to the people and areas of Ukraine affected by Chernobyl disaster.
It is also my privilege to thank the Organizing Committee of the Poster Exhibition on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for their valuable support in arranging this commemorative event and the exhibition.
Clearly, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the Chernobyl region. My Government is grateful for assistance of donors and places much hope on continued support by international community. The Chernobyl issue remains an important item on the United Nations agenda to support the activities aimed at recovery of Chernobyl-affected territories.
Having made a historic contribution to the global process of nuclear disarmament by renouncing voluntarily the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal, Ukraine is in a unique position to promote the disarmament and nonproliferation issue at the United Nations Security Council as a current non-permanent member.
Today Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl serve as a good historical reminder for those States who try to threaten with nuclear weapon.
The Article 2 of the UN Charter clearly determines: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". Today this provision is of special relevance for us.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
let me announce a moment of silence for all those who died in a nuclear explosions and while trying to mitigate negative consequences of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chornobyl.
I thank you.