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What is the Chernobyl Forum?

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Question: What is the Chernobyl Forum?

Many reports about the ongoing, long-term environmental and health effects from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 reference the work of the Chernobyl Forum. But what is the Chernobyl Forum, when and why was it established, and who are its members?

Answer: First organized in February 2003, the Chernobyl Forum was essentially a series of occasional meetings that brought together representatives from eight United Nations organizations as well as Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to examine and evaluate the environmental and health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident that occurred on April 26, 1986, and to offer advice on how best to deal with those issues.

The Chernobyl Forum was established to contribute to the implementation of the UN strategy launched in 2002 on the Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident – A Strategy for Recovery [pdf].

The stated purpose of the Chernobyl Forum was "to scientifically clarify the radiological environmental and health consequences of the Chernobyl [nuclear] accident, to provide advice on and to contribute to a scientifically sound remediation and health care programmes, and to consider the necessity of, and opportunities for, continued research/learning lessons."

Chernobyl Forum members conducted research and wrote technical and scientific papers intended to provide reliable information about the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, increase public understanding about its consequences, and offer solid recommendations to help the affected countries optimize their remediation of land contaminated by radiation and health care for people affected by the accident.

The eight UN organizations involved in the Chernobyl Forum included the:

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Bank

The third and final meeting of the Chernobyl Forum took place in April 2005, but the work didn't stop there. Analyses and reports completed by members of the Chernobyl Forum, and many of the efforts begun there, will be disseminated and carried forward by the various UN organizations and countries involved.

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