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Op-Ed: Overcoming Chornobyl, other challenges
Опубліковано 22 квітня 2016 року о 08:49

Текст мовою оригіналy (англ.)

Overcoming Chornobyl and Other Challenges

 

By Volodymyr Pakhil, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Indonesia

 

On April 22 the world celebrates Earth Day. A day for ecological awareness, discussions about the environment, lessons learned, plans for the future of our green planet.

Just days away is another environment-related occasion. 30 years ago, on 26 April 1986, a disastrous fire broke out at the Chornobyl nuclear energy plant in north Ukraine and led to one of the most prominent nuclear catastrophes of the atomic age.

The disaster and the inadequate handling of the situation by the former Soviet authorities have taken a heavy toll on Ukraine. Currently around two million Ukrainians have the official status of citizens affected by the Chornobyl disaster. Around 35 thousand families receive welfare benefits from the state due to the loss of the provider.

The nuclear accident also affected the economy, especially the agrarian and industrial sectors, forestry and fisheries.

The President of Ukraine declared 2016 a year to honor the rescue workers who participated in the Chornobyl disaster mitigation efforts, and to remember the accident’s victims. This illustrates just how much of a priority the Chornobyl issue is for Ukraine today.

In line with the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of Ukraine and the Governments of the G7 Countries and the Commission of the European Communities, the power plant has fully stopped operating.

The number one task right now is to create an environmentally safe system in the area and to complete the new confinement over the energy bloc where the fatal fire took place. The international community is participating in the facilitation of the project, and we are infinitely grateful for the support. Also, for thirty years now numerous countries have been opening their doors to victims of Chornobyl in need of rehabilitation. But that’s not the only contribution of the international community to the environmental situation in the region.

The UN, the OSCE, the EU, and various partner-countries are consistently supporting Ukraine in its effort to contain Russia’s military aggression. The danger of another ecological catastrophe is looming due to the ongoing violence. Mineral mines and hazardous industrial sites have become the object of pillaging and shelling.

The challenges on Ukraine’s agenda are many. They are precisely what made Ukraine stronger.

When faced with an ecological disaster, Ukraine continued to raise its technical and scientific potential.

Today Ukraine is an international forerunner in science and technology with a 99.7% literacy rate, 130 000 engineering graduates annually. Ukraine is the 4th most educated nation in the world, number one in software engineering in Central-Eastern Europe, and the owner of the fourth aerospace industry in the world. We have a wealth of all-around experience that we can share with international partners looking to expand their own technological and scientific capacities. Despite the challenges facing Ukraine and thanks to them, our country remains an advantageous international partner.

Jakarta Post,

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