Fourth Committee: Statement by Minister Plenipotentiary Silberberg on Effects of Atomic Radiation

Nov 13, 2012

(Fourth Committee: Statement as delivered by Mr. Peter Silberberg, Minister Plenipotentiary, on Agenda item 50 “Effects of Atomic Radiation”)

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to transmit for action by the plenary of the Fourth Committee the draft resolution contained in document A/C.4/67/L8 of November 8, 2012, on Agenda item 50 entitled “Effects of Atomic Radiation”. Since the establishment of the Committee in 1955 this resolution has always been adopted by consensus.

The draft resolution deals with the important work of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic radiation (UNSCEAR), which is based in Vienna.

We just heard the presentation of the report by the chair of the Committee about the work undertaken by the Committee during last year and in particular during its 59thsession in Vienna in May 2012. I would like to thank Dr. Weiss, the chairman of the Committee, all members of the Committee and the secretariat for their important and excellent work.

The work of the Scientific Committee can not be overestimated. There is broad agreement on the continuing need for a high quality scientific expert body in the UN dealing with the effects of atomic radiation, responding to the needs of member states, disseminating important information and reacting to new circumstances. Let me highlight the work the Committee is doing to study the effects of the accident following the great earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 in Japan. In the resolution, we will, inter alia, endorse the intention of the Committee to complete at its next session an assessment of the levels of exposure and radiation risks attributable to this accident as well as a report on the effects of radiation exposure on children. Let me highlight that this work is only possible due to the commitment from member states to support the work of the Committee and to provide the Committee with relevant information.

More could be done by the Committee to respond to different requests from member states on a range of different issues related to the effects of atomic radiation, which would require additional ressources. The resolution therefore encourages all member states to continue their support for the work of the Committee.

Last year the General Assembly had decided to enlarge the membership of the Committee by the six countries Belarus, Finland, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Spain and Ukraine, which until 2011 had participated in the work of the Committee as observers. These countries participated in the work of the Committee for the first time as full members during the 59thsession and have added value to the Committee´s work. The decision the General Assembly took last year had allowed the Committee to refocus on its important work. I am grateful that the chair was able to report to us that this decision has increased the effectiveness and efficiency of the work of the Committee.

Let me express my thanks to all delegations which participated in the informals and helped to agree on this text in a constructive spirit as well as the 42 member states which have co-sponsored this resolution, sending a strong message of support to the work of the Committee.

I thank you."

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