Statement by Mr. Khalil Hashmi, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth Committee) on Effects of Atomic Radiation (21 October 2011)

Madame President,

I thank you for giving me the floor.

On behalf of Pakistan’s delegation, I thank the Chairman of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) for his briefing.

Pakistan greatly values the role of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) in promoting wider knowledge and understanding of the levels, effects and risks of atomic and ionizing radiation on human beings and environment. This role is further optimized by its legitimacy as a representative, scientific body of the UN General Assembly.

We have noted the overview of the Committee’s activities for year 2010-11, in the report contained in document number A/66/46. The Committee has initiated important follow up on the nuclear accident resulting from the tragic earthquake and tsunami in East Japan. We look forward to its assessment of the subject during its fifty-ninth and sixtieth sessions in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The Committee’s work on the eve of 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Incident as well as on Radiological situation in Marshall Islands is equally invaluable. Pakistan aligns itself with wider objectives of the Committee and intends to make substantive contributions to its work.

Madame Chairperson,

Pakistan has attended the last four sessions of the UNSCEAR as Observer. Our experience of operating radiation facilities is, however, much older than our engagement with the UNSCEAR. This experience spans more than fifty years. We operate facilities ranging from a small radiation source to a full fledged medical centre having therapeutic radiation sources. We have a wide variety of medical and industrial irradiators. Our participation in the UNSCEAR Global Survey of Medical Radiation usage and exposures as well in various international studies on dietary and environmental impacts of radiations are well documented. Our ongoing studies on assessment of radiation doses to the patients in diagnostic/interventional radiology as well as on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs) in the country are also important for improving the quality of life and healthcare in the country.

Madame Chairperson,

We believe that the work of the Scientific Committee is only going to increase, as application of radiations in our daily lives expands. Up-gradation and wider dissemination of knowledge regarding ionizing radiation and its effects on our lives and ecosystems are, therefore, imperative. Expertise available around the world has to be harnessed to enrich the work of the Scientific Committee. To this end, the General Assembly Resolution 61/109 had initiated an important process. Five years later, the process has matured. It is therefore logical to include the six observer states to the UNSCEAR as its full members. A major portion of the financial implication for such an expansion has already been factored in the budget for biennium 2010-11. The remaining minor portion, as estimated in the Secretary General’s report (document A/63/478) can be handled in a number of innovative ways. Our delegation is willing to work with the Committee in further exploring these ideas.

Madame Chairperson,

We are hopeful that as per the traditions of the Fourth Committee, this year’s Resolution will also be adopted by consensus. Pakistan’s delegation is committed to working with other Member States in finalizing a mutually acceptable consensus resolution.

I thank you.