The United Nations appreciates the efforts of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to mitigate the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Kalman Mizsei, Regional Director for Europe and the CIS with the UN Development Programme told a news conference Friday. According to Mizsei, the first phase, which spanned the first fifteen years after the disaster, could be termed 'reactive' in that the relief efforts focused on maintaining the Chernobyl reactor's safety, relocating the people, and delivery of humanitarian aid. The ongoing 10-year "active or initiative phase" is intended to involve the international community and the governments of the disaster-stricken countries in a coordinated effort focusing on ensuring the disaster's victims have an opportunity to fully integrate into their communities, Mizsei believes. To this end, small business has to be encouraged and economic leverage has to be created to ensure jobs for the individuals in question, the UNDP Regional Director pointed out. At the end of the 10-year period, the region's health and environment demands need to be assessed, Mizsei stressed. He went on to say these issues must be written into an agreement between the states involved and the international community at large.
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