Posted on December 21, 2020 in
Written by: David B. Honig
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) was asked by several journalists and others about its relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was feared that WHO could not act independently on exposure to radioactive substances and human health, as it was bound by the 1959 agreement between the two agencies. This concern is unfounded. Since the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2007, a “hippocrates vigil” has been held daily at WHO offices in Geneva, organized by the independent WHO to convince WHO to abandon the WHO-IAEA agreement. The protest continued with the 62nd WHO World Health Assembly, which ended yesterday and will continue through today`s Board of Directors meeting. The group is struggling to get support from WHO`s MEMBER STATES. But the scientific argument against the agreement is growing, the last time the European Committee on Radiological Risks (ECRR) called for its abandonment at its conference earlier this month in (Greece). On 28 May 1959, the World Health Organization (WHO) signed the agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), known as WHA12-40. When we righted our collective and, in the years that followed, the denunciation of this agreement was a central element of our demands. Indeed, we have seen this agreement as the main reason why WHO cannot fulfil its mission in the health consequences of radioactivity. However, this agreement is an area between us and the role it plays in our ideas and actions, and the following lines explain why we are no longer calling for the revision of this agreement and that it cannot be said that this agreement prevents WHO from fulfilling its mission to the victims of radioactivity.
In going back to the text of the agreement, we find what we have denounced in particular: “The International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization agree that, in order to facilitate the effective achievement of the objectives set out in their respective constitutional conventions, they will work closely together and regularly consult on issues of common interest.” “If one of the organizations proposes to launch a program or activity on a topic on which the other organization has or may have a substantial interest, the first party consults with the other party to adapt by mutual agreement.” British radiation biologist Keith Baverstock is a new victim of the agreement and way of thinking he created within WHO. From 1991 to 2003, he was a radiologist and regional advisor in the WHO Office of the European Union when he was dismissed after expressing to his leaders the fear that new epidemiological evidence of nuclear veterans and soldiers exposed to depleted uranium would suggest that current models of nuclear radiation risk underestimated the real dangers. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Director General of the World Health Organization may enter into agreements on the implementation of this agreement that are deemed desirable given the operational experience of both organizations. Adoption by the Twelfth World Health Assembly on 28 May 1959 by resolution WHA12.40. Under the agreement, if one of the two organizations wants to do something that the other might have an interest in, “consult with the other organization to resolve the issue by mutual agreement.” Both agencies must “provide comprehensive information on all activities envisaged and on all work programmes that may be of interest to both parties.”