On March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan. It was the most powerful earthquake to ever impact Japan and one of the five most powerful earthquakes recorded since records began in 1900.
In addition to loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami also caused significant damage at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima).
Following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident in March, 2011, the Japanese government approved the release of thousands of tons of low-level radioactive water into the sea by power company TEPCO as an emergency measure to make room for more contaminated water.
Neighboring countries, including Korea, China, and Russia, protested the dumping as a violation of international of law and for lack of notification by the Japanese government. In addition, the Japanese government has been criticized by both the domestic public and foreigners as withholding public access to information.
This accident show natural disasters bring the secondary environmental damages. International environmental law requires to countries emergency notification.
Therefore, KELA has proposed motion as follow.
IUCN might be a good moderator in international cooperation in notification and consultation process for this matter.
Management for Secondary Environmental Damages by Natural Disasters
MINDFUL OF the significant impact on human life and the environment of natural disaster such as earthquake, tsunami, storm, landslide, flood, volcano eruption and other disasters,
RECALLING disaster damages to human being and the environment are also resulted from the secondary damages through industrial accidents after natural disaster,
UNDERSTANDING that we cannot stop the natural disaster itself; however, we can prevent, prepare and respond to the secondary environmental damages from natural disaster in order to reduce the frequency and severity of the damages,
AWARE that many industrial zone and nuclear power plant complex are located on riverside that is exposed to flood and coastal zone that is vulnerable to tsunami and storm.
AFFIRMING all prevention measures to reduce serious adverse effects of secondary industrial accidents by natural disaster on human beings and the environment are necessary,
ACKNOWLEDGING of promoting the rational, economic and efficient use of preventive, preparedness and response measures to enable environmentally sound and sustainable economic development,
AWARE of necessity of natural disaster action system through a manual for disaster emergency response, disaster recovery and ecosystem distortion action,
EMPHASIZING of restoration research through consistent monitoring regarding environmental damages by natural disaster,
CONSCIOUS of the role played in this respect by the government, Non-Governmental Organizations and public,
AFFIRMING importance of public access to information on natural disasters and subsequent industrial accidents, and subsequent measures,
NOTING the secondary damages to environment influence not only domestic jurisdiction but also beyond the jurisdiction,
AFFIRMING the need to promote active international cooperation among the States concerned before, during and after an accident, to enhance appropriate policies and to coordinate action at all appropriate levels for the prevention of, preparedness for and response to the transboundary effects of natural disaster and subsequent industrial accidents,
RECALLING significant adverse impact of Fukushima nuclear accident to human well-being and ecosystem service,
NOTING that Korea, Japan and China agreed to start discussion on establishing early notification framework in case of emergency and exchanging experts, and to contemplate on exchange of information regarding the analysis and forecast of air flow trajectory on a real time basis in case of nuclear accident on 22 May 2011 after Fukushiman accident.
CONSCIOUS of the role of international governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations based on new global governance in international environmental regime,
RECOGNIZING the importance of the early and prompt notification rule regarding natural disasters and subsequent industrial accidents, and subsequent measures for management of the damages,
The IUCN World Conservation Congress at its 5th session in Jeju, Korea 6-15 September 2012:
1. AFFIRMS that urgent action is necessary for prevention and post-management of the secondary environmental damages from natural disaster,
2. CALLS ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:
a. to review their prevention and post-management systems for secondary environmental damages from natural disaster,
b. to make a manual for disaster emergency response, disaster recovery and ecosystem distortion action,
c. to cooperate with regional countries that affect each other in case of occurrence of natural disasters and industrial accidents resulted from natural disasters,
d. to cooperate for exchange of experts regarding disaster emergency response and ecosystem monitoring action,
e. to make a regional agreement that provides early and prompt notification and consultation system to reduce the secondary environmental damages,
f. to recognize the rights of public to access the information provided by affecting countries, and the non-discriminational rights of the foreign public,
3. CALLS ON NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION:
a. to enhance public awareness of public access to environmental information,
b. to urge government to develop and to establish the transparent and effective system for access to information,
c. to hold stakeholder meeting in regional group for discussing the public access to information system,
4. CALLS ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:
a. to participate in monitoring project in ecosystem destroyed by natural disaster
b. to make a manual of management of secondary environmental damages by natural disaster
c. to investigate any environmental risk from natural disaster in the IUCN protected areas and call introduction of early notification system to concerned countries,
5. REQUEST North East Asian countries including Korea, China and Japan to take a step for concluding regional agreement regarding early notification system in nuclear accident and natural disaster as they agreed on 22 May 2012 as a pilot programme for this motion.