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Mandate of the Committee

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation was established in 1955 by Resolution 913 (X) of the General Assembly in response to widespread concerns about the effects of radiation on human health and the environment. Over the decades, UNSCEAR has evolved to become the world authority on global levels and effects of ionizing radiation. It remains a major challenge to review the flood of new information on radiation levels and effects and synthesize it into a coherent picture for use by policy makers and other stakeholders.

"The General Assembly requests the Committee:"

(a) To receive and assemble in an appropriate and useful form the following radiological information furnished by States Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies:

(i) reports on observed levels of ionizing radiation and radioactivity in the environment;

(ii) reports on scientific observations and experiments relevant to the effects of ionizing radiation upon man and his environment already under way or later undertaken by national scientific bodies or by authorities of national Governments;

(b) To recommend uniform standards with respect to procedures for sample collection and instrumentation, and radiation counting procedures to be used in analyses of samples;

(c) To compile and assemble in an integrated manner the various reports, referred to in sub-paragraph (a) (i) above, on observed radiological levels;

(d) To review and collate national reports, referred to in sub-paragraph (a) (ii) above, evaluating each report to determine its usefulness for the purposes of the Committee;

(e) To make yearly progress reports and to develop a summary of the reports received on radiation levels and radiation effects on man and his environment together with the evaluations provided for in sub-paragraph (d) above and indications of research projects which might require further study;

(f) To transmit from time to time, as it deems appropriate, the documents and evaluations referred to above to the Secretary-General for publication and dissemination to States Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies."

UNSCEAR does not address the benefits or economics of radiation technology, nor does it set protection policy, these being within the mandate of other international bodies.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 December 2008