TEHRAN (Iran News) –To tackle the rising issue of sand and dust storms (SDS), which affect over 150 countries across the world, coordinated global efforts are crucial, said AbdulHakim Elwaer, FAO Assistant Director-General, and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa at the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran.
Held on 9-10 September 2023, the Conference was organized by the Iranian Department of Environment (DOE) based on resolution number A77571 of the United Nations General Assembly in 2022, with the support of the United Nations. The event brought together representatives from more than 50 countries, highlighting the urgency of tackling SDS on a global scale.
In his address on behalf of the United Nations Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, Elwaer emphasized the transboundary nature of SDSs, which affects over 150 countries and poses substantial threats to human health, food security, transportation, energy, and the environment. He pointed out that the economic losses resulting from a single SDS event can reach hundreds of millions of dollars, further underlining the urgency of the matter.
Elwaer highlighted the role of climate change in exacerbating SDS hazards, with changes in temperature and precipitation levels leading to drought and degrading vegetation cover. These impacts disproportionately affect farmers and communities reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods, making it essential to develop sustainable practices and policies.
To address this critical issue, the United Nations Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms was established in 2019, comprising 19 UN agencies and non-UN organizations. Currently chaired by FAO, the Coalition is mandated to promote knowledge exchange, dialogue, capacity building, and global action against SDS.
Moreover, he emphasized the importance of implementing the Coalition’s strategy and action plan to mobilize political will and resources and strengthen global cooperation. He stressed the need for international collaboration to mitigate the source and reduce the impact of SDS on people, societies, and economies.
In closing, Elwaer expressed hope that the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms to achieve great success and reiterated FAO’s commitment to fostering cooperation among Coalition members and countries. He called for continued efforts in sustainable land, soil, and water management to protect health, livelihoods, and food security.
As the international community comes together to address the challenges posed by sand and dust storms, the FAO and the United Nations Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms stand ready to support countries in their efforts to combat SDS and reduce its impact on various sectors, he concluded.
Photo: AbdulHakim Elwaer, FAO Assistant Director-General, and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa.
- source : Tehrantimes