“Today, we focus on sand and dust storms (SDS), a phenomena severely and increasingly affecting 151 countries in Africa, Asia, North America and Australia,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary in his opening remarks at the Sand and Dust Storms Day on 6 September at UNCCD COP14.
The day was marked by the launch of a new international coalition to strengthen coordinated action on SDS, which have damaging transboundary impacts on human health, the environment and key economic sectors. Highlighting the need to address SDS in both source and destination countries, Argentina proposed that the UNCCD direct its resources towards strengthening synergistic approaches to drought management, one of the main causes of SDS.
During the meeting, China called for robust international collaboration, especially developing joint standards on SDS intensity and undertaking large-scale interventions. India, the host country of the UNCCD COP14, presented its plan to develop SDS guidance for its states, while Iran reminded the participants that the rich body of traditional and modern knowledge on SDS hot spots could help create a stronger knowledge base for regional initiatives.
One of the new coalition's focus areas will be the development of the SDS source base map to improve monitoring of SDS and develop better response.
The coalition includes UNEnvironment, International Civil Aviation Organization, UN-Habitat, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, World Meteorological Organization, World Health Organization, UN Development Programme, World Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Institute for Training and Research and International Telecommunication Union.