‘UNGA draft resolution turns combating SDS into a global issue’

December 25, 2017

TEHRAN — The adoption of a draft on combating sand and dust storms (SDS) in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) will turn it into a global issue which can garner international support to tackle its detrimental effects, the Iranian ambassador to the UN said.

The 72nd session of the UN General Assembly which closed on December 22, 2017 adopted a further draft on combating sand and dust storms. It recognized that such weather had inflicted substantial economic, social and environmental damage on the inhabitants of the world’s arid, semiarid and dry sub-humid areas, underscoring the need to treat and promptly take measures to address them. 

Sand and dust storms put many Iranian specially those residing southwestern areas of Iran to considerable inconvenience which requires national, regional and international cooperation to address it, Gholamali Khoshroo told IRNA news agency. 

“After rounds of talk lasting for two and half months finally the draft of the resolution was adopted,” he said, explaining, “the resolution has recognized the negative effects of sand and dust storms on the citizens health and considered it as an obstacle to achieve sustainable development goals and has called for urgent measures.”

Khoshroo went on to say that the resolution has prompted World Health Organization (WHO) to work out international and regional strategies to fight the health hazards posed by the sand and dust storms. 

Combatting sand and dust storms require “national determination” and close regional and international cooperation, the resolution tasks the UN to facilitate international cooperation and device a global mechanism to fight the issue, he added.

Ambassador to the UN further highlighted that all responsible UN agency are required to join hands to address the predicament.

The resolution has also underlined the need for increased technical support and capacity building for addressing the issue and assign UN Environment Program (UNEP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and WHO to provide the necessary support to the affected countries, he said. 

As proposed by Iran a conference will be held in July 2018 with UN high-ranking officials, representatives from other countries, NGOs, and researchers in attendance to discuss ways to improve cooperation in abating sand and dust storms, he noted.

Following Iran’s incessant efforts to foster international support to fight sand and dust storms representatives from more than 40 countries convened in Tehran on July 3-5, 2017 to look collectively into dust and sand storms. 

The meeting entitled “International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms: Challenges and Practical Solutions” was hosted by Iran’s Department of Environment and Foreign Ministry, with the cooperation of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, UN Environment and the UN Development Program among others.

Ministers and high-level representatives participating in the UN-backed conference wrapped up the second day with the Tehran Ministerial Declaration, agreeing to “cooperate on combating SDS at sub-regional regional, and international levels.”

MQ/MG

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