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Source: Small Island Developing States

7 September 2019: Sand and Dust Storms Day at the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) saw the launch of an international coalition for action on sand and dust storms (SDS). Among other activities, the coalition will develop an SDS source base map with the goal of improving monitoring and response to these storms.

According to an UNCCD press release on the Day, “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.”

SDS affect approximately 77% of UNCCD country Parties, or approximately 151 countries. Of these, 45 are classified as SDS source areas. To mitigate this phenomena, which have various health, economic, and environmental impacts, the UNCCD supports a three-pillar approach that focuses on (1) early warning systems; (2) preparedness and resilience; and (3) anthropogenic source mitigation. Within this framework, the Convention supports joint research and monitoring, capacity building, policy development, disaster planning, and sustainable land management measures, in addition to other actions.

A guest article on the SDG Knowledge Hub titled, ‘Dust Disregards Political Boundaries’ discusses how momentum to address SDS has been growing. In December 2017, for instance, the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a UN system-wide approach and action plan to address SDS.

Coalition members include: UN Environment Programme (UNEP), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

UNCCD COP 14 is convening in Delhi, India from 2-14 September 2019. [UNCCD Sand and Dust Storms] [UNCCD Press Release] [IISD RS coverage of UNCCD COP 14]

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