WMO Supports SDS Conference
WMO set up the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment
System in 2007 with a network of forecast centers which build on the
central role of meteorological services in air quality monitoring.
Ministers and high-level representatives participating in the UN-backed
International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran (July
3-5) wrapped up with the Tehran Ministerial Declaration, agreeing to
“cooperate on combating SDS at sub-regional, regional, and international
The World Meteorological Organization voiced support for the conference
which was hosted by the Department of Environment and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the cooperation of the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat,
UN Environment, the UN Development Program, WMO and other UN entities.
“Sand and dust storms have major impacts on human health, agriculture, and
the transport sector, especially aviation services,” said WMO
Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a video message to the conference.
“Because of climate change we see drought more often and that means the
potential for sand and dust storms is growing.”
Taalas said that WMO would continue to promote free exchange of data,
observations and know-how to improve sand and dust storm forecasting and so
contribute to the greater public good.
WMO set up the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System in
2007 with a network of forecast centers which build on the central role of
meteorological services in air quality monitoring. The Barcelona Dust
Forecast Center provides forecasts of sand- and dust-storms for northern
Africa, the Middle East and Europe, whilst the Asian center is operated out
of Beijing by the China Meteorological Administration. It has a third center
co-hosted by Barbados and USA which is serving North and South America and
The conference in Tehran followed adoption of a UN General Assembly
resolution and aimed to share knowledge of the key challenges posted by sand
and dust storms; to identify practical solutions and concrete actions to
increase resilience; and to promote regional and international partnerships
to combat sand and dust storms.
Meanwhile, addressing the conference, President Hassan Rouhani said his
government was the administration of environment and the first decision it
made was to restore Lake Urmia.
The President described protecting the environment essential for health,
development and preventing excessive immigrations, stressing that solving
environmental issues requires planning and regional and international
“If there were no plan to restore Lake Urmia, we would face salt dust
storms,” added the President.
“Policies of restoring Hour-al-Azim Lagoon and efforts done to protect
wetlands and lakes will be continued and finalized,” Rouhani added.
Here is the full text of the Tehran Declaration:
Tehran Ministerial Declaration
International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms
Tehran, 3-5 July 2017
We, the Ministers and high-level representatives participating in the
International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms:
Having met in Tehran to exchange views, share experiences and best practices
on combating Sand and Dust Storms and to contribute
to global and regional efforts to put forward a concerted and collective
response to this serious challenge.
Recalling the UNGA Resolution 70/195, 71/219,
UNEA II Resolution 2/21 and WMO (World Meteorological Organization)
Congress Decision Cg-XV/22.214.171.124, UNESCAP Resolution 72/7 in which Sand and
Dust Storms has been acknowledged to be posing a daunting challenge to the
sustainable development of affected countries including and in particular in
Asia and Africa and that coordinated prompt measures are needed to address
it at national, regional and global levels.
Acknowledging that Sand and Dust Storms, which are on the rise in terms of
severity and frequency in many parts of the world, are detrimental to human
health, agricultural land, livelihoods, coastal and marine environment,
infrastructure, and the socio-economic systems, in all affected countries.
Fully aware that sand and dust storms occur due to natural biogeochemical
cycles of the Earth and human-induced
factors, including climate change, and unsustainable land management and
water use as well as
Recognizing the negative impacts of Sand and Dust storms on some countries
and regions that are far away from their hot spots, due to their
Further Recognizing that combating the challenge of Sand and Dust Storms
requires concerted and collaborative global, regional and sub-regional as
well as national responses to address this phenomenon and also underlining
the role of United Nations in promoting international cooperation and
partnerships among countries and other relevant stakeholders to combat Sand
and Dust Storms.
Agree to cooperate on combating SDS at sub-regional, regional, and
international levels on the following:
information, lessons learnt and best practices, exchange views
and expertise, develop mitigation and adaptation policies and measures,
exchange technical and monitored data and forecasting information to
reduce the risk of Sand and Dust Storms.
national legal and institutional frameworks to share early warning
information of Sand and Dust Storms and raise awareness and promote
integrated and synergistic actions across sectors and foster strengthened
cooperation among relevant institutions at global, regional and national
public awareness on the impact and cost of Sand and Dust
Storms on human health, agricultural practice, food security,
infrastructure, transport and in general socio-economic sectors and the
environment and partnerships among relevant stake holders on mitigation of
Collectively endeavor to enhance cooperation and coordination
at global, regional and sub-regional levels to address the causes and
impacts of Sand and Dust Storms including through the promotion of
sustainable water use and land management, to reduce future Sand and Dust
Storms risks and impacts.
implement a strategy on disaster risk reduction and resilience
to promote sustainable land management and water use in croplands,
rangelands, wetlands, deserts as well as rural and urban areas.
research activities for effective monitoring, impact based
assessment and forecasting and early warning mechanism for Sand and Dust
Storms, to address disaster prevention and mitigation and for development of
appropriate preparedness and effective response to Sand and dust storms.
enhanced regional and international cooperation to observe and forecast,
mitigate and cope with the adverse effects of Sand and Dust Storms, and seek
technical and financial support from the relevant United Nations
organisations to that end.
to further develop policy dialogue on responding to the issues of sand and
dust storms among interested countries in partnership with relevant
international bodies and organizations, including the establishment of a
future platform, in synergy with relevant United Nations System.
the role of the Asian and Pacific Center for the Development
of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), regional seas programs and SDS-WAS,
to develop human and institutional capacity through strengthened regional
cooperation in disaster information management.
Invite the Environment Management Group (EMG) of the UN to
consider initiating an inter-agency process involving relevant UN system
warranting to prepare a global response to Sand and Dust Storms including a
situation analysis, Strategy and an Action Plan. This could result in
developing a UN-wide approach in addressing Sand and Dust Storms which can
be used as an inter-agency framework for mid- or long-term cooperation and
division of labor.
the UN General Assembly to consider this declaration for appropriate
our deepest gratitude to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic
of Iran for the excellent arrangements and the warm hospitality they
extended to participants in this important Conference.