The Forum for Partners in Iran's Marketplace

September 2017, No. 85


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 levels.”

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 Caribbean.

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 cooperation.

“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/, 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  armed conflicts.

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 trans-boundary nature. 

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:

1. Share 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.

2. Strengthen 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 levels.

3. Enhance 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 the impacts.

4. 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.

5. Develop and 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.

6- Strengthen 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.

7- Encourage 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.

8- Consider 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.

9- Recognize 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.

10- 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.

11- Request the UN General Assembly to consider this declaration for appropriate actions.

12- Express 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.


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  September 2017
No. 85