Iran celebrates international day against SDS
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Iran celebrates international day against SDS

TEHRAN – The Department of Environment will host an event on July 12 to mark the International Day to Combat Sand and Dust Storms, aimed at raising awareness and strengthening resilience to SDS as a global problem.

Sand and dust storms pose a serious and widespread challenge to achieving sustainable development in economic, social and environmental dimensions.

In recent decades, they have become a serious global problem due to their significant impact on the environment, health, agriculture, livelihoods and socio-economic well-being.

Recognizing that sand and dust storms and their negative effects of varying scale are a problem of international concern, the UN General Assembly, at the initiative of Iran, designated July 12 as the International Day to Combat Sand and Dust Storms.

The event will be attended by foreign ambassadors and representatives of international organizations from environmental departments, IRNA said, quoting Ali-Mohammad Tahmasbi-Birgani, director of the national headquarters for combating sand and dust storms.

In Iran, in 1397 (2018–2019), the national headquarters took action to identify internal and external sources of safety data sheets for hazardous substances and then implemented action plans including dust damage assessment, development of notification guidelines, and other software-related tasks.

In 2022, Iran began consultations with neighboring countries, and the head of the Department of Environment visited Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

In July 2022, Tehran hosted a conference of ministers and officials from 11 countries aimed at strengthening cooperation to address existing environmental problems, especially sand and dust storms.

The event, whose main theme was “Environmental Cooperation for a Better Future”, was attended by the Environment Ministers of Iraq, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Syria and Qatar, as well as Deputy Ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and delegations from Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The late President Ebrahim Raisi proposed the creation of a regional fund to address sustainable development systems (SDS), a proposal that was later submitted to the United Nations.

The International Conference on SDS was held in Tehran on September 9-10, 2023. Representatives from about 50 countries and 15 international organizations participated in the conference.

The event was another step towards the implementation of environmental protection policies in Iran.

Furthermore, the 6th United Nations Environment Programme General Assembly (UNEA-6) endorsed the resolution adopted at the international summit on coping with sand and dust storms.

UNEA-6 was held from February 26 to March 1 at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. It is the world’s highest decision-making body on the environment.

According to IRNA, a total of 180 countries took part in the UNEA-6 meeting. The discussion focused on how multilateralism can help solve the triple planetary crisis: climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, and pollution and waste.

The UNEA-6 Assembly deliberated on 19 resolutions and two decisions that covered a wide range of issues, including the circular economy, effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral action for climate justice, solar radiation modification, the rational management of chemicals and wastes, and sand and dust storms.

The United Nations General Assembly stressed the need for cooperation at the global and regional levels to prevent, manage and mitigate the effects of sand and dust storms by improving early warning systems and exchanging climate and weather information to forecast sand and dust storms.

The General Assembly reaffirmed that effective action to combat and reduce sand and dust storms requires a better understanding of the serious multi-dimensional impacts of sand and dust storms, including the deterioration of human health, well-being and livelihoods, the increase in desertification and land degradation, deforestation, the loss of biodiversity and soil productivity, the threat to food security and their impact on sustainable economic growth.