Istanbul, Turkey – 23 – 25 October 2017 – The Fifth International Workshop on Sand and Dust Storms (SDS) attracted 74 local and 30 foreign experts and academicians from Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Somalia, Qatar, Oman, Mauritania and Senegal, as well as representatives of UNCCD, the World Meteorology Organization and the UN Environment.
Heads of host institutions, General Director of Combating Desertification and Erosion M. Mustafa Gozukara and General Director of State Metrology Ismail Gunes welcomed workshop participants. In his speech, Mr. Gozukara stated that SDS often originate in the dryland areas, which cover 41 per cent of the Earth’s land surface and contain fragile ecosystems most susceptible to global climate change. Mr Gozukara also expressed strong belief that countries affected SDS have a lot to learn from each other, and that sharing information is the way to strengthen current cooperation.
The Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroglu in his opening speech confirmed that following the decisions of UNCCD COP12, Turkey aims to support the Pan-African Agency by delivering large numbers of seeds and seedlings to the region, in addition to financial aid. The goal of this initiative is to plant a seedling for every person on the planet – a total of seven billion plants – by 2023.
Dr. Eroglu also addressed relevant UN institutions, asking them to support the regions suffering from SDS in their afforestation, wind erosion control, and sand and dust storms prevention efforts.