Bonn, Germany – The inception workshop for the new sand and dust storms (SDS) toolbox opened at UNCCD headquarters on 13 February 2020, bringing together representatives of international organizations to assess the needs and present tools available to create an effective platform to meet the challenge of SDS.
In his welcome remarks UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Mr. Pradeep Monga underscored the importance of source management by highlighting that the source mitigation is the only way to reduce dust emission from the new sources. He also pointed out that the recent IPCC report concluded that “the frequency and intensity of dust storms have increased over the last few decades due to land use and land cover changes and climate-related factors in many dryland areas resulting in increasing negative impacts on human health, in regions such as the Arabian Peninsula and broader Middle East, Central Asia.”
SDS have significant socio-economic impacts on human health, agriculture, energy, industry, transportation, infrastructure, water and air quality. Important potential drivers of SDS include desertification, land degradation and climate change, unsustainable land and water management, extreme wind events, greater aridity in some areas, and greater drought frequency, severity and duration in others.
To assist countries in developing a pro-active approach to address this growing concern, both in preventing SDS and in coping with them, the UNCCD is teaming up with other UN agencies and scientific institutions to develop a new toolbox, as requested by the UNCCD Parties at COP14. The online platform will present tools and best practices for risk and vulnerability assessment, source mapping, monitoring, forecasting and early warning, as well as anthropogenic source control and mitigation options.
SDS Toolbox workshop participants represented World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Environment Programme (UNEP), Office for Outer Space Affairs – Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UNOOSA-SPIDER), Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) and UNCCD.