Sand and dust storms (or SDS) are a transboundary issue of growing importance. SDS are affecting 151 countries on all continents, threatening the achievement of 11 out of 17 of the SDG. Climate change and degrading vegetation cover is modifying SDS hazard levels and increasing associated risks. These hazards especially affect farmers and people who depend directly on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, especially on the drylands.
Sand and dust storms are becoming more frequent in Uzbekistan, caused by such factors as land degradation, decreased rainfall, increased desertification and pasture degradation within the country, as well as other internal and external factors.
On the margins of the 21st Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the UNCCD (CRIC21) FAO organized the side-event “Joining forces to combat sand and dust storms: together we can foster a global response”. The main objectives of the side-event are to show cases on countries’ efforts to combat SDS and share inspirations to foster global action to combat SDS building on the national, regional and inter-regional efforts. The side-event launched the Guide on combating SDS on agriculture: “Sand and dust storms: a guide to mitigation, adaptation, policy and risk management measures in agriculture”, as well as the report “Preparing for sand and dust storms contingency planning with herding communities: a case study on Mongolia” and the guide “Contingency planning process for catalysing investments and actions to enhance resilience against sand and dust storms in agriculture in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
This side-event also has increased awareness on the international support to member countries’ efforts to combat SDS (the UN Coalition progress and plans). As Feras Ziadat, FAO technical officer noted, “By fostering knowledge exchange among countries, we can help scale-up mitigation and management practices and greater policy coherence and synergies to manage the sand and dust storms”.
The CRIC21 is taking place from 13 to 17 October, 2023 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan with participation of more than 500 delegates from 196 countries. The forum provides good platform to address drought resilience, the promotion of women’s land rights, and combating sand and dust storms as well as the progress the countries are making in restoring productive land. At the CRIC21 FAO (co-)organizes and participates in a series of side events and in the High-Level Event on Sand and Dust Storms aiming to provide insights on actions supporting Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) achievement.