UN declares 2025 to 2034 the decade to combat increasing sand and dust storms from Africa to China

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly on Wednesday declared 2025 to 2034 as the United Nations Decade to Combat Sand and Dust Storms – extreme weather events that are increasing and threatening health and economies from Central Africa to North China.

Uganda’s UN ambassador, Godfrey Kwoba, who introduced the resolution on behalf of the Group of 77, a powerful UN group of 134 developing countries and China, told the 193-member assembly that the initiative aims to “reduce the negative impacts of sand And dust storms “through international and regional cooperation.”

The meeting adopted the resolution by unanimous vote with a bang of the meeting’s gavel, Dennis Francis.

In a 2022 report, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification stated that sand and dust storms have “increased dramatically in frequency” in recent years.

The report says storms can exacerbate respiratory diseases, kill crops and livestock, and exacerbate desertification, but there is limited evidence of their impact.

According to the treaty, 2 trillion tons of sand and dust are released into the atmosphere each year, mainly in dry areas and sub-humid areas with little vegetation.

Most of the emissions are due to natural conditions, but droughts and climate change only exacerbate the problem, the report said.

The report estimates that “at least 25% of global dust emissions come from human activities” such as unsustainable land management and water use.

As part of the decade-long initiative adopted on Wednesday, the General Assembly said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization will promote mitigation practices in affected countries, including “sustainable land-use management, agroforestry, shelter belts, reforestation and land restoration programs.”

The resolution also calls for global cooperation to improve early warning systems and share weather information important for forecasting dust storms.

The resolution is being adopted two days before the International Day for Combating Sand and Dust Storms on 12 July. This day was proclaimed last year by the General Assembly and is now being celebrated for the first time.

The resolution called on countries to celebrate the day with educational and other activities that raise public awareness of the importance of combating sand and dust storms for public health, improving land use, increasing food security and livelihoods, and promoting “resilience to climate change.”


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