Sand and dust storms present a formidable and wide-spread challenge to achieving sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. They have become a serious global concern in recent decades due to their significant impacts on the environment, health, agriculture, livelihoods, and socio-economic well-being. Sand and dust storms are an essential element of the Earth’s natural bio chemical cycles but are also caused in part by human-induced drivers including climate change, unsustainable land management, and water use, and in turn sand and dust storms contribute to climate change and air pollution. Sand and dust storms’ impacts are felt in all regions of the world, both in developed and developing countries, and pose severe challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDGs 2, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13, and 15 in affected developing countries (see General Assembly resolution 70/1).
The 24th Senior Officials Meeting of the EMG in 2018 led to the formation of a Coalition to Combat Sand and Dust Storms. This was in response to UN General Assembly Resolution 72/225 (2018) and the preceding UN Environment Assembly Resolution 2/21 (2016). The Coalition is made up of 15 nominated UN agency Focal Points.
The second meeting of the SDS Coalition was held in the margins of the UNCCD COP14 on 5-6 September 2019 in New Delhi, India.
The Meeting was comprised of two segments:
1. An informal technical segment (5 September)
The report of the SDS Coalition informal meeting and launch will be published shortly.
3. Presentations made during the SDS Day
The third meeting of the Coalition was a Technical Workshop on SDS Risk Assessment Methodology. It was held in the margins of the fifth meeting of the WMO SDS Warning Advisory System Steering Committee (SDS WAS SC) on November 14, 2019 in Hangzhou, China.
The meeting discussed the tasks of Working Group 2 of the coalition
As outlined in the ToR, part of the modalities of the Coalition four cross-cutting work areas are addressed: facilitating information exchange; capacity building and training; mobilising resources and fundraising, and; advocacy and awareness raising. These four work areas are being addressed by five cross-cutting Working Groups, each lead and co-lead by a member of the Coalition with the most relevant experience and knowledge.
The Working Groups were identified using the Disaster Risk Management Cycle (pictured below) and designed to focus on specific stages of the cycle. In this way they are able to address specific phases of the SDS life cycle.