People, Environment

UN Officials to Attend Dust Storms Confab in Tehran

 UN Officials to Attend Dust Storms Confab in Tehran UN Officials to Attend Dust Storms Confab in Tehran

Senior Iranian and United Nations officials will attend the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran Gary Lewis said on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Department of Environment chief, Massoumeh Ebtekar, will attend the conference, which is scheduled for July 3-5.

Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment Program, will travel to Tehran for the event. Lewis said Iran is "in (the) forefront of efforts" to combat dust storms.

Officials from 31 countries, including 14 ministers, are also expected to attend the event, according to Saeed Motessaddi, DOE's deputy for human environment.

Between December 2015 and 2016, four resolutions on combating dust and sand storms in the Middle East were adopted by various UN bodies, including the UN General Assembly. Iran, which has been suffering from the impacts of dust storms for years, played a part in the adoption of all four resolutions.

Iran also hosted the first international conference on dust storms in March 2016.

The conference in July is jointly organized by the Iranian government and UN bodies, including UNEP, UN Development Program and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Major domestic sources of dust storms lie in Khuzestan Province in the southwest and Sistan-Baluchestan Province in the southeast. However, experts believe foreign sources play a more prominent role in Iran's predicament.

Sources in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq contribute to a greater share of particulates found in the storms that frequently hit western Iran.

Turkey's rampant dam construction since the 1970s has significantly reduced water flow via the Tigris and Euphrates to Syria and Iraq, exacerbating the expansion of dust storm hotspots in those countries.


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