The UN and Iran have called for joint efforts to combat worsening sand and dust storms in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia due to climate change. UN Chief Antonio Guterres urged collaboration during a video address to representatives from 50 states and 15 organizations in Tehran.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi proposed the creation of a shared fund for regional solutions at the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms. Meteorologists predict an increase in these storms in climate-vulnerable countries, impacting over 350 million people, primarily farmers and those reliant on natural resources.
Iran, co-hosting the event, faces a rising number of these storms, particularly in the Sistan-Baluchistan desert region, leading to the rapid drying of precious wetlands.
This has led to diplomatic tensions with Afghanistan, as Tehran accuses its neighbor of significantly reducing the Helmand River’s water flow, which traverses both nations.
In the western region, Iran is collaborating with Iraq to mitigate the impacts of sand and dust storms.
“We have fortunately achieved significant progress in our cooperation with Iraq,” stated Ali Salajegheh, the head of Iran’s environmental department during the conference. He also mentioned that joint “ground and field operations” were scheduled to commence in six provinces across both countries.
President Raisi, in his inaugural address, held industrialized nations accountable “for numerous issues, as they neglect environmental concerns in favor of their economic and military interests.”