Press Release

UN supports Iran in holding an international conference on combating sand and dust storms

11 September 2023

Tehran, 11 September, 2023 - The United Nations Office in Iran coordinated efforts with 12 UN entities worldwide to provide integrated support to the International Conference on Combatting Sand and Dust Storms, organized by the Iranian Government and held in Tehran on 9-10 September 2023.

The purpose of this inter-governmental forum was to mobilize stronger commitment for coordinated actions at the sub-regional, regional, and global levels, to reduce risks and strengthen resilience to the negative transboundary impact of sand and dust storms (SDS).

This conference has been hosted by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, following the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/77/171 in December 2022, on curtailing the global issue of sand and dust storms.

Sand and dust storms affect many aspects of societies in various regions of the world, including health, livelihoods, transportation and aviation, and food security – among others. Over 330 million people are already affected globally.

More frequent and more severe sand and dust storms are 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.

In a special video message for the conference participants, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the need for elevated international cooperation to combat sand and dust storms, putting forward call to actions to protect people and planet. 

“I urge you to use your time in Tehran to build partnerships, increase cooperation, and commit to practical action,” said Mr. Guterres.

The UN Secretary-General also called for increased investments in early-warning systems, the restoration of ecosystem and landscapes, improved water management and enhanced efforts to combat global temperature rise through reducing emissions. The Secretary-General proposed a clear call to action for both developed and developing countries in respect to their efforts on curbing climate change.

The conference was inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Ebrahim Raeisi, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He underlined environmental concerns as a general public concern, one which is not related to any specific climate or country, adding: “it is our hope that this gathering of convergence, joint-reflection and joint decisions by nations for the environment be a fruitful one.”

Other high-level participants from the UN included:

  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana –Head of the United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Mr. Abdulhakim Elwaer - Assistant Director-General for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • Mr. Ghulam Isaczai, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Iraq.
  • Mr. Stefan Priesner, UN Resident Coordinator in the I. R. of Iran.


Mr. Elwaer delivered a statement on behalf of the International Coalition to Combat Sand and Dust Storms, which includes 19 UN and non-UN international organizations.

According to the UN Resident Coordinator in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Stefan Priesner, “more than 15 experts from a range of UN entities came to Iran to share their technical expertise on combating sand and dust storms with the participants. Bringing together the multidisciplinary technical knowledge of the UN can act as a catalyst for action – as participating Member States deliberate on the solutions required to address the multifaceted impact of sand and dust storms.”









11 September 2023



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