Terres et eaux

FAO releases new reports to combat sand and dust storms' impact on agriculture

To address the escalating threat of Sand and Dust Storms (SDS) on global agriculture, and to mitigate their impacts on people and adverse effects on crops, pastures, livestock, and ecosystems, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched three comprehensive publications at the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) 21.

While SDS have many direct negative impacts on agriculture, this sector is probably also one of the most important human-induced drivers of SDS, after climate change, through unsustainable land and water management practices, desertification, and land degradation. Agriculture is, therefore, key to mitigating SDS sources and impacts globally through the implementation of sustainable land and water management practices and risk reduction measures, among others.

The new reports shed light on the intricate linkages between SDS and agriculture, bridging knowledge gaps and providing actionable solutions to combat SDS in affected regions.

The first publication, titled “Sand and dust storms. A guide to mitigation, adaptation, policy and risk management measures in agriculture”, provides a consolidated body of knowledge on the origins, impacts, and mitigation strategies associated with SDS in agriculture. It presents the results of several case studies including recommendations to enhance understanding of SDS and suggest how farmers, herders, local administrators, and governments can act to reduce SDS risks and their adverse impacts. This publication has been developed by FAO in collaboration with national and international experts.

In addition, FAO has presented two country-specific reports, “Contingency planning process for catalysing investments and actions to enhance resilience against sand and dust storms in agriculture in the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “Preparing for sand and dust storm contingency planning with herding communities: a case study on Mongolia” based on the results of an interregional technical cooperation programme on SDS. These documents outline a conceptual framework for SDS hazard risk and vulnerability assessment and provide a blueprint for SDS contingency planning in agriculture in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Mongolia.

Given the anticipated increase in SDS frequency and intensity due to climate change, mitigating the adverse effects of SDS sources and impacts on agriculture remains critical, whereby short-term responses require to be integrated with long-term development actions and sustainable climate financing to effectively combat SDS at regional and global levels. This will build the resilience of global agrifood systems, particularly benefiting the most vulnerable and at-risk communities who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Download the publications: