IRNA – A regional institution of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific is ready to cooperate with Iran in controlling the negative effects of sand and dust storms in the country, a senior official of the institute said Wednesday.
Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM) that was established in 2016 as a regional institution of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is working closely with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Building and Housing Research Centre (BHRC), said Shamshad Akhtar, the Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
In an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Wednesday, she said that containing the negative effects of dust and sand storms is also an issue that is related to the seismic risk cooperation between the institute and Iran that has already been strengthened.
‘We want to continue to build on this to reduce the destructive effects of sand and dust storms,’ she said.
Emphasizing that building regional cooperation for information management and capacity development is central to APDIM’s work, she said, ‘ESCAP has undertaken analysis in support of a science-and data-based sand and dust storm alert system, which recognizes the challenges emanating from drought, desertification and these storms in arid and semi-arid regions.’
As to the APDIM’s main agenda, she said that the institute is based on an ambition that is ‘building disaster resilience through information managmen.’
Describing the Asia and the Pacific as the ‘most disader-prone’ region in the world, Akhtar said that natural phenomena such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes and sand and dust storms inflict major damages on the region and its inhabitants.
‘Furthermore, as climate change effects intensify increasingly disasters know no borders. So there’s an obvious case for a regional approach – pooling knowledge, building capacity and disseminating innovative information services among countries – to prevent the worst consequences of disasters and strengthen our resilience to them. APDIM’s risk management agenda flows out of this recognition,’ the UN official added.
‘While free-for-use data and imagery on disaster risk is widely available, the challenge is to put existing information into context, by using geo-referenced data and linking this to social and economic parameters. There are critical gaps at the regional level in understanding the seismic risk in parts of South-West and Central Asia. With its partners, APDIM will fill in these gaps through regional level seismic risk mapping; as well as a sand and dust storm alert system based on trans-boundary risk assessments and supported by an Asia-Pacific network of sand and dust storm experts,’ the UN Undersecretary said..