Economic Cooperation Organization

On November 15, 2023 as part of the 21st session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC-21 UNCCD) in Samarkand, a plenary session was held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Ecology, Environment, and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Aziz Abdukhakimov. The event was attended by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, Saint Lucia Alfred Prospere, the Chair of UNCCD COP15, Alain Richard Donwahi, the First Deputy Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Osama Ibrahim Faqeeha, the Executive Secretary of UNCCD, Ibrahim Thiaw, and the ECO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Huseyin Avni Bicakli.
As part of the high-level event, a meeting of ministers and leaders in the field of ecology from various countries took place, along with an interactive dialogue involving representatives of governments, UN agencies, and international organizations.
Addressing the event, ECO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Bicakli noted that the problems caused by sand and dust storms could be addressed through efficient use of scientific and research centers, establishment of a financial fund as well as better use of cultural and media resources.

Dr. Bicakli also stressed that sand and dust storms pose a formidable and widespread challenge that appears to impede regional and global efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He highlighted the endeavours being made by ECO countries for developing a joint mechanism aimed at responding to natural disasters, especially the ECO Regional Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. He further underscored that addressing sand and dust storms requires effective and practical measures to reduce environmental degradation in all its manifestations and an integrated approach at the international and regional levels. Such an approach should mainstream sustainable development into global, regional, and national development plans, strategies and budgeting, ECO Deputy Secretary General added.