Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Erik Solheim, says the Islamic Republic has good faith in its efforts to tackle the current environment woes in the region.
“I believe that the problem of the sand and dust storms in the Middle East should be resolved by the regional states themselves,” he said on the sidelines of ‘International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms: Challenges and Practical Solutions’ recently held in Tehran.
In response to a question on Saudi Arabia’s absence from Tehran conference, the UN official noted the world body is expected to issue a resolution drawing on discussions raised during Tehran conference.
“All countries including Saudi Arabia are obliged to observe the resolutions,” he added.
Solheim went on saying that the solutions found at Tehran conference are helpful for all states including Saudi Arabia.
“So, the UN would follow it up to make sure all states implement the UN resolutions on environmental crises in the Middle East.”
The UN official also added most of the environmental woes can be resolved if each regional state fulfils its own environmental commitments.
“I don’t play down the role of regional and international cooperation, but to me, sticking to the local environmental standards is more important when it comes to resolving the current problems,” he noted.
Solheim went on saying that the UN can settle the differences between the regional states on the environmental issues, adding the differences could be resolved through dialogue.
He recommended that regional states draw on the UN’s technological and scientific capabilities in combating environmental crises and added the environmental woes of the region cannot be resolved by holding just one single international conference.
He referred to the instability in Iraq and Syria and said the two countries have turned into main sources of the dust and sand storms hitting the whole region over the past few years.
“Now with the retreat of ISIS from the two countries, we hope new efforts can resolve the problem.”
Representatives of 43 countries attended the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, which was co-hosted by the United Nations (UN) and the Iranian Department of Environment. The international conference was aimed at reviewing the challenges and practical solutions to the dust pollution that has plagued Iran and several other countries in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies including Bahrain, Yemen, United Arab Emirates and Egypt refused to take part in the conference. Observers say this is part of the countries’ reluctance to shoulder their responsibility to resolve regional and international problems.
The absence grabs more attentions when it is known that the mentioned countries are the main source of dust and sand storms across the region.