Beijing, June 8 2017: UNEP-IEMP formally signed an agreement (through its host Institute of Geographic Institute and Natural Resources Research) with UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) to conduct a China pilot project on sand and dust storms (SDS) vulnerability assessment. This project will carry out a comprehensive vulnerability assessment (in sectors including population, agriculture and infrastructure) of SDS in the Three-North Forest Shelterbelt Program (TNFSP) region by mapping hot spots which are sensitive and vulnerable to SDS. This project will work with international and Chinese partners and aims to show some initial results at the 13th Conference of Parties, UN Convention on Combating Desertification in China this September.

To begin with, UNEP-IEMP will organize an inception workshop to deliberate on the conceptual framework and methodology of SDS vulnerability mapping. The Centre and its partners will identify hot spot areas with regard to SDS vulnerability mapping and highlight a set of best practices to combat desertification for controlling SDS in the project area. A final report highlighting the aligned methodology, results of the case study and policy suggestions will be developed to reach out to wider audiences.

UNCCD will coordinate and support communication between UNEP-IEMP and other research teams to ensure compatibility and alignment of the methodology.

The project will involve agencies like: Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF)Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology (SEE)Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS)China Meteorogical Administration(CMS)United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)World Heath Organization (WHO)United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other local experts.