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The Union is the international federation of civil society organisations concerned with air pollution. Most of its 40 national member organisations aim to bring together interested citizens, regulators and academics on an individual basis, but many have primarily corporate members (most notably local authorities) and some are government departments or agencies.
Founded in 1964, the Union has had a long-term interest the relationship of air pollution and climate. Early Policy Declarations focussed on Climate Change (1989) and on the Arctic (1995). However its 13th World Clean Air Congress in London in 2004, which took as its theme the relationship between Air Pollution and Climate Change, crystallised the Union’s commitment to the issue of SLCP mitigation. Subsequently, in 2008, in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Union organised the International Conference in Stockholm on Climate and Air pollution Co-Benefits, which gave international political impetus to the CCAC issue. A proposal for a Global Assessment of Black Carbon and Ozone, one of 30 recommendations from the meeting, was then taken up by UNEP and led to their seminal reports of SLCP science and policy in 2011 and 2012.
The Union’s activities are now pursued within the framework of its ‘One Atmosphere’ Strategy enunciated in the Vancouver Declaration of 2010. This proposed action on SLCPs as the highest priority for international atmospheric policy, along with the strengthening of global atmospheric governance and a renewed focus on the long-term eco-system and biodiversity impacts of air pollution.
Although a broadly-based civil society organisation rather than a modern environmental pressure group the Union now focuses much of its programme around policy issues and promotional initiatives on the integration of climate and air pollution policies, including in particular its next World Congress (Cape Town, September 2013).