The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) , a partner in the CCAC, produced a scientific assessment so countries can take action based on strong science. The report – “Towards Cleaner Air Scientific Assessment Report 2016: Summary for Policymakers” – emphasises that while progress has been made some air pollutants including fine particles are still near or above WHO guideline level. The report makes the point that there is still much work to do on air pollution in the region, but that solutions are available. Moreover “air pollution control costs are generally significantly lower than the costs of damage to human health and the environment”.
UNECE hosts the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, a 1979 convention that has achieved a sharp decline in emissions of air pollutants across the UN European region. The CCAC as part of its 5-Year Strategy 2020 will enhance its collaboration with the Convention, especially on black carbon issues, as part of its goal to achieve widespread adoption and implementation of policies, regulations and practices to substantially reduce SLCPs.
Paragraph six of the Ministerial Declaration “Greener, cleaner, smarter!” focuses on air pollution. It says:
“While praising the good progress achieved in the pan-European region over the past three decades in decreasing emissions of the main air-polluting substances and their impacts, we are concerned that air pollution, both outdoor and indoor, remains the largest environmental health threat and an important risk factor for major non-communicable diseases. We therefore commit to improving air quality for a better environment and human health, including by integrating air pollution reduction measures into financial and development policies, as well as other sectoral policies, as appropriate, cooperation to address transboundary impacts and enhanced policy coordination and coherence at the national and regional levels. We commend the good collaboration between ECE and the World Health Organization on air pollution and invite them, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations and voluntary partnerships such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants, to support countries in their efforts to reduce air pollution.”