Exposure to air pollutants such as Particulate Matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) is an ongoing threat to public health. Over 80% of the population of European cities is exposed to annual PM2.5 concentrations that exceed the WHO air quality guideline concentrations. Despite large efforts to bring down atmospheric concentrations and improvements over the last decade, air quality is far from reaching the standards. To improve their air quality, many cities take measures to reduce local emissions. Regional and transboundary air pollution will for many cities give a significant (sometimes dominant) contribution, in particular with respect to fine particulates (PM2.5). As a result of this, air quality in many cities can’t be reached only with local measures. Future strategies on air pollution will therefore need both local and regional/international measures.
Even if the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution has as its main objective to consider transboundary air pollution, it has become increasingly evident that its strategies need to take into account the air quality in urban areas, in particular since the main focus has turned from ecosystems to human health.
The objective of this working group is to further assess the interlinkages between urban and regional air pollution and how local, national and international policies may interact in order to maximize the overall health benefits. In order to come up with effective measures and to increase the feasibility and hence changes of actual implementation, strategies that tackle air quality problems showing synergies with one or more of the other urban challenges they face (such as climate and mobility) should be considered. The outcome is expected to result in a number of recommendations on how cities and international bodies (CLRTAP, EU etc.) could increase its collaboration to meat air quality guidelines in the most cost-efficient way.
Issues to discuss
Bridging the geographical scales requires the development of new scientific and policy frameworks, mainly to be able to predict the effects for human exposure and ecosystems from potential measures. The Convention has an important role to play in their definition, not at least as the Convention has a strong scientific network being able to assess options, effects and co-benefits.
A number of questions will be reviewed in the session such as:
Potential participants: Both technical and policy experts from the Convention and national and city experts, European Commission, organizations such as Eurocities, HEAL, Urban Partnership, Covenant of Mayors, Committee of the regions, WHO …
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