Cities Clean Air Partnership – a potential game-changer in fighting air pollution in Asian cities

Recognition of pilot cities for the Cities Clean Air Partnership at BAQ 2014. City representatives (Taoyuan, Taichung, Baguio, Pasig, Colombo, Kathmandu, Haiphong) with representatives from US EPA, EPAT, Clean Air Asia, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, ICLEI, CITYNET, UCLG ASPAC, Norwegian Air Research Institute (NILU) and Stockholm Environment Institute

11 December 2014, Colombo — Clean Air Asia and Asian cities are taking the lead to develop a program that ensures better air quality for its citizens and create more livable cities.

The Cities Clean Air Partnership (CCAP) is a Clean Air Asia program that aims to curb air pollution and its impacts in Asian cities through an innovative city certification framework and city-to-city partnering in air quality management efforts. The city certification aims to create incentives for cities to progress towards better air quality and the city partnerships which foster collaboration and learning will help support the cities towards certification. The US EPA, EPA Taiwan, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management District are the initial partners in creating this new framework of cooperation, which is an open initiative involving more participating cities and donors in the future.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified air pollution as this generation’s “largest single environmental risk.” Residents in at least seven out of ten cities in Asia breathe poor air quality and at bear a greater risk of illness and premature mortality from air pollution.

Clean Air Asia Executive Director Bjarne Pedersen presented the CCAP to Asian city officials and air quality advocates at the recently concluded Integrated Conference of Better Air Quality (BAQ) and the 8th Intergovernmental Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum from 19 to 21 September 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

“CCAP’s innovative city certification initiative has the potential to be a real game changer in improving air quality in cities across Asia. We see this program gaining more traction and welcoming more cities and partners from national governments, environment institutes, and other stakeholders in the coming months,” Pedersen said during his presentation at the conference.

At the initial consultations held at the BAQ conference, city association representatives, air quality and climate experts from ICLEI, CITYNET, UCLG Asia-Pacific, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Norwegian Institute for Air Research welcomed the initiative and agreed that a transparent, participatory, and evidence-based city certification framework, and meaningful and effective partnerships among cities are key to making CCAP a success.

Under the partnership, cities will receive incentives for voluntary actions and good practices in terms of curbing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This will help establish accountability and credibility for a city’s environmental claims using a set of science-based tools and standards.

Cities joining the initiative will benefit from technical assistance under the Cities Partner Program as well as access to international experts, virtual knowledge platforms, and Regional Working Groups on Clean Air. All of these activities are designed to facilitate learning and action in air pollution and greenhouse gas management.

The BAQ Conference is the flagship event of Clean Air Asia, covering the key sectors of transport, energy and industry, with a particular emphasis on government policies and measures. Policy makers, practitioners and industry leaders meet at BAQ to network, innovate, learn and share experiences. The biennial event was firstly held in 2002 and attracts close to a thousand participants from Asia and the rest of the world.

For more information on CCAP: Cities Clean Air Partnership

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