Launch of new Clean Air Asia strategy accelerates action on air and climate

Marking the inaugural United Nations’ International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, we are today launching our new strategy that will shape our work in the coming decade and address both current air quality and climate challenges and sustainable development priorities in the post-COVID-19 era.

The release of our new strategy comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic now sweeping the globe and causing unprecedented suffering, loss, and economic hardship.

But amid the tragedy, though, there are glimmers of hope. In Asia, for the first time in decades, blue skies have returned to many of the most polluted cities, and air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to levels not seen in generations. And it is this that is placing renewed emphasis on the need for sustainable solutions and pathways to change, and hastening action to ensure that the gains that have been made are not lost as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. Our aim must be a “clean green recovery”, and it is with this in mind that our new strategy will accelerate our efforts to curb air pollution and the associated health impacts, as well as mitigate the climate crisis.

“Our vision for the coming decade is a world with clean air, blue skies, and a stabilized climate for people and the planet,” said Clean Air Asia Executive Director Bjarne Pedersen. “Our mission is to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Asia and contribute to the development of a more sustainable, equitable, and healthier region.

“We will empower governments and cities by inspiring action and focusing efforts on the planning and implementation of solutions at scale, fostering regional cooperation to address issues of mutual concern, and ensuring the integration of air quality management across sectors and institutions.”

In implementing our mission, the goals to which we are contributing are clear and ambitious:

• Reduce premature deaths from air pollution by two-thirds by 2030.
• Halve carbon emissions by 2030 to achieve a stabilized climate, with global warming limited to 1.5°C.
• Make a compelling case for action among stakeholders by linking air quality, climate change and health with the sustainable development agenda in support of the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals, including for developing Asian cities and countries.
• Advance a circular economy by delivering solutions focused on renewable energy with the purpose of decreasing resource dependence and increasing systems’ resilience.
• Act with a sense of urgency and pace, ensuring we deliver real emissions reductions for the benefit of people across Asia.
• Prepare Clean Air Asia for the “new normal”, innovating the ways we work and communicate, and ensuring that we respond with pace to air and climate challenges.

While we will continue to prioritize cooperation and collaboration at all levels and across sectors in tandem with the ongoing provision of policy and knowledge support, we are also looking to the future and are harnessing the power of digital transformation and the role of youth in air and climate action.

“Digital transformation will undoubtedly be one of the most defining features of the decade, with vast potential to help us implement solutions to air pollution and climate change, with data being one of the keys to unlocking action for better air quality and mitigating the climate crisis, and to harnessing the co-benefits of addressing both issues,” Mr Pedersen said.

“Youth as ‘agents of change’ have already raised their voices to heighten global awareness about the consequences of the climate crisis for their generation and the generations to come. We will support youth groups with our knowledge and tools, as well as form a ‘Youth for Air Quality’ network, with youth ambassadors promoting the changes we are seeking.”

Our new strategy is accelerating our efforts across Asia to meet the air and climate challenges head-on and with urgency to ensure that we contribute to clean air, blue skies and a stabilized climate for people and the planet within this decade.

You can download our new strategy at: http://cleanairasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Clean-Air-Asia-2020-Strategy.pdf