Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Photo by Ashim D'Silva

On November 23-25, hundreds of researchers, members of civil society and non-government organizations, and representatives from the government virtually gathered to discuss how to implement sustainable and inclusive solutions for air quality and climate change.  

Among the themes discussed during the three-day event are how to translate integrated solutions into inclusive actions, citizen science approaches, a community of practice on management of emissions from coal and other heavy industries, the importance of strategic communications, experiences from implementing city-level solutions, data-driven decision-making, and mobilizing air quality financing. 

“No one is left behind” 

Prior to the event, a multisectoral consultation was held on November 16 to refine the topics and themes to be discussed during the three-day event.

During the pre-event consultation, participants highlighted the need to integrate inclusive solutions and actions to address air quality and climate change. 

Other themes discussed can be seen in this visual summary prepared by PushPin Visual Solutions, a creative consultancy group specializing on hand-drawn visualization of ideas, concepts, and processes

Pre-event Consultation

Air pollution impacts marginalized groups

During the welcome and opening plenary session, speakers noted that air pollution impacts women, children and other marginalized groups disproportionately. These sectors should be empowered to be able to effectively address air pollution and climate change.

A more detailed presentation of the discussions during the plenary session can be found in this graphic:

Welcome and Opening Plenary

Involving all social groups in developing solutions

About 92 percent of the world population are exposed to air pollution, according to studies. Reports also identified 25 Clean Air Solutions that can positively impact human health, crop yields, climate change and socio-economic development. These can also contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals set up by the United Nations General Assembly.

Speakers during the session on “Translating Integrated Solutions into Inclusive Actions in Southeast Asia: A Changemakers Dialogue,” emphasized that all social groups from the government, the academia, the private sector, and the citizens, should be involved from planning of solutions to the implementation of clean air actions. They also said that the youth is an important stakeholder to be engaged and that their strengths should be recognized.

Delve further into the insightful discussion through this graphic: 

Translating Integrated Solutions

Harnessing the power of citizen science initiatives

The next session showcased different citizen science initiatives across the globe that tackles air quality issues such as the Curious Noses project in Antwerp, Belgium, and the Volunteer Air Quality Monitoring Network in Thailand. 

Building a community of practice on management of emissions from coal and other heavy industries

An insightful session on how various participants from various sectors implement actions to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants and other heavy industries kicked off the second day of the virtual event. 

How effective policy communication and advocacy leads to better clean air actions

Participants gained valuable perspectives and insights on strategic communication during the session titled “Building Political Support with Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Communications: From Good Policy to Good Politics.”

During this session, Hon. Dyah Roro Esti Widya Putri, Member of the Indonesian Parliament, and of AirQualityAsia Indonesia said that air pollution is a personal problem that affects real people. 

Other speakers noted that effective communication entails listening, encourages curiosity and facilitates conversation. Other insights were presented in this visual summary: 

Strategic Communications

Learning from implementing city-level solutions

In this session, representatives from various cities shared their experiences on carrying out effective air quality and climate actions in Southeast Asia. 

Clean Air Asia Executive Director said during the session that the key to the co-benefits of addressing air pollution and climate change should begin in collaboration.

Speakers also talked about how co-innovation could provide tailored data and solutions. Other key takeaways were featured in this graphic: 

City-level solutions

Experimenting with data-driven decision-making

During this session, speakers emphasized the importance of data-driven decision and policy-making as data helps inform decisions and policies. They also help tailor solutions to address specific concerns of a particular sector or area. 

Financing clean air solutions

The last session of the three-day event focused on how to finance air quality and climate change solutions and actions. This also helped the participants to identify concrete steps and potential resources they can tap to facilitate these integrated solutions. 

This visual summary shows the insights shared during this session: 

Air Quality Financing

This three-day virtual learning event was organized together with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Swedish Government, the Integrated Programme for Better Air Quality in Asia (IBAQ), and the Ministry of Environment, Japan.