About the Third Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP) Joint Forum
The Third Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP) Joint Forum will be held virtually on 8-9 September 2021 and is hosted by the Ministry of Environment of Japan. Under the theme, “Build back better for healthy air, healthy planet”, the meeting will showcase the region’s efforts and progress to beat air pollution and discuss opportunities to accelerate clean air solutions, contribute to carbon neutrality, and support socio-economic recovery.
Recognizing progress and renewed focus: We have achieved considerable progress in addressing air pollution, already seen in the significant improvement in sulfur dioxide levels in several countries since 2000 and the banning of lead in fuel. But more needs to be done in order to achieve air quality levels within the recommended health guidelines by 2030 (UNEA Resolution 3/8 on Preventing and Reducing Air Pollution Globally).
Fortunately, there are opportunities through: (i) integrated air quality and climate planning; (ii) strengthened sectoral interventions on open burning, coal, and sustainable mobility; (iii) incorporating sustainability in recovery plans; and (iv) commitments to reach net zero emissions, among others.
Innovation: ‘Business-as-usual’ will not be enough to beat air pollution. There has been significant traction in adopting new and innovative approaches to clean air solutions through policy and governance, technology, and finance. Governments leaders, experts, private sector, and civil society organizations will be able to share and discuss emerging science and challenges in air pollution control and identify opportunities on how they can be addressed. This includes lessons learned from the pandemic, innovative strategy on how we can rebuild better and in a sustainable manner, as well as the need for a gender perspective to scale up clean air actions.
Partnerships for solutions: Owing to the nature of air pollution and its drivers, we need multi-level and multi-stakeholder partnerships involving national, urban and rural authorities, private sector, children and youth, civil society and international organizations, and robust frameworks to support and facilitate clean air action in key sectors. Air quality stakeholders will be able to discuss how to scale-up and accelerate clean air solutions and link recovery efforts to address environmental and social issues, including air quality.
Commemoration of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies
On 19 December 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Resolution at its 74th Session to hold an International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on 7th September and invited UNEP to facilitate the observance of the International Day, in collaboration with other relevant organizations. The resolution stresses the importance of and urgent need to raise public awareness at all levels and to promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality. The Third APCAP Joint Forum contributes to the commemoration of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in the Asia and the Pacific region.
Participants represent air quality stakeholders from the region and beyond. This includes high-level policy and decision-makers from national and local governments, representatives from bilateral and multilateral donors, academics and researchers, civil society organizations, international organizations, regional intergovernmental bodies, youth, media, and private sector.
About the APCAP Joint Forum
The APCAP Joint Forum has become the key venue in the Asia Pacific for sharing latest policy-relevant scientific knowledge, and information on the state of national and international efforts on air quality. The forum also aims to identify priority air quality issues, promote regional approaches to combat the priority issues where appropriate and identify mechanisms to help address air pollution challenges of the region.
The Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP) aims to:
Serve as a mechanism for better coordination and collaboration of clean air programs in the region.
Provide a platform to generate and share knowledge on air pollution initiatives, policies, and technologies in the Asia Pacific region.
Strengthen institutional capacity, provide technical assistance on air quality management; and support air quality assessments to identify solutions for clean air.
The voluntary partnership was launched by UNEP and partners in 2015 as a response to the call for action on air quality at the First Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in 2014 (Resolution 1/7 on Air Quality) and 2017 (Resolution on Preventing and Reducing Air pollution to Improve Air Quality Globally) and to help achieve the relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
This responds to Resolution 3/8 of the third United Nations Environment Assembly in 2017 on ‘Preventing and reducing air pollution to improve air quality globally’ which requested the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme to, inter alia, ‘support the enhancement of regional cooperation to address air pollution…in close cooperation with the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership, and to organize regional communities of practice for air quality management through the regional offices of the United Nations Environment Programme.’ (paragraph 7(c)).
The first two Forums in 2015 and 2018 were organized in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the Clean Air Week.