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Regional Dialogue Among Air Quality Related Initiatives/Programs in Asia

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Economic development in Asia is accompanied by adverse environmental impacts. More evidence is becoming available on the harmful impact of air pollution on public health in Asia and the associated economic and social costs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall number of premature deaths due to ambient air pollution in Asia is about 500,000 per year. The associated economic costs due to premature deaths and other impacts of air pollution run into hundreds of millions of dollars for each Asian mega-city.

Asian countries and cities have started to address air pollution. They, however, in many cases continue to rely on the assistance of international development agencies and nongovernment organizations to address the challenges of local air pollution, transboundary air pollution, and the increase of greenhouse gases. The development community has responded positively. Proof of this is the more than 20 regional initiatives and programs working on air quality issues in the Asian region.

There is little coordination and cooperation among these initiatives. It is not unusual to discover initiatives and programs implementing projects covering similar themes and focusing on similar cities or countries. In order to effectively address air pollution issues in Asia, there is a need for these initiatives and programs to coordinate and cooperate with each other and to start a dialogue on the air quality management priorities for Asia. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) promotes the strengthening of air quality management in Asia by sharing experiences and building partnerships. To promote dialogue among the regional initiatives and programs on AQM, CAI-Asia is organizing the First Coordination Meeting of Regional Programs and Initiatives on Air Quality Management in Asia.

CAI-Asia collected in May – June 2004 information on the regional initiatives in Asia and their air quality projects. The objective of the data collection was to determine the geographic and thematic scope of these initiatives, as well as possible overlaps. The results of the survey have been collated into the first draft of the Compendium of Air Quality Management Projects in Asia. The data collected will also be accessible through the CAI-Asia website at http://www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia.

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The objectives of the coordination meeting are to identify air quality management priorities for Asia and to strengthen the coordination and cooperation among regional programs and initiatives.

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During the meeting, the results of the regional initiatives survey carried out by CAI-Asia will be presented. The presentation includes a geographic and thematic analysis of the regional air quality initiatives.

Ample time is allotted for discussion on the expected outputs of the meeting: (1) the future AQM priorities for regional initiatives in terms of thematic and geographical coverage, (2) mechanisms for better sharing of information between and among initiatives leading to a common knowledge base, (3) mechanisms for improved coordination in the implementation of projects and studies, especially at the national and city level, and (4) common approaches to fund-raising, with the general aim of increasing the amount of funds available for air quality management in Asia.

The meeting is expected to be the beginning of a process of continuous dialogue, which will continue at the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2004 workshop in Agra, India, 6-8 December 2004.

The results of the meeting and its expected follow-up in December 2004 will also be an input to the development of a CAI-Asia policy paper on AQM in Asia. Efforts are underway to bring the policy paper to the attention of the participants of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Environment in March, 2005.

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Representatives from the various regional air quality programs and initiatives in Asia will participate in the meeting. Among the initiatives and organizations represented in the meeting are: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Regional Research Programme on Environmental Technology (ARRPET), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (RAPIDC), United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), USAID/United States-Asia Environmental Partnership (USAID/USAEP), and World Bank.

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  1. Asia Pacific Forum on Environment and Development (APFED)
  2. Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  3. Asian Regional Research Program on Environmental Technology (ARRPET): Air Pollution Project (improving air quality in Asian developing countries) AIRPET
  4. ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities
  5. EMBARQ - The WRI Center for Transport and the Environment
  6. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
  7. Health Effects Institute
  8. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  9. International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
  10. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  11. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)
  12. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  13. Japan Transport Cooperation Association (JTCA)
  14. Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (RAPIDC)
  15. Swisscontact
  16. United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD)
  17. United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
  18. United States Asia Environmental Partnership (USAEP)
  19. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
  20. United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
  21. Urban Environmental Management (UEM) Sub-sector Networks
  22. World Bank
  23. World Health Organization - Regional Office for the Western Pacific
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We thank all the organizations and persons who have made information available for the survey. Providing an overview of all the programs on air quality management in Asia is an impossible task for a single organization. It is hoped that this joint endeavor to create the compendium willl help foster further coordination and cooperation in addressing the growing challenge of air pollution in Asia.

If there are corrections to be made to the profiles for your organization, please send an updated project profile to Charles Simbillo ([email protected]).

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