HIGH-LEVEL FORUM ON CLEAN AIR
In order to meet the growing challenge of air pollution, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the United Nations Environment Program organizing Asia and the Pacific High-Level Forum in Mongolia for the first time, co-organizing with the North-East Asia Clean Air Partnership (NEACAP), the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET).
According to the Air Quality Guideline updated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021, more than 7 million premature deaths are attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution, and its increasing. The majority of these premature deaths are occurring in the region of an economy, industrial, and urban areas as reported by the WHO.
Therefore, to overcome these issues of increasing air pollution, member States of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) have organized the 7th session of the ESCAP Committee on Environment and Development in 2022 and adopted the Asia-Pacific Regional Action Programme on Air Pollution (RAPAP) to improve air quality management, facilitate air quality monitoring, exchange open information and good practices, which incorporates the components of cooperation, and opportunities to leverage the subregional initiatives.
This High-Level Forum on Clean Air was organized within the framework of the objectives of the RAPAP, such as discussing air quality assessment issues at the international level, sharing good practices, strengthening capacity, activating international cooperation mechanisms, and providing technical assistance. More than 200 representatives from 53 countries participated in the forum and exchanged opinions.
In the long-term development policy of Mongolia "Vision-2050", the goal of reducing air pollution in Ulaanbaatar by up to 80 percent, providing up to 30 percent of energy consumption with renewable energy by 2030, and contributing to the regional energy supply in the future has been set.
Moreover, to reduce the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar city, several measures are being taken, such as re-planning of the "ger" residential areas into apartments, reducing the air pollution caused by vehicles by increasing the proportion of Euro-5 gasoline and diesel fuel imports, increasing the number of economically efficient electric vehicles, establishing a "Chimney-free zone" in the ger residential areas by transferring at least 25% of the source to gas and electric heating in the near future.
The President of Mongolia, Khurelsukh Ukhnaa has initiated the "Billion Tree" National Movement, with the support of all levels of society, intends to contribute to global efforts against climate change and cooperate with the international community. As of today, 32 million new trees have been planted in Mongolia as part of the "Billion Tree" National Movement.
The following events were organized as part of the High-Level Forum on Clean Air.
"Green Generation" Children's Conference was held on February 17 and more than 8000 children from urban and rural areas gathered their voices on the issue of air pollution, and more than 500 children conducted air quality research in their living areas and raised issues. Based on this study, consultations with the decision-makers were held about their contribution to combating air pollution and the support they need.
"Human rights to safe and healthy environment - Air pollution, scientific evidence, and solutions" scientific conference was organized on February 7. During the conference, the results of research and academic work carried out in recent years in the field of air pollution, facts, and evidence, technological solutions being implemented in Mongolia, and the results and effects of policies and measures to reduce air pollution in line with the issue of protecting human rights to live in a healthy and safe environment were presented.
"One Air - Hackathon - 2023" campaign for the best technologies and solutions to reduce air pollution was organized for one month. The "Energy-efficient house" project, "Reduce air pollution using solar energy systems" project, and "Passive House" project was awarded as the best projects and received investment support.
The Forum will begin with a round table meeting at the ministerial level, and the Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, Bat-Erdene, the Minister of Energy of Mongolia, Mr. Choijilsuren, Vice Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nurken Sharbiyev, the Minister of Environment of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Naseer Ahamed, the Vice Minister of Environment of Japan, Mr. Ono Hiroshi, the Deputy Minister and President of the National Institute of Environmental Research of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Kim Dongjin were the panelists.
The High-Level Forum on Clean Air consists of 5 main sessions, and 12 international organizations and representative companies of the private sector organized an exhibition and activity presentation event to present the best technologies and solutions of renewable energy and environmentally friendly technologies.
- Improving Air Quality Management;
- Air Quality Monitoring;
- Best Practice Sharing and Capacity Building,
- Collaboration On Air Quality Data and Standards;
- The Partnership for the Asia-Pacific Regional Action Programme on Air Pollution Implementation.
The High-Level Forum on Clean Air will further expand the scope of multi-stakeholder cooperation on air pollution issues and solutions, create opportunities for regional data collection and exchange of best practices, improve air quality management, and identify financial resources. The Forum also aims to increase the possibility of implementing a regional action program against air pollution, such as the creation of an open regional platform among the member countries of the region and the identification of technical cooperation areas aimed at solving transboundary air pollution problems. It is also necessary to highlight the establishment of a unified regional air pollution monitoring system and a sustainable response mechanism.
The outcome from the High-Level Forum also indicates that achieved goals of strengthening regional cooperation, identifying policy and information technology needs, sharing innovative solutions and best practices against air pollution, and delivering information to the public.
The High-Level Forum on Clean Air was the preliminary event of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Desertification (COP 17), which will be held in Mongolia in 2026.
The Forum was successfully organized with the support and cooperation of more than 80 people, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, international organizations, projects and programmes, and volunteer children who supported the organization of the event.