Decisions by Topic: Atmosphere
E/CN.17/2007/15 - Report of the Commission on Sustainable Development, CSD-15

25. Air pollution was seen as having serious adverse impacts on the quality of life, in particular on human health, the environment and the economy. Therefore an integrated approach to tackle both indoor and outdoor air pollution that took into account the related environmental, economic and social consequences was needed. Mitigation efforts should be better integrated into national development planning processes. Indoor air pollution from traditional biomass cooking and heating was a poverty-related issue whose effects were most strongly felt by women and children at the household/local level, particularly in developing countries. Industry and various forms of transportation might contribute significantly to air pollution.

26. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as the need to accelerate the transition from inefficient utilization of biomass to cleaner energy sources, technology, and appliances for cooking and heating; develop strategies for sustainable urban and land-use planning; promote the establishment of country and regional air quality standards; improve control of emissions through the establishment of emission limit values from different sources to mitigate air pollution; improve urban air quality through utilization of cleaner fuels and technologies; promote less polluting public and mass transport systems; encourage the switch to more fuel and energy-efficient vehicles; encourage improved inspection and maintenance requirements for vehicles; improve fuel and vehicle efficiency and the use of technologies that reduce emissions; improve information on sources and health impacts of indoor air pollution; improve collection, compilation and analysis of data; provide financial and other resources to support programmes that address adverse health impacts and increase successful approaches and best practices and partnerships to reduce indoor air pollution.

27. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text also includes actions on a number of issues which delegations agreed ad referendum were needed in order to strengthen regional, subregional and international cooperation for improved air quality and control of transboundary air pollution, as well as encourage the sharing, on a voluntary basis, of regional and subregional experiences that address transboundary air pollution; increase cooperation on collection, management, and dissemination of sound and updated scientific data; promote policies to reduce air pollution, the use of ozone-depleting substances and improve air quality; implement multilateral environmental agreements; ratify or accede to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its amendments; address illegal traffic in ozone-depleting substances under the framework of the Montreal Protocol; strengthen systematic observation of the Earth?s atmosphere by means of satellite, aerial and in situ monitoring systems; phase out the remaining use of leaded gasoline, work to reduce sulphur content in fuels; and support, as appropriate, international monitoring programmes.

E/CN.17/2007/15 - Report of the Commission on Sustainable Development, CSD-15

37. Many countries stressed the importance of taking an integrated approach to the four thematic issues, addressing in a balanced way the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development to enhance effectiveness, influence lifestyle changes and assist in the realization of complementary and mutually reinforcing policy options and actions. Cross-cutting issues needed to be mainstreamed into policy approaches, programmes and development cooperation activities, including through public participation and in particular a strong role of women in decision-making. The means of implementation were critical to turning commitments into actions.

38. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as ensuring that energy, industry, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change plans and policies are integrated into national sustainable development strategies, and other policy frameworks; strengthening good governance at all levels, in both the public and private sectors; implementing the global partnership for development and enhancing the momentum generated by the 2005 World Summit; promoting North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation; building partnerships and voluntary initiatives with all relevant stakeholders and major groups; creating an enabling environment for investment; encouraging private international financial flows and public-private partnerships; facilitating greater flows of foreign direct investment; ensuring that investment and trade policies are non-discriminatory; working towards an early conclusion and development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round of trade negotiations; advancing and fully implementing the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building; reaffirming the importance of achieving the goal of universal primary education by 2015; enhancing gender mainstreaming in all areas of sustainable development; integrating health concerns including those of the most vulnerable populations into strategies, policies and programmes and recognizing and utilizing as appropriate the knowledge and experience of the nine major groups identified in Agenda 21.

39. While the meeting was unable to reach a full consensus on all the means of implementation, critical elements in all four thematic areas included the need to mobilize financial resources, from both the public and private sectors, increase official development assistance (ODA), microcredit and innovative funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner fossil fuels and other energy; create a positive investment climate at all levels to attract private capital; encourage transfer and dissemination of cleaner energy technologies, including advanced, cleaner fossil fuel technologies; increase investments and strengthen public/private partnerships in research and development (R and D); promote foreign direct investment (FDI) for the development of the resource base; encourage international financial institutions to increase their funding in developing countries; encourage investment in new and more efficient production facilities and products; strengthen investment in capacity-building; enhance access to credit, including microfinancing, by small-scale entrepreneurs; build capacity for monitoring, construction and updating of emissions inventories; promote the development, demonstration and deployment of technologies for adaptation and mitigation, and build capacity for research on climate change impacts and training for technical capabilities, particularly in developing countries.

E/CN.17/2001/19 - Report on the 9th Decision on International Cooperation for an Enabling Environment

Protection of the atmosphere

General considerations

1. The Commission reiterates the continuing relevance and importance of all the principles agreed in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, in particular the principle that, in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities, as set out in principle 7 of the Declaration, and emphasize that:
(a) Financial resources and mechanisms play a key role in the implementation of Agenda 21. In general, the financing for the implementation of Agenda 21 will come from a country?s own public and private sectors. For developing countries, official development assistance is a main source of external funding, and substantial new and additional funding for sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 will be required. Hence, all financial commitments of Agenda 21, particularly those contained in chapter 33, and the provisions with regard to new and additional resources that are both adequate and predictable, need to be urgently fulfilled. Renewed efforts are essential to ensure that all sources of funding contribute to economic growth, social development and environmental protection in the context of sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21;
(b) There is a need for favourable access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries, through supportive measures that promote technology cooperation and that should enable transfer of necessary technological know-how as well as building up of economic, technical and managerial capabilities for the efficient use and further development of transferred technology. Technology cooperation involves joint efforts by enterprises and Governments, both suppliers of technology and its recipients. Therefore, such cooperation entails an iterative process, involving government, the private sector and research and development facilities, to ensure the best possible results from transfer of technology. Successful long-term partnerships in technology cooperation necessarily require continuing systematic training and capacity-building at all levels over an extended period of time.
2. Decisions concerning atmosphere should reflect the fact that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development.
3. The Commission emphasizes that the Earth?s atmosphere must be considered, with the oceans and the land surface, as one of the three basic interacting domains that comprise the global life-support system, and that sustainable development is inextricably linked with the impact that variations in the state of the atmosphere itself can have on human activity, ecosystems and natural disasters. It also notes that human activities and natural disasters contribute to the build-up of atmospheric substances, which has implications for climate change and climate variability, for the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and for air pollution, in particular transboundary, urban and indoor air pollution.
4. Air pollution has negative impacts on human health, socio-economic development, ecosystems and cultural heritage. Many countries face major challenges in managing the impact of pollution, especially in big cities. Since air pollutants may cause negative environmental impacts, in some cases thousands of kilometres from the source, besides national efforts to reduce pollution there is need for appropriate regional and international cooperation.
5. The developed countries have the greatest share in historical accumulation of atmospheric pollutants. The Commission points out that addressing atmospheric issues involves dealing with many issues and problems, which could involve, inter alia, sustainability of patterns of consumption and production, equity, increasing population, rapid growth of urbanization, migration to expanding urban areas, lack of financial and technological resources and the interdependency of energy, transport and atmosphere. In this regard, the Commission reiterates the importance of provision of support by the international community.

International cooperation

6. Emphasizing the need to provide assistance to developing countries as well as to countries with economies in transition, the Commission recommends that the international community cooperate in order to:
(a) Assist in capacity-building, research, education and training, and institutional strengthening in preventing and combating air pollution, including through human resource development;
(b) Assist in improving the compilation, evaluation and analysis of data on the state of the atmosphere and air pollution and knowledge of developments in policy-making and planning at the national, regional and international levels, and promote the use of appropriate information technology to facilitate access to and sharing of information;
(c) Assist with the development and introduction of cleaner fuels and air pollution abatement technologies, particularly in developing countries, and the sharing of practices and experiences, as appropriate;
(d) Promote the transfer of technologies on favourable terms, including concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, for cleaner operating vehicles, traffic management, cleaner fuels, including advanced fossil fuels, and alternative fuels, including renewable fuels, inter alia, through the involvement of the private sector;
(e) Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, particularly in developed countries;
(f) Encourage adequate financing for, inter alia, the promotion and facilitation of the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries;
(g) Promote the identification of financial, technological and institutional barriers and constraints that all countries, in particular developing countries, are facing in combating air pollution, especially in metropolitan areas, with a view to addressing and removing them;
(h) Encourage the continuing close collaboration of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Habitat and other relevant international organizations with Governments in order to assist them to develop strategies to combat indoor air pollution.
7. Noting the importance of several international legal instruments for global cooperation to protect the atmosphere, the Commission decides to:
(a) Encourage further cooperation of relevant international bodies and the promotion of synergies in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, including the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, especially in Africa;
(b) Note the ongoing negotiation under UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol;
(c) Note that land degradation and desertification contribute to air pollution, and vice-versa, and note the importance of mobilizing adequate financial resources for the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification, and urge all Parties to the Convention to carry out their respective obligations;
(d) Encourage countries, to the extent that they have not yet done so, to consider ratifying or acceding to the Montreal Protocol and its amendments as soon as possible;
(e) Encourage all Parties to the Montreal Protocol and its amendments to achieve and maintain compliance with their associated obligations, in particular the adequate and timely replenishment to the multilateral fund under the Montreal Protocol;
(f) Encourage and support the efforts of Parties to the Montreal Protocol to further examine ways of promoting the use of environmentally sound alternatives to ozone-depleting substances that are cost-effective and affordable, and in particular facilitate provision of these alternatives for their use in developing countries;
(g) Support the efforts of the parties to the Montreal Protocol to consider the issue of ozone-depleting substances not yet covered by international regulations;
(h) Encourage all countries to consider signing and ratifying or acceding to the future Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) at the earliest possible occasion;
(i) Encourage the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to consider supporting the increased involvement of academics and experts of developing countries in its work, including in the preparation of its reports and the incorporation of developing country scientific and socio-economic literature therein.
8. With respect to monitoring of the Earth?s atmosphere, the Commission emphasizes the importance of:
(a) Strengthening the systematic observation of the Earth?s atmosphere by the improvement of ground-based monitoring stations, increased use of satellites, and appropriate integration of these observations to produce high-quality data that could be disseminated for the use of all countries, in particular developing countries;
(b) Encouraging the continuation of the work of the critical ground-based measurement programme for total column ozone coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) over the remainder of the decade in order to determine the potential net effects of ozone depletion;
(c) Supporting, as appropriate, international monitoring programmes, such as the Global Climate Observing System;
(d) Encouraging relevant international organizations, especially the United Nations specialized agencies, to jointly plan and implement a strategy for integrated global observations to monitor the Earth?s atmosphere.

Regional cooperation

9. The Commission encourages cooperation on atmosphere-related issues, including technological, financial and technical assistance, taking into account each region?s specific needs and characteristics, aimed at:
(a) Supporting, as appropriate, regional agreements for improved air quality and control of transboundary air pollution;
(b) Improving various methods to quantify and assess air pollution;
(c) Enhancing capacity-building, institutional strengthening and involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the work for improved air quality, taking into consideration the special circumstances and needs of small island developing States.

Recommendations at the national level

10. At the national level, Governments, taking into account their respective national priorities and circumstances, are encouraged, with the support of the international community, to consider, as appropriate:
(a) Improving data compilation and monitoring of air quality;
(b) Publicizing the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop guidelines for air quality and working towards their application;
(c) Further developing and implementing air quality strategies which include air pollution control and air quality management;
(d) Identifying, assessing and addressing the adverse effects of air pollution on human health, socio-economic development, ecosystems and cultural heritage;
(e) Improving policies that reduce environmental health hazards, including through plans and strategies to prevent, mitigate and respond to diseases resulting from indoor and outdoor air pollution, giving special attention to the health of women and children;
(f) Increasing public participation of and access of all persons, including major groups, to information on how to reduce health risks caused by air pollution and ozone depletion;
(g) Encouraging the coordination of national activities on atmospheric issues;
(h) Promoting and giving incentives to the dissemination of best available and affordable techniques to improve air quality;
(i) Enhancing capacity-building, institutional strengthening and involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the work for improved air quality.

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