Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to make this contribution on behalf of Group of 77 and China to our discussion on “Air/Atmospheric Pollution”.
Air/Atmospheric Pollution is a major challenge faced by the world today and impacts all of us in so many different ways. Importantly, our ability to effectively address air pollution is fundamental to our pursuit of promoting sustained economic growth and sustainable development. Our approach in dealing with pollution issues is, therefore, built around the high priority accorded by developing countries to economic growth and poverty eradication.
The decisions concerning the fight against air/atmosphere pollution should be guided by the understanding that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development. In this context, G-77 reiterates the continuing relevance and importance of all the Rio principles, in particular Principle 7 of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.
The Chapter 9 of Agenda 21, the JPOI, and the Decision 9/2 adopted by the CSD-9 on “Protection of the Atmosphere”, outlines a clear roadmap of actions required at the international, regional and national levels, and indicates areas where international cooperation is required to effectively combat air/atmosphere pollution.
Air pollution has serious negative impacts on human health, socio-economic development, ecosystems and cultural heritage. Urgent and effective actions are, therefore, required in regard to both indoor air pollution from traditional biomass cooking and heating and ambient air pollution from all sources. Indoor air pollution, we believe, must be accorded high priority, as it is in its worst form, a poverty-related manifestation.
Air pollution is also increased by factors such as: natural disasters including volcanic eruptions, sand storms, desertification and land degradation, which cause health problems and disrupt peoples’ daily lives.
The most important and perhaps the most formidable task before us is to overcome the inadequacy of financial resources and to secure access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies.
Similarly, we also need to address the challenges of substantial cost of monitoring and abatement technologies; lack of adequate funding to sustain and replicate successful demonstration projects; and lack of adequate scientific research capabilities on the health impacts of many pollutants.
In addition to the policy recommendations already suggested by the G-77 so far on the theme of Air Pollution, we may submit our further proposals in the coming days. However, the Group would like to re-submit the following policy options for endorsement by CSD-15, which in our view are important to cope with the challenges faced by the world to address the challenges of Air/Atmospheric Pollution:
Firstly, we call for enhanced international cooperation that should enable developing countries to implement national plans and strategies through:
- Transfer of affordable, efficient and environmentally-sound technologies on favorable 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, in order to address the technological gap;
- Identification of financial, technological and institutional barriers and constraints that we are facing in combating air pollution, especially in metropolitan areas with a view to addressing and removing them;
- Further cooperation of relevant international bodies and the promotion of synergies in the implementation of all relevant multilateral environmental agreements, including the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 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;
- Encouraging Member States, to the extent that they have not yet done so, to consider ratifying or acceding to the Montreal Protocol and its amendments;
- Enhancement of capacity-building, institutional strengthening and involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the work of improved air quality, taking into consideration the special circumstances and needs of small island developing States; and
- Implementation of social and environmental responsibility at the corporate level.
Secondly, at the national level, taking into account their respective national priorities and circumstances, Governments should be encouraged to consider:
- Improving data compilation and monitoring of air quality;
- Identifying, assessing and addressing the adverse effects of air pollution on human health, socio-economic development, ecosystems and cultural heritage;
- Encouraging policy coordination and integration and the involvement of all stakeholders;
- Making available an adequate technology to curb burning of garbage from local heaps and national land fills and outlaws incineration of garbage emitting toxic fumes;
We reiterate our support for the following policy options at international level, as already suggested by G-77 during the IPM, which are reflected in some form in the Chairman’s draft negotiation text:
- Fuel switching – from biomass and coal to liquid petroleum gas, biogas or electricity; dissemination of improved cook stoves;
- Modernization of thermal electric power plants;
- Establishment, monitoring and enforcement of air quality standards;
- Expanded utilization of renewable energies;
- Capacity-building, research, education and training, and institutional strengthening in preventing and combating air pollution;
- 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;
- Development and introduction of cleaner fuels and air pollution abatement technologies, and the sharing of practices and experiences;
- Promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, with developed countries taking the lead;
- Enforcing international control over illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances, by providing, as appropriate, adequate resources;
- Strengthening systematic observation of the Earth’s atmosphere by improving 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;
- Supporting international monitoring programmes, such as the Global Climate Observing System;
- Establishment and/or support, as appropriate, regional and subregional cooperative agreements to reduce national and transboundary air pollution involving not only monitoring and abatement but also research and policy formulation;
- Commissioning studies to improve knowledge on transboundary air pollution from ozone, particulates and persistent organic pollutants, as well as on the impacts of air pollution and future risks of different development pathways;
- Improving methods to quantify and assess air pollution;
- Supporting national efforts to discontinue use of inefficient and un-vented cook stoves through expansion of modern energy services such as improved biomass and cleaner cooking fuels important to mitigate indoor air pollution;
- Supporting Partnerships for Clean Fuels and Vehicles in our efforts to complete the global elimination of leaded gasoline and support other such initiatives, including at national level, aimed at reducing the sulphur content of vehicle fuels, as well as the emission of serious air pollutants from other sources;
- Transition to the use of liquid and gaseous fossil fuels and renewable energy including by creating appropriate investment conditions for LNG production and utilization to reduce air pollution;
- Development of early warning systems and other cooperative mechanisms;
We also reiterate our preference for the following policy options and possible actions at national level to address the challenge of air pollution:
- Further developing and implementing air quality strategies, which include air pollution control and air quality management;
- Improving policies that reduce environmental hazards,
- Promoting and providing incentives to the dissemination of best available and affordable techniques to improve air quality;
- Enhancing capacity building, institutional strengthening and involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the work for improved air quality.
- Promoting clean public transport alternatives;
- Increasing public awareness;
- Adopting regulatory options and possible measures.
- Increasing controls on pollution emissions for transportation vehicles and industry.
It is our hope that the outcome of the CSD-15 will facilitate the implementation of policy options to reduce air pollution. We expect that CSD-15 will address the global sustainable development challenges in an integrated and coordinated manner so that we can agree to a set of action-based and development oriented policy options.
I thank you.