Air pollution, climate and health in the HKH: Workshop and Science-Policy Dialogue

   TwitCount

(Participation by Invitation only)

Background

Recent scientific research and monitoring conducted in numerous places across southern Asia and the Hindukush Himalaya show that air pollution is a widespread and growing regional problem that extends beyond cities, across vast rural regions, across international boundaries, and even across mountain ranges.  It has impacts on the region’s climate, on the health of hundreds of millions of people, as well as on agriculture, water resources, and incomes.  While the problem has caught the attention of the public and of policymakers in many places, and while there is a growing body of scientific knowledge about the problem’s sources, complexities and potential solutions, there are still very few examples of the two sides coming together into effective policymaking based on sound scientific evidence.  Most policy efforts to address air pollution in the region have been taken at the local or national level, without consideration of the regional, transboundary perspective – with one exception: The Male’ Declaration on the Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and its Transboundary Effects in South Asia, signed in 1998.

This event, to be co-hosted by Nepal’s Ministry of Population and Environment, will bring the region’s atmospheric scientists back together, guide them to summarizing the current state of the scientific knowledge and consensus, and bring them into two-way dialogue with policymakers from the region.  This will be followed by a policymakers’ meeting to discuss ways to improve the effectiveness of the Male’ Declaration and to build a regional framework for evidence based policymaking and action to reduce air pollution and its impacts in the region.  

Objectives

  1. Community building among the region’s atmospheric scientists:  Sharing research projects, methodologies and results.  Formation of thematic groups.
  2. Consensus among scientists on several key topics/thematic areas (health impacts, cryosphere impacts, trans-boundary pollution transport, urban and rural air pollution, etc.).
  3. Fostering improved evidence-based policy making through improved 2-way communication between scientists and policymakers:
  • Communication of the region’s scientists’ consensus to policymakers.
  • Providing an opportunity for scientists to hear policymakers’ priorities.
  • Discussing the challenges and ways to improve science-policy dialogue in each country.
  • Facilitated discussion among policymakers about a multinational framework to address air pollution (preferably aligned with an official Male’ Declaration annual meeting)
  • Running in parallel there will be a meeting organized by the US Embassy to Nepal, bringing together staff working on air pollution at embassies around Asia.  The US Embassy is also graciously providing funds to ICIMOD to cover the travel costs of some of the international scientific participants.