Background and objective
Air pollution and climate change pose a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of Southeast Asia's population. Globally, air pollution contributes to 7 million annual premature deaths, and cause 110 million tonnes of crop losses each year. They affect the most vulnerable, including children, women, the elderly people with existing lung or cardiovascular diseases and the poor with limited access to healthcare services. In Southeast Asia, exposure to air pollution resulted in more than 352,000 premature deaths in 2017 (Health Effects Institute, 2020). Meanwhile, the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), also considered as air pollutants, are the largest contributors to global warming after carbon dioxide. Quick action on SLCPs can help reduce air pollution and provide near-term climate benefits. This presents an opportunity for coordinated action to achieve immediate benefits for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2019, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP), and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) released the report “Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based Solutions” which identifies effective 25 policy and technological clean air measures for Asia and the Pacific which, if implemented, not only improve air quality but at the same time contribute to climate action. A follow-up assessment report has been developed on “Clean Air and Climate Solutions for ASEAN” which identifies effective 15 science-based clean air and climate solutions for Southeast Asian region.
Promising action and innovative solutions are on the rise. Many Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, and Thailand, have already initiated efforts to address air pollution and climate in an integrated approach. This meeting will introduce recent developments in Southeast Asia to address air quality and climate. It will also introduce the 15 science-based clean air and climate solutions for ASEAN and facilitate sharing of national and sub-national efforts on the integrated air quality management and climate change mitigation. This session contributes to the Commemoration of the Fourth International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (IDCABS) in 2023.
The Session is organized by Thailand’s Hub of Talents on Air Pollution and Climate (HTAPC). The HTAPC is hosted by the Faculty of Public Health, Thammasat University with support from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). Other co-organizers include UNESCAP, UNEP, Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP), Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Thailand, German International Cooperation (GIZ), and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).
 WHO (2018). 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air, but more countries are taking action.