Monday, June 23 marked the start of the UN Environment Assembly, the first-ever gathering of all countries to discuss some of the most critical issues facing the environment. Taking place in Nairobi, home of the UN Environment Programme, the Assembly is, in the words of INEP’s chief scientist Jacqueline McGlade, “about creating a conversation that will carry on for many, many years.”
As part of the conversation, the CCAC will be conducting several events and meetings.
On Monday 23 June the CCAC participated in a side event titled “Improving Air Quality in African Cities.” The event featured a panel with speakers from Senegal, Kenya and Nigeria, including Bahijjahtu Abubakar of the Ministry of Federal Ministry of Nigeria and co-chair of the CCAC.
Air quality is a serious and worsening problem in the rapidly growing cities of Africa. According to a March 2014 report by the World Health Organization, air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk and is fast becoming one of the leading causes of illness and death in developing countries.
The aim of the event was to discuss the key sources of air pollution in African cities and the current gaps in understanding of air pollution in Africa. It emphasized the actions that countries and cities are taking now, and presented snapshots of what is happening in several cities in Africa.
On Tuesday 24 June the CCAC conducted a media briefing on Accelerating Action on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Time to Act. Speakers included:
- Mrs. Bahijjahtu Abubakar, Ministry of Federal Ministry of Nigeria and co-chair CCAC
- Helena Molin Valdes, Head of CCAC secretariat Climate and Clean Air Coalition
- Anna-Karin Hedström, Deputy Director General, Head of Division, Division for International Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Sweden
- Durwood Zaelke, President, Institute for Governance on Sustainable Development (IGSD)
At the session the new print edition of the booklet Time to Act to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants was released to media participants. Through updated text and new graphics, this second edition of the popular publication explains what short-lived climate pollutants are and what effects they have on our lives. It demonstrates in a comprehensive way the challenges and opportunities presented by short-lived climate pollutants, including their relevance to near-term climate change, public health and food and energy security.
"Sweden is proud to be one of the originators of the CCAC. Short-lived climate pollutants affect health, climate and agricultural yield. WHO recently presented a report showing that as many as 7 million people die each year from air pollution, making it the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Together with the CCAC, Sweden is committed to reducing these emissions for the sake of health, climate and food production."Anna-Karin Hedström, Deputy Director General, Ministry of the Environment, Sweden, at the UN Environment Assembly June 2014
“Short-lived climate pollutants are everywhere in our lives. They are impacting the climate system and the quality of our air. It is time to act against these pollutants and deliver near term and multiple benefits for human well-being.” – from Time to Act to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.
On Wednesday 25 the CCAC held a special event to share information on actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. The focus was on National Action Planning and the CCAC’s SNAP initiative, municipal solid waste and HFC alternative technology and phase-down.
The event featured speakers from Bangladesh, Canada and Norway along with Durwood Zaelke of IGSD and other CCAC partners.
Throughout the UNEA week, the CCAC will also offer an exhibit about the Coalition, its work and its newly launched second edition of Time to Act.