United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Fourteenth Session, New York, 01 ? 12 May 2006
Delivered version, 04 May 2006
Integrated approach to addressing air pollution and atmospheric problems
· Air pollution is the result of a diversity of causes and factors:
o the use of traditional biomass, poor quality fuels, poor combustion
technologies, energy production and industry with inadequate abatement
technology, transport, etc.
· As a consequence of this varied background:
o air pollution is closely related to other themes of CSD14 and 15: energy,
industrial development and climate change as well as to the crosscutting
issues of the JPOI, especially poverty eradication, sustainable consumption
and production, education, health and gender equality. Furthermore, air
pollution is linked to other policy areas, such as transport, urban planning and
land-use management.
· The EU believes that the interlinked character of the CSD14 themes provides us with part
of the solution to the problem of air pollution; this interlinked character calls for an
integrated approach in addressing these issues in order to maximise synergies. There are
numerous win-win opportunities such as access to sustainable energy, modernisation of
industrial installations and measures to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. We
should focus more on maximising these co-benefits.
· Additionally, this integrated approach means that all sectors of society should be taken
into account to find the least costly measures. Not only energy production or industry need
to be considered, but also other sources of air pollution such as agriculture, transport,
including shipping and aviation, domestic small scale heating, etc.
· Nevertheless, in spite of the potential opportunities that an integrated approach can
provide, we know that
· there are substantial differences between countries and regions not only when it comes
to the causes of air pollution but also in terms of the capacities and resources to address
the challenges.
· A substantial body of knowledge on effective abatement technologies is available and
could reduce the impact of air pollution at a relatively low cost, but in most cases lack of
human and financial resources seems to be the main obstacle for applying this
· Consequently, good governance, appropriate administrative, economic and legal
frameworks, a knowledge-based approach in which education plays a key role as well as
access to adequate human, technical and financial resources constitute the elements of
an appropriate integrating frame for addressing air pollution.

· Indoor air pollution is taking a particularly heavy toll on human health in developing
countries, particularly in rural areas: more than 1.5 million people - mainly children and
women ? die prematurely every year due to in door air pollution from low-quality fuel and
poor combustion technology.
· In this regard, access to affordable clean energy and heating technology is crucial. Poor
health undermines the attempts to meet the MDGs, including the possibility for children to
obtain primary education. Targets and objectives could be considered for access to safe,
affordable and sustainable energy services, as is the case for access to safe water and
sanitation. This requires focused efforts and adequate financial backing by national
governments, donors and the private sector. There are also clear links between providing
access to sustainable energy services and climate change and land-use management as
the traditional use of biofuels often has a strong negative impact on the local natural
resources such as forests.