United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Science & Technology

Statement by the Scientific & Technological Community
Session on Air pollution/Atmosphere
28 February 2007
Mr Chairman,
A few key points that we wish to emphasize on behalf of the science and technology community.
1) It is critical for all governments to support a strong foundation of scientific and technical expertise for
AQ management. Without this base of expertise, it is generally impossible to assess air quality status; to
set appropriate emissions standards; and to design and implement effective pollution control measures.
2) Given the obvious fact that atmospheric pollution pays no attention to national borders, there is an
inherent need for strong international cooperation on this issue. I cite the Convention on Long-Range
Transboundary Air Pollution, of the UN-ECE, as an excellent example of a strong science-based,
regional-level cooperative effort. This model should be emulated in other regions of the world.
Likewise, there must be proactive efforts to disseminate tools for AQ monitoring and modeling modeling
tools, technologies for pollution prevention, and knowledge of best practices in air quality management.
I note some excellent examples of programmes designed to meet these goals, for instance:
- the UN's Partnership for Clean Indoor Air and Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles
- The WMO / Global Atmospheric Watch monitoring programmes.
- The U.S. Department of Energy?s Clean Cities International programme
3) As you all know, air pollutants and greenhouse gases have many common sources. It thus makes
sense for all nations to explore strategies to simultaneously meet air quality control and climate change
mitigation targets. Advanced integrated modeling systems such as those developed by the International
Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA, based in Vienna), are immensely valuable tools that
should be shared and implemented as widely as possible.
4) In the transportation sector, we support the actions that have been recommended for promoting cleaner
fuels and more efficient vehicles. But at the same time, we emphasize the tremendous need for policies to
reduce the overall demand for personal vehicle use, for instance, by promoting public transport and smart
urban/regional planning.
We acknowledge that all of these measures do, of course, require significant financial investments.
But it is important to appreciate the fact that these are fundamentally public health investments.
Many countries represented here today can share success stories to illustrate that the benefits of such
investments are enormous, and far outweigh the costs.