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40 years of successful cooperation for clean air

Scientific evidence, public concern, international conferences, backing from countries in the East and the West, and a lot of diplomatic maneuvering were the ingredients for the agreement that 32 countries signed in 1979 to reduce air pollution. Since its inception 40 years ago, the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution has developed into a successful regional framework for controlling and reducing the damage to human health and the environment caused by transboundary air pollution. 

The achievements until today are unparalleled: Air pollutant emissions and economic growth have been decoupled. Emissions of certain air pollutants have been reduced by 40 to 80 per cent. Forest soils and lakes have recovered from acidification. 600,000 premature deaths have been avoided annually. 

With its now 51 Parties, its 8 protocols setting emission reduction commitments for various pollutants, its solid science-policy interface, its effective compliance mechanism, its capacity-building programme, and its outreach beyond the UNECE region, the Convention is today more relevant than ever.

To celebrate 40 years of successful cooperation to reduce air pollution, a special event will be organized as part of the thirty-ninth session of the Executive Body for the Convention (11-12 December 2019). The event will be an opportunity to look back at the Convention’s achievements, highlight recent development in the region, with particular focus on Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, talk about visions for future development, and discuss cooperation on clean air globally.