The Working Group on Effects
Early in the discussions on the
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
it was recognized that a good understanding of the
harmful effects of air pollution was a prerequisite
for reaching agreement on effective pollution control.
To develop the necessary international cooperation
in the research on and the monitoring of pollutant
effects, the Working Group on Effects (WGE) was
established under the Convention in 1980 and held
its first meeting in 1981. The Convention involves
countries in the UNECE region and has its secretariat
with the UNECE.
The Working Group on Effects provides
information on the degree and geographic extent
of the impacts on human health and the environment
of major air pollutants, such as sulphur and nitrogen
oxides, ozone and heavy metals. Its six International
Cooperative Programmes (ICPs) and the Task Force
on Health identify the most endangered areas,
ecosystems and other receptors by considering damage
to human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
and materials. An important part of this work is
long-term monitoring. The work is underpinned by
scientific research on dose-response, critical loads
and levels and damage evaluation.
The Working Group meets annually
to discuss the results of the international programmes
and the current and future needs of the Convention.
It considers its future work and that of the programmes
and prepares a workplan for the coming year for
consideration by the Executive Body for the Convention.
Important results are brought to the attention of
the Executive Body; they are also published in the
scientific literature and disseminated to the public
through the publication of reports and through UNECE press releases.
The Working Group also publishes substantive reports
summarizing and assessing the most important results
of the activities of the international programmes.
The Working Group has
an elected Bureau which is responsible for the detailed
planning, coordination and reporting of the activities
in the workplan. The Bureau comprises a chair
and five vice-chairs. It is served by a member
of the UNECE secretariat.