Air pollution emissions have been reduced considerably in the UNECE region over the last decades, in part as a result of integrated air pollution management strategies that were developed jointly under the Convention and its protocols. However, the progress is still uneven across the region. In particular in Eastern, South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, the increase in energy production, industry growth and urban development is bound to raise emissions.
To avoid damage to the environment, public health and the economy, adopting targets to reduce emissions and introducing measures to enforce them is important. Providing a framework to facilitate these measures, the Convention assists countries in formulating policy responses to the air pollution challenge. Ensuring the implementation and ratification of the Convention and its protocols within this region is imperative for the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the Convention.
The recent amendments to the Convention’s key protocols – the instruments identifying specific measures to cut emission of air pollutants – took these needs into account by introducing flexibilities to enable accession of new Parties. The Convention’s long-term strategy and its work plan, as well as the action plan to involve countries in Eastern, South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia in the work of the Convention highlight the need to assist these countries in the ratification and implementation of the Convention and its most recent protocols. The assistance programme that is currently being undertaken with the support of several Parties aims to raise the political profile of the Convention in the region; to encourage ratification of the Convention’s most recent protocols; and to increase cooperation and exchange of information by involving countries in emissions reporting, monitoring and modelling activities under the Convention.
In line with the above-mentioned priorities, the following projects and activities are being implemented or have been already completed.
Workshop on best available techniques, organized by the Task Force on Techno-economic Issues in Berlin, Germany (20 - 22 April 2016)
A workshop to promote understanding and implementation of best available techniques (BAT) across the UNECE region with particular focus on countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia was organized by the Convention’s Task Force on Techno-Economic Issues (TFTEI) in Berlin (20- 22 April 2016). “Best available techniques” refers to the most effective and advanced practices and methods used under economically and technically viable conditions in relevant industrial sectors to reduce emissions and the impact on the environment. Experts from various countries of the region shared information on existing approaches to BAT implementation and examples of application in different sectors. A clearinghouse accessible in English and Russian has been developed under the Task Force to provide a platform for Parties and experts to share information on existing and emerging technologies to abate emissions of various pollutants from both stationary and mobile sources and to provide feedback. The workshop participants discussed the progress and main challenges in BAT implementation in their countries. They also identified needs for support from other Parties in order to facilitate the progress.
Roundtable on results of national legislation analysis (12 April 2016) and workshop on emission inventories (13–15 April 2016) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
To encourage ratification of the Convention’s key protocols by Kyrgyzstan, UNECE organized a round table in Bishkek on 12 April to present and discuss the results of the analysis of the national legislation on air quality management and the recommendations on the steps towards ratification. Representatives of the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry, several ministries, as well as companies participated in the discussion. Further to the round table, UNECE organized a workshop to support Kyrgyzstan in improving its air pollutant emission inventories in accordance with the Convention’s requirements (13–15 April 2016). The workshop focused on the practical work with the country’s national data in relation to its priority activity sectors.
For both workshops, knowledge sharing and a vivid exchange of experiences resulted in identifying recommendations and key steps for further developing air quality inventories. Focusing on the energy sector and industrial processes, participants recognized the importance of maintaining an air quality emission inventory, not only for the purpose of reporting under the Convention, but also for formulating national policies and measures, for various projection and modelling studies, for the assessment of impacts on health, economy and environment, and for the evaluation of energy efficiency measures. In particular, participants pointed out the importance of coordinating and harmonizing data streams used by the teams of experts working on greenhouse gas and air quality emission inventories. It was acknowledged that the best international practice is to have the same team of experts working both on air quality and greenhouse gases emission inventories.
Workshop on emission inventories (19-21 May 2015) and roundtable on results of national legislation analysis in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (22 May 2015)
Following a first workshop in 2013, a group of national experts representing various institutions compared existing national methodologies to calculate emissions with internationally agreed methodologies under the Convention, in particular for the energy sector and agriculture. Working with national data sets, experts calculated ammonia emissions from agriculture for the first time. It was concluded that available national data is sufficient for developing good-quality and accurate emission inventories.
A round table on 22 May presented the results of the analysis of the national legislation on air quality management with respect to the Convention’s requirements. Participants from parliament, the State Committee for Nature Protection and several ministries, as well as representatives from state-owned enterprises, discussed the recommendations on the steps towards ratification of the Convention. It was agreed to take these recommendations into account in the ongoing revision of the national law on air protection.
Workshop on emission inventories in Baku, Azerbaijan (11-13 November 2014)
The workshop brought together national experts representing the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources with its Scientific Research Centre on Technical Regulatory Acts, the Ministry of Energy, the State Statistics Committee, the Ministry of Transport, as well as the State Oil Company and ‘Azerenergy’ JSC. The event was organized in order to strengthen the ratification and implementation of the Convention and its key protocols in Azerbaijan. The sessions were prepared and facilitated by international experts from the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP) and included the following aspects: reporting requirements under the Convention, national inventory system (key elements, legal framework, synergies with GHG inventories), the structure of Informative Inventory Reports, introduction to emissions gridding and reporting of large-point sources, key category analysis, quality assurance/quality control. The workshop programme was in particular focused on the energy sector and fugitive emissions, in accordance with the request of the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Workshop on emission inventories in Tbilisi, Georgia (21-23 October 2014)
The workshop was organized with the aim to support Georgia in the ratification and implementation of the key Convention’s protocols in accordance with the needs expressed by its Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection. International experts from the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP) prepared and facilitated the workshop sessions. The workshop helped raise awareness among national experts, in particular in relation to reporting requirements under the Convention and key aspects pertaining to national inventory system (key elements, legal framework, etc.). The workshop also provided training to national experts to enhance their skills in preparing the Informative Inventory Report (IIR) and to improve their understanding of emissions gridding and key category analysis. The experts discussed the categories reported under the industrial processes by Georgia and compiled the information on large-point sources for subsequent inclusion in their reports.
Training on gridded data and emission projections, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova (5-6 June 2014)
The training was organized upon request by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova with the aim to provide an overview of the requirements for gridding and projections reporting as defined in the Guidelines for reporting under the Convention and showcased in the EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook. The training also looked at the results of work done by other Parties/institutions and identified the data needs and software tools to be employed both for gridding and projections. National experts from various institutions (State Ecological Inspectorate, Institute of Ecology and Geography, State Hydrometeorological Service, Institute of Power Engineering, etc.) participated in the training.
Workshop “Particulate matter: the impact on health and development of national emission inventories”, Tashkent, Uzbekistan (20-21 November 2013)
The workshop brought together national environmental, emission, and public health experts and representatives of the industrial sector in Uzbekistan to discuss the impact of particulate matter (PM) on health. The workshop also took a look at the current practice of emissions monitoring and reporting in the country. International experts shared information on existing experience related to PM emission inventories development and on methods and tools used. Workshop participants developed recommendations on further steps to harmonize the national inventory system with the Convention’s requirements.
Joint project of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation: “Facilitating the implementation and ratification of the protocols of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia – Elaboration of national air pollutant emission inventory framework” (2012-2013)
The trilateral project funded by the Government of the Russian Federation provided assistance to partner countries in setting the methodological and technical framework for compiling air pollutant emission inventories in accordance with the requirements of the Convention and its protocols. The key accomplishments of the project include an overview of prioritized anthropogenic air pollution sources by activity sectors and the work plans for compiling pilot air pollutant emission inventories in accordance with the EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook and the EMEP Emission Reporting Guidelines.
Support to the Implementation of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution in Moldova (2009-2011)
The objective of the project was to promote implementation of the Convention in the Republic of Moldova (mainly, the provisions of the Gothenburg Protocol), to compile a high quality national emission inventory in accordance with the requirements of the EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook and the EMEP Emission Reporting Guidelines as well as to build capacity for integrated assessment modelling. The project was funded by the Czech Republic.
Implementation and Ratification of the Protocol on Heavy Metals, the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Gothenburg Protocol (2008-2011).
The project to support the implementation of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution in Western Balkan countries, which was funded by the Netherlands and coordinated by UNECE, was completed with following major outputs: Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM) developed their national action plans for the implementation and ratification of the three most recent protocols of the Convention; in addition to that, the fYROM deposited its instrument of ratification in December 2010.
Capacity Building for Air Quality Management and the Application of Clean Coal Combustion Technologies in Central Asia (CAPACT project), 2004-2008
The objective of the project was to strengthen the capacity of air quality management institutions in Central Asia to implement the Convention and its protocols as well as to promote the application of appropriate clean coal combustion technologies for heat and power generation from solid fuels.