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Modelling scenarios to reduce air pollution for countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

Do you know where pollutants in the air we breathe come from? Understanding how pollutant emissions will evolve in the future is essential for designing effective clean air policies today while taking into account the available resources in a given country.

While air quality in the UNECE region has improved over the past few decades as a result of integrated air pollution management strategies developed under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention), progress has also been uneven across the region. In particular in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), more efforts are needed to reduce air pollutant emissions.  

To assist countries in analyzing their air pollutant emission data and understanding how to develop their emission scenarios, UNECE organized a subregional workshop for EECCA countries together with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria this week (15-19 October 2018).

The workshop included hands-on training sessions on the GAINS (Greenhouse Gas – Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies) model – a model that was used to support the negotiations for the revision of the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) under the Convention. The model can help assess emission reduction potentials in different countries and regions. It can simulate costs, health and ecosystems benefits of different emission control measures, analyze cost-effectiveness of measures to achieve user-defined policy targets and assess costs and benefits to maximize the benefits of policy interventions.

The five-day in-depth training helped participants in understanding how to set national emission reduction targets for 2020 and beyond, which is a necessary step in the ratification process of the Gothenburg Protocol.

The workshop was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety by the Advisory Assistance Programme for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union (AAP). It was supervised by the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).

For more information on capacity-building under the UNECE Air Convention, please visit: http://www.unece.org/environmental-policy/conventions/envlrtapwelcome/capacity-building.html.