Capacity building

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 latest 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.

In 2010, the Executive Body, through decision 2010/17, established a coordinating group on the promotion of actions towards implementation of the Convention in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, under the leadership of the Russian Federation. Through information exchange and capacity-building, the group aims to foster implementation of the Convention in countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The assistance programme that is currently being undertaken with the support of several Parties (the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and Switzerland) aims to raise the political profile of the Convention in the region; to encourage ratification of the Convention’s latest amended protocols; and to increase cooperation and exchange of information by involving countries in emissions reporting, monitoring and modelling activities under the Convention. The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have contributed to the overall programme, ensuring secretariat resources and travel of participants, respectively.

A brochure on the capacity-building programme can be found here.

In line with the above-mentioned priorities, the following projects and activities have been already completed.

Workshop on VOC installations: Requirements, Emission Monitoring, Best Available Techniques (11-12 November 2019), Minsk, Belarus

During the Workshop to Promote the Ratification of Protocols of the UNECE Air Convention with Focus on Countries in the EECCA Region, held in Berlin, (14-16 May 2019), the need for providing assistance and guidance to the EECCA experts on estimation and measurement of VOCs emissions was recognized. The workshop on VOCs therefore aimed to provide clear examples of methods and applications to correctly approach the issue of VOCs, in line with the Gothenburg Protocol provisions.

Workshop on improving emission inventories (21-25 October 2019), Yerevan, Armenia

Following a workshop on emission inventories in 2018, UNECE organized a follow-up workshop in Yerevan. The workshop aimed to improve the skills of national experts in developing national emission inventories in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. The workshop focused on the practical work with the country’s national data in relation to its priority activity sectors. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

High-level awareness-raising meeting and roundtable discussion on the analysis of national air quality legislation and National Action Plan (8 October 2019), Baku, Azerbaijan

UNECE organized a national round table to discuss domestic law on air pollution control in Baku, Azerbaijan. The purpose of the event was to raise the political profile of the Convention and increase awareness of the benefits of accession to its Protocols and to further assist Azerbaijan in aligning its national legislation with the provisions of the Protocols and determining the next steps towards ratification. High-level participants from the Ministries of Environment and several other Ministries and representatives from the private sector and civil society discussed the recommendations on the steps towards ratification of the key Protocols of the Convention. Participants concluded that ratification was feasible, but several steps on the way to ratification were still needed. The activity was co-funded by the European Union.

High-level awareness-raising meeting and roundtable discussion on the analysis of national air quality legislation and National Action Plan (25 September 2019), Yerevan, Armenia

UNECE organized a high-level level awareness-raising meeting in Armenia, which included a national round table to discuss domestic law on air pollution control. The purpose of the event was to raise the political profile of the Convention and increase awareness of the benefits of accession to its Protocols; to further assist Armenia in aligning national legislation with the provisions of the Protocols and determining the next steps towards ratification; and to highlight the Convention’s links and complementarity with the relevant European Union legislation, which Armenia plans to transpose into domestic law pursuant to its Partnership Agreement with the European Union. High-level participants from the Ministry of Environment and other Ministries as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society discussed the recommendations on the steps towards ratification of the key protocols of the Convention. Parties to the Convention also shared their experiences with ratification and representatives from the European Union presented on the links between the Convention and European Union legislation. The activity was co-funded by the European Union.

Workshop on improving emission inventories (23-27 September 2019), Baku, Azerbaijan

Following a workshop on emission inventories in 2017, UNECE organized a follow-up workshop in Baku. The workshop aimed to improve the skills of national experts in developing national emission inventories in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. The workshop focused on the practical work with the country’s national data in relation to its priority activity sectors. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Workshop to Promote the Ratification of Protocols of the UNECE Air Convention with Focus on Countries in the EECCA Region (14-16 May 2019), Berlin, Germany

The concept of “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 UNECE region and beyond shared information on existing approaches to BAT implementation and examples of application in different sectors. Industry representatives gave practical examples of BAT implementation (e.g. process-integrated and end-of-pipe techniques) in existing plants. Participants also discussed obstacles for implementation of BATs. The activity was funded by Germany and the European Union.

Workshop on improving emission inventories (13-15 November 2018), Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Following a workshop on emission inventories in 2015, UNECE organized a follow-up workshop in Tashkent. The workshop aimed to improve the skills of national experts in developing national emission inventories in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. The workshop focused on the practical work with the country’s national data in relation to its priority activity sectors. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Workshop on gridded emissions (29-31 October 2018), Chisinau, Republic of Moldova

To assist the Republic of Moldova in developing gridded emissions, UNECE organized a workshop in Chisinau. The training programme for the workshop focused on both theoretical and practical work, covering a number of activities in various sectors. In particular, participants discussed the methods and tools used to collect and process relevant data for the calculation of grid emissions and emission projections. This was followed by practical work and interactive discussions and exchanges. The activity was funded by the European Union.

Subregional workshop on the GAINS model for EECCA countries (15-19 October 2018), Laxenburg, Austria

 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).

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).

High-level awareness-raising meeting and roundtable discussion to encourage ratification (3 October 2018) in Tbilisi, Georgia

The purpose of the event was to raise the political profile of the Convention and increase awareness of the benefits of accession to its Protocols; to further assist Georgia in aligning national legislation with the provisions of the Protocols and determining the next steps towards ratification; and to highlight the Convention’s links and complementarity with the relevant European Union legislation, which Georgia plans to transpose into domestic law pursuant to its Association Agreement with the European Union.

High-level participants from the Ministry of Environment and other Ministries, as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society, discussed the recommendations on the steps towards ratification of the key protocols of the Convention. Parties to the Convention also shared their experiences with ratification and representatives from the European Union presented on the links between the Convention and European Union legislation. The activity was funded by the European Union.

Workshop on improving emission inventories (18-21 September 2018) and national roundtable meeting to encourage ratification (25 September 2018) in Kyiv, Ukraine

The workshop aimed to assist Ukraine in improving its air pollutant emission inventories in accordance with the Convention’s requirements. The purpose of the national round table was to discuss domestic law on air pollution control and to raise the political profile of the Convention and increase awareness of the benefits of accession to its Protocols. It was also geared towards further assisting Ukraine in aligning its national legislation with the provisions of the Protocols and determining the next steps towards ratification. This activity was funded by the European Union.

Meeting of the Coordinating Group and in the joint workshop with the Task Force on Techno-Economic Issues under the Convention (19-20 September 2018) in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Meeting participants discussed the status of implementation of the Convention in the represented countries. During the joint workshop with the Task Force on Techno-Economic Issues (TFTEI), task force members gave presentations on the guidance documents on VOC emissions accounting, the ERICCa (Emissions Reduction Investment and Cost Calculation Methodology) tool, the TFTEI-managed Clearing House on Best Available Techniques (BAT), and on the guidance document on small combustion and residential fuel burning that is currently under preparation. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Workshop on emission inventories (9-11 July 2018) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

The workshop aimed to improve the skills of national experts in developing national emission inventories in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. The workshop focused on the practical work with the country’s national data in relation to its priority activity sectors. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Follow-up workshop on emission inventories (26-28 June 2018) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

As a follow-up to a workshop in Kyrgyzstan in 2016, UNECE organized a second workshop on emission inventories in Bishkek (26–28 June 2018).   

International experts assisted national experts to compare existing national methodologies to calculate emissions with internationally agreed methodologies under the UNECE Air Convention. Working with national data sets, experts calculated emissions from key source categories, which will help Kyrgyzstan comply with the emissions data reporting obligations under the Convention. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Follow-up workshop on emission inventories (6-8 June 2018) in Yerevan, Armenia

Following up on a workshop in Armenia in 2016, UNECE organized a second workshop in Yerevan (6–8 June 2018). During the Yerevan workshop on emission inventories, national experts compared existing national methodologies to calculate emissions with internationally agreed methodologies under the UNECE Air Convention. Working with national data sets, experts calculated emissions from key source categories. This will help Armenia comply with the emissions data reporting obligations under the Convention. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation.

Workshop for EECCA countries at the meeting of the Task Force on Emission Inventories and Projections (TFEIP) (Sofia, Bulgaria, 25-27 April 2018)

At this year’s meeting of the Task Force (Sofia, Bulgaria, 25-27 April 2018), experts discussed questions related to verification of emission estimates, experiences in emission inventory developments, and emissions from sectors, such as combustion and industry, transport, and agriculture and nature.

In addition, the meeting featured a workshop for participants from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia to assist Parties with their inventories, projections and scenario development. Workshop facilitators provided a hands-on training on projections and scenarios and worked with participants on their national datasets. The results of the discussions and the training can help Parties refine their data, which in turn makes it a more reliable source for policymakers to base their policy decisions on. The activity was funded by the Russian Federation. 

Clean Air for a Sustainable Future - 6th Saltjöbaden workshop (Gothenburg, Swerden, 18-21 March 2018)

The workshop included sessions on clean cities, clean air globally, the way forward in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, air pollution effects on ecosystems and the link to climate, and sectors, sources and solutions for further emission reductions. The workshop was funded by Sweden.

Read more about activities in previous years.