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Strategic discussions under UNECE’s Air Convention to advance better air quality in the region

Responding to the findings of the 2016 Scientific Assessment Report ‘Towards Cleaner Air’, Parties to the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention) this week discussed strategic priorities for the future of the Convention.

Informed by the scientific findings of the report, proposals for prioritizing the policy work of the Convention in the future revolved around four main topics: implementation of the Convention and all the current protocols; ratification of the three latest protocols; increased cooperation with countries outside the UNECE region; and further review and possible revision of the protocols. In addition, the Executive Body also discussed the implications of the resolution on air pollution (UNEP/EA.3/L.23), adopted at the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (Nairobi, 4-6 December 2017), for the Convention’s future work. Taking these discussions into account, the Executive Body tasked an ad group of experts to update the Long-term Strategy for the Convention, which will be further discussed at its next session in 2018.

In this context, Parties also discussed concrete progress on the status of ratification of the three amended Protocols — the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol), the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Protocol on POPs) and the Protocol on Heavy Metals. According to Parties’ reports, all three amended Protocols will be ratified by a sufficient number of Parties for the amendments to enter into force towards the end of 2018 or in early 2019.The Executive Body for the Convention encouraged Parties to step up actions to ratify the three amended Protocols.