Excellencies, distinguished guests,
It is my pleasure to once again be with you at this year’s regional observance of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies.
I am also pleased that this 4th anniversary follows the adoption of the Regional Action Programme on Air Pollution (RAPAP) last year.
The annual International Day has been instrumental for governments and stakeholders to share their work for clean air and build common expectations on regional cooperation. In turn, the shared expectations were successfully translated into the Action Programme or RAPAP.
This year’s theme is “Together for Clean Air,” highlighting the need for stronger partnerships. RAPAP is the vehicle to facilitate such stronger partnerships among all stakeholders.
I am encouraged by the increasing action and collaboration among our member States, UN agencies, academia and research institutions to confront our common challenges.
RAPAP also brought together diverse national and regional stakeholders at the High-Level Forum on Clean Air held in Ulaanbaatar in March of this year to further elaborate areas of collaboration. Thus, I sincerely hope that this observance continues to build momentum for urgent action.
As defined by RAPAP, we need stronger partnerships for:
• Improving existing national air quality standards and sectoral air quality management policies;
• Strengthening air quality monitoring and sharing of open data as the foundation of air quality management;
• Sharing solutions and best practices for multiplier effects across the region;
• Supporting national air quality policies and regulations and building technical capacities; and
• Strengthening multilateral cooperation to effectively address the transboundary nature of air pollution.
As we continue our journey towards clean air, I must renew the call for all of us to take collective action to address climate change. Many of the climate pollutants are air pollutants, and many of the effects of climate change, such as stronger sand and dust storms, lead to poor air quality.
There are encouraging signs across our region, including the rapid expansion of electric vehicles, renewable energy and other clean technologies.
Today’s commemoration should once again focus our attention and resolve on finding and implementing solutions to achieve clean air and the many co-benefits that can be derived from regional cooperation.
I wish you successful discussions.
Thank you for your attention.