Air quality is a key issue for local governments to tackle, from both climate and a human health perspective. At least seven million premature deaths annually are attributed to air pollution – accounting for one in eight premature deaths globally. By reducing urban air pollution levels, cities and countries can reduce the burden of disease on urban dwellers, while also addressing a critical climate issue.
In response to the natural trans-boundary flows of air pollutants, any efforts to address urban air quality at the local level should be matched by cross-border cooperation with neighboring affected jurisdictions. In the context of the Republic of Korea, local governments continue to actively exchange with partners across North-east Asia through events such as the 2014 Seoul International Forum on Air Quality Improvement to explore the potential for greater cooperation around the issue of air pollution.
Building on recent exchanges, this session will detail the link between urban health and air quality with an expert contribution from the Urban Health Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC). Representatives from Northeast Asian cities will present the key features of their action plans to address air pollution, with reference to the wide range of technological solutions and policy strategies which have successfully improved urban air quality standards across spatial planning, transport, energy efficiency and waste management.
A discussion panel will pay special attention to strategies to address short lived climate pollutants, the issue of yellow sand, and the PM2.5 trans-boundary issue in China, Mongolia, Japan and Korea. The objective is to explore further steps towards greater cooperation on air quality in Northeast Asia
International Environmental Cooperation for Air Quality Improvement in Kitakyushu
Hiroshi Imanaga, Deputy Mayor of Kitakyushu city, Kitakyushu, Japan