ON-LINE – Kazakh and Kyrgyz national experts on environmental monitoring and protection, sustainable development, air quality and health, representatives of Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Health and Kazhydromet of the Republic of Kazakhstan, representatives of State Agency for Environment and Forestry and Climate Finance Center of the Kyrgyz Republic, researchers and civil society members of both countries attended the webinar “Introduction to Air Quality Management with a focus on indexes and inventories” to learn the EU experience.
The webinar was organised by the EU-funded project “European Union – Central Asia: Water, Environment and Climate Change Cooperation” (WECOOP) in cooperation with AirVision.kz Non-Profit Public Fund as part of the EU’s tailor-made support to Central Asia (CA) on environmental governance and capacity building. It aimed to assist Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in improving their air quality monitoring and management.
According to the OECD, “Urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation”. Poor air quality causes many health issues, such as asthma and cardiovascular problems. This in turn results in lost working days due to ill health, and higher costs for healthcare services. Health problems linked to poor air quality are particularly bad in urban areas, where air quality is generally lower. Kazhydromet and an independent PM2.5 measurement network Airkaz confirm there is a severe air quality degradation in Almaty and other cities of Kazakhstan. The situation is similar in the neighbouring Kyrgyzstan.
Since early 1970s, the EU has been working to improve air quality by controlling emissions, improving fuel quality, and integrating environmental standards into the transport and energy sectors. As a result, much progress has been made in tackling air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and benzene. Since 2000, the EU’s GDP grew by 32% while emissions of the main air pollutants decreased by 10% to 70% depending on the pollutant. In 2013, the European Commission adopted a Clean Air Package setting further objectives for reducing the health and environmental impacts of air pollution by 2030.
Under the new Green Deal, the EU is also committed to lead by example and provides the financial and technical assistance to international partners, including to Central Asian states. During the two-day webinar, the participants discussed air quality management standards, legislation and practices in the European Union with a focus on indexes and emission inventories for urban air quality modelling.
Mr Valts Vilnitis, WECOOP Team Leader: “Air quality is one of the top priorities on the national environmental agendas of the Central Asian governments. Public awareness of the issue is also high, and citizens expect authorities to act. The WECOOP project assists the countries by providing analysis and review of the existing national legislation, strategic consulting on improvement of air quality management and control, and capacity building. We are eager to contribute to air quality management improvement in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other countries of Central Asia”.
Background: The EU-funded project “European Union – Central Asia Water, Environment and Climate Change Cooperation” (WECOOP) (third phase from October 2019 to October 2022) aims to enhance environment, climate change and water policies at national levels in Central Asia through approximation to EU standards and to promote investments in relevant sectors with the aim of contributing to measurable reductions in man-made pollution, including CO2 emission. The project activities include support to the EU–CA Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation and its Working Group on Environment and Climate Change, as well as implementation of the EU Green Deal’s international dimension in Central Asia to advance climate action.
For additional information, please contact:
Ms Yerkezhan Amriyeva
Political, Press and Information Section
EU Delegation to Kazakhstan
EVENT MATERIALS: https://wecoop.eu/events/webinar-air-quality/