On 19th and 20th of March 1998 a round-table policy dialogue regarding the rapidly increasing problem of regional air pollution, with a focus on South Asia, was organized at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand. The Meeting was organized by the UNEP Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The meeting was attended by distinguished groups of senior level environment ministry officials from South Asian countries, analysts and policy influencers, and representatives from key environmental organizations in the area. The meeting agreed on the need for action. The meeting, noting the experience of Europe decided to work on a draft declaration. The meeting approved the draft declaration in principle and decided to submit to the Seventh Governing Council of South Asia
Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for adoption.
The Malé Declaration: The Seventh meeting of the Governing Council of SACEP, held in April 1998 in Malé, the Republic of Maldives, adopted the declaration naming it the “Malé Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and its likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia ”.The Malé Declaration stated the need for countries to carry forward, or initiate, studies and programmes on air pollution in each country of South Asia. The first stage in this process is to document current knowledge and information/ institutional capacity in each nation relevant to air pollution issues. To this end it was agreed that baseline studies would be developed. Gaps in the current status of knowledge and capacity would become apparent and national action plans to fill these gaps could then be implemented, creating a solid scientific basis for the policy process. Implementation of the action plan will put in place expertise, equipment and information for quantitative monitoring, analysis and policy recommendations for eventual prevention of air pollution.