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VOL.15 NO.2 MAY-AUG 2014
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Extraordinary High-Level Meeting of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health, 20-21 August 2014, Bangkok
 
The High-level meeting on Environment and Health   

The Government of Thailand, together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Offices for South-East Asia (SEARO) and Western Pacific (WPRO), jointly organized the Extraordinary High-Level Officials Meeting of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health on 20 to 21 August 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Regional Forum on Environment and Health is an initiative aiming to effectively address environmental health and strengthen cooperation between Ministries in charge of environment and health in Southeast and Northeast Asia. The meeting was attended by high-level officials of health and environment agencies from 14 Southeast and East Asian member countries and other international partners of the Forum. The meeting revisited the Forum operations under the new Framework for Cooperation approved at the Third Ministerial Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2013, and discussed the work plan of the Regional Forum for 2014-2016. Mr. Marco Silvestri, Ms Adelaida Roman, Dr Ram Lal Verma and Ms Seng Ja Jangmaw of RRC.AP participated and supported the organization of the meeting.

 
High Level Sub-regional Consultation on Advancing Action on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) in Southeast and Northeast Asia, 19 August, Bangkok, Thailand
 
Participants of the high-level sub-regional consultation on SLCP   

The high-level representatives of the governments of Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and representatives of various international organizations, experts, practitioners and other stakeholders from across Northeast and Southeast Asia convened in Bangkok on 19 August 2014 to discuss concrete ways to advance action on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) in the region.

Air pollution and climate change pose a growing threat to sustainable development across Southeast and Northeast Asia. In recent years, research has shown that a set of available mitigation measures targeting some species of air pollutants offers a cost-effective solution to both air pollution and near-term climate change. These pollutants have since been called SLCPs, reflecting their relatively short atmospheric lifetimes and near-term climate impacts. SLCPs include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and many hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Asia stands to save more lives and money than any other region with the rapid and widespread implementation of SLCP mitigation measures.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) was launched in 2012 to catalyze rapid and widespread implementation of SLCP mitigation measures. In 2013, the CCAC supported a Regional Intergovernmental Consultation on Near–Term Climate Protection and Clean Air Benefits in Asia in Bangkok. That consultation concluded with a recommendation to organize a follow-up sub-regional meeting that would allow a more focused discussion on national planning for SLCPs and linkages with other priorities and sub-regional processes in the ASEAN/Mekong region and some other relevant countries.

In response, this High Level Sub-regional Consultation on Advancing Action on SLCPs in Southeast and Northeast Asia was convened by the CCAC, back to back with the Extraordinary High Level Officials Meeting of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian countries. The SLCP consultation was hosted by the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP) under the auspices of the CCAC. The Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RRCAP) in AIT coordinated the logistical arrangements for this high level consultation.

A key next step for countries in the region to make rapid progress on SLCPs action is to better integrate climate change, air quality and other key sectoral policies and engage the private sector, notably through:

  • conducting research on public health benefits from SLCP emissions mitigation in the transport sector to make the case for scaled-up measures;
  • adopting air quality standards for cook stoves, heat stoves and lighting in the residential sector, taking into account local contexts;
  • integrating waste management into climate change action at the national and local levels; and
  • focusing attention on measures to tackle SLCP emissions from residue burning and slash and burn practices, and methane emissions from irrigated rice paddies, livestock manure management and enteric fermentation in the agriculture sector.

The meeting also agreed that another important element going forward is for countries to work with regional frameworks and processes to incorporate SLCP actions, especially: the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian countries; the relevant ASEAN processes; the development and investment programs of the Asian Development Bank; the implementation of the Bangkok Declaration on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific; and other key regional initiatives.

 
Fifteenth Session of Senior Technical Managers' Meeting (STM15), 4-5 August, Hanoi, Vietnam
 

Ms.Suwimol Wattanawiroon, RRC.AP, giving the opening address

  

RRC.AP as the Secretariat for EANET gave the opening speech at the Fifteenth Session of Senior Technical Managers' Meeting (STM15) of EANET organized by the Network Center for EANET (NC) in cooperation with the Government of Vietnam on 4-5 August 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Secretariat emphasized the important consideration of PM and Ozone monitoring within the present scope of EANET to be included into the National Monitoring Plan so the QA/QC process and capacity building program could be supported by the NC.

 
Extraordinary Session of Intergovernmental Meeting of EANET, 1 August, Ayutthaya, Thailand
 

Extraordinary Session of Intergovernmental Meeting of EANET

  

The IG on the EANET held its Extraordinary Session (IG-Ex) in Ayutthaya, Thailand on 1 August 2014 organized by RRC.AP as the EANET Secretariat. The Session considered mainly on the proposed secretariat arrangement which is to be under the UNEP management and following UN rules and regulations. More specifically, the topics discussed included the issues on (i) Trust Fund arrangement; (ii) personnel arrangement; and (iii) administrative arrangement. The Session also tasked the Secretariat and the Network Center for EANET to update the existing guidelines on administrative and financial management for the Secretariat and the Network Center with the new arrangements once finalized.

 
EANET Capacity Building Seminar, 31 July, Ayutthaya, Thailand

 

EANET Capacity Building Seminar for senior officials

  

A one-day capacity building seminar for senior officials of the EANET participating countries with the theme "Clean Air Technologies and Integrated Approach for Air Quality Management" was organized by RRC.AP on 31 July 2014 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The topic was emphasized and endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC13) and the Fifteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting (IG15) to promote the ideas and information on the existing clean air technologies available at different sectors of major sources and their application in the region, i.e. North East Asian and other regions, i.e. Europe. The meeting documents and video presentations are available.

 
Asian Co-benefits Partnership (ACP) 5th Advisory Group Meeting, 24 July 4, Yokohama, Japan
 

Group photo of ACP adivisory meeting

  

The Asian Co-benefits Partnership (ACP) is an informal and interactive platform designed to improve information sharing and stakeholder dialogue on co-benefits in Asia. The ultimate goal of the ACP is the mainstreaming of co-benefits into sectoral development plans, policies and projects in Asia. The Asian Co-benefits Partnership (ACP) Advisory Group is convened annually. The Advisory Group meeting has several important objectives as a primal discussion opportunity to guide the ACP; to set and review strategic priorities for the ACP, review the ACP work plan prepared by the Secretariat, recommend the working method, and to provide advice to the Secretariat on the ACP and its activities.

On 24 July 2014, the Fifth Advisory Group meeting was held at Pacifico Yokohoma, Japan. About twenty members from government agencies, international organisations and research institutions joined this meeting and discussed the Work Plan 2014-2015, the extended contribution and collaboration; the modalities and the planning of 2nd ACP White Paper. The ACP Advisory Group then agreed to: 1) complete the revision of draft Work Plan 2014-2015 with their inputs; 2) initiate the proposed actions once the Plan was fixed; 3) keep close communication on forming concrete linkages between the ACP and CCAC; 4) initiate a process for developing the 2nd ACP White Paper and share draft discussion notes with Advisory Group members; and 5) maintain and further strengthen collaboration among the ACP Advisory Group as well as general member organisation. From RRCAP, Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana, co-chair of the ACP Advisory Group and Ms. Adelaida B. Roman, Advisory Group member participated in the meeting. Dr. Ram Lal Verma also attended the meeting as observer.

 
Joint Planning Meeting and ABC Science Team Meeting, 23 July, Tokyo, Japan

The Joint Planning Meeting and the ABC Science Team Meeting were held on 23 July 2014 and hosted by the University of Tokyo in Japan. The Joint Planning Meeting, involving ABC, CCAC, and S12 project, was attended by ABC Science Team members, CCAC Secretariat and partners, S12 research team, and UNEP. The objective of the meeting was to review the ABC activities in light of the ongoing activities of S12 and CCAC and to plan joint activities that can be implemented in near future. The meeting agreed that ABC and CCAC can complement each other by developing joint activities including joint assessment of the SLCPs for Asia and the Pacific region. The meeting discussed potential areas for collaboration and joint activities, which include capacity building at national level, regional assessment, national action planning, and cook stoves standardization.

Soon after the Joint Planning Meeting, the ABC Science Team Meeting was convened. It was a closed-door meeting attended by ABC Science Team members only. The meeting discussed on the issues related to observatories, standardization of BC measurements, new funding opportunities for ABC, and nomination of new members to the science team.

 
Second ABC-SLCP International Symposium, 21-22 July, Tokyo, Japan
 

Group photo of the participants

  

The Second International Symposium on the Atmospheric Brown Cloud and Short-lived Climate Pollutants (ABC-SLCP) was held in Tokyo, Japan during 21-22 July 2014. It was hosted by the University of Tokyo.

The ABC-SLCP Symposium was attended by about 30 experts including ABC scientists from Germany, India, China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Nepal and other countries. The UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Climate Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Secretariat, ICIMOD, IGES, and S12 research team were also represented. The objective of the symposium was to update on the ongoing activities of ABC programme including observations, modeling, emission inventory, and impact assessment. It was also aimed to share science-based knowledge of ABC with CCAC.

The opening addresses were given by Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Regional Director, UNEP-ROAP and Prof. V. Ramanathan, Chair, ABC International Science Team (via skype from USA). Mr. Zahedi in his address emphasized that the air pollution has emerged as an important issue at the global level to be addressed due to its detrimental impacts on health and environment. He also mentioned that the scientific research like ABC played an important role in bringing up the issue of air pollution at the international agenda.

In his remarks, Prof. Ramanathan, shared the historical achievements of the ABC programme in terms of scientific findings which revealed the impacts of aerosols on climate, agriculture, water resources, and human health and the successful transfer of information to policy makers for instigating mitigation measures. He also emphasized that to address air pollution, one must think globally, plan regionally, and implement locally. He cited as an example, the success of Project Surya which had improved the lifestyle in remote areas. Prof. T. Nakajima, Chair, ABC-Asia Science Team, also gave a welcoming address. Ms. Helena M. Valdés, Head of the CCAC, shared the status of coalition and prospects of CCAC to collaborate with ABC Programme.

The presentations during ABC-SLCP symposium were focused on observations, modeling and emissions, and health impacts of ABCs. The scientists presented their ongoing researches on ABCs including physical, chemical, optical properties and impacts of the ABCs on radiative forcing, cloud formation, and visibility. The modeling simulations of ABCs showed their trans-boundary nature causing a significant impact on regional climate, water resources, and human health. The findings of observation and modeling simulation of ABCs revealed a seriousness of the issues which need to be tackled to improve air quality and climate of the region.

 
Youth Public Awareness Workshop and site visit of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) 31 May, Hoa Binh, Vietnam
 

Youth Public Awareness Workshop

  

A Youth Public Awareness Workshop and a site-visit was organized by RRC.AP in collaboration with the Network Center for EANET and the Center of Environmental Research, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam on 31 May 2014 in Hoa Binh, Vietnam. Attended by 65 participants, majority youth, from local environment governmental officers, teachers and secondary and high school students, the workshop gave an opportunity to learn the basic science of acid deposition and its monitoring and laboratory activities, the nature of air pollution and its transboundary , and the state of acid deposition and air pollution in East Asia. There was a quiz competition organized to motivate participation and discussion among the group of students. The visit to the EANET acid deposition monitoring site in Hoa Binh also gave an opportunity for students to learn and have actual experience on the acid deposition monitoring.

 
National Public Awareness Workshop of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET), 30 May, Hanoi, Vietnam.
 

National Public Awareness Workshop of EANET

  

The National Public Awareness Workshop of the EANET was organized by RRC.AP as the Secretariat for EANET in collaboration with the Network Center and the Center of Environmental Research, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam on 30 May 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop was attended by 35 participants, mostly technical persons and scientists, from various governmental agencies and academia related to health, natural resource management and the environment field. The participants were given information about the EANET and its monitoring activities, and also on the state of acid deposition and air pollution in East Asia and other emerging related atmospheric pollution issues. The participants were also given the opportunity to discuss and share information among themselves and developed close communication and networking among different government offices for possible collaborations in the future.

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PUBLICATIONS
New EANET publications recently released
     

 

The EANET Secretariat in collaboration with the Network Center has recently completed three publications on the proceedings and summaries of the important EANET meetings as follows: (i) the Fifteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting (IG15) on the EANET; (ii) the Thirteenth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC13); and (iii) the Twelfth Session of the Working Group on Future Development (WGFD12) of the EANET. The publications were distributed to the participating countries and to the respective participants of each Session. The proceedings were also uploaded to the EANET website as priority documents accessible by EANET-authorized password holders.

 

UPDATES OF RRC.AP PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES
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EANET newsletter volume 13 Summary report of SAC12 summary report of IG14