Skip to main content

40 years. Clean air.

40 years of successful cooperation for clean air

Scientific evidence, public concern, international conferences, backing from countries in the East and the West, and a lot of diplomatic maneuvering were the ingredients for the agreement that 32 countries signed in 1979 to reduce air pollution. Since its inception 40 years ago, the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution has developed into a successful regional framework for controlling and reducing the damage to human health and the environment caused by transboundary air pollution. 

The achievements until today are unparalleled: Air pollutant emissions and economic growth have been decoupled. Emissions of certain air pollutants have been reduced by 40 to 80 per cent. Forest soils and lakes have recovered from acidification. 600,000 premature deaths have been avoided annually. 

With its now 51 Parties, its 8 protocols setting emission reduction commitments for various pollutants, its solid science-policy interface, its effective compliance mechanism, its capacity-building programme, and its outreach beyond the UNECE region, the Convention is today more relevant than ever.

To celebrate 40 years of successful cooperation to reduce air pollution, a special event was organized as part of the thirty-ninth session of the Executive Body for the Convention (11-12 December 2019). At the event, participants looked back at the Convention’s achievements, highlighted recent development in the region, with particular focus on Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, talked about visions for future development, and discussed cooperation on clean air globally. They approved an Anniversary Declaration to renew their commitment for action on cleaner air in the region, in line with the Long-Term Strategy for the Convention for 2020-2030 and beyond.

Several people sent congratulatory messages on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Convention (click on photos to open videos):

Photos of the 40th anniversary event can be found here

Press articles:

40 years of cooperation and counting with UNECE Air Convention: Ministers and high-‎level representatives renew commitment to tackle air pollution

Global fight against air pollution is stronger than ever, 40 years after groundbreaking UN convention

Il Multilateralismo continua a essere il miglior modo di sconfiggere l’inquinamento atmosferico

UNECE Countries Renew Commitment to Clean Air for Better Environment and Human Health