When the amendments to the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention) were adopted in 2012, flexibilities were introduced to facilitate ratification by new Parties. Ratification of the Gothenburg Protocol by as many UNECE countries as possible, specifically by those in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), is vital to achieve emission reductions for major air pollutants, such as Sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), as established in the protocol.
One of the priorities for the Convention in recent years has therefore been to encourage the ratification and to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and its protocols, targeting Parties from Eastern, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. With contributions from Parties, UNECE has engaged in capacity-building activities in order to enhance skills; increase understanding of the provisions of the protocols; share lessons learned; and transfer knowledge related to air pollution monitoring, national emission inventories and projections and abatement strategies.
6 months after the entry into force of amendments to the Gothenburg Protocol, representing an important step in international efforts to address the air pollution challenge, Convention Parties from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia met virtually on 27 May 2020 to discuss progress in the ratification and implementation process for said Protocol.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed action in some countries, others reported about positive developments regarding the introduction of the concept on Best Available Techniques, the adoption of amendments to Air Protection Laws and the setting of emission limit values – all important steps on the way to ratification and implementation of the Gothenburg Protocol.
Further discussions on the Gothenburg Protocol will be held during the fifty-eighth session of the Working Group on Strategies and Review (Geneva, 14-17 December 2020).