05 Jun 2019 Press release Air

Nine governments join BreatheLife on World Environment Day, commit to action on air pollution

June 5, 2019 – The BreatheLife campaign is proud to announce that nine new governments have joined its ranks, making fresh commitments to demonstrate their dedication to bring air quality to safe levels by 2030 and collaborate on the clean air solutions that will help us get there faster. Bogota (Colombia), Lalitpur and Kathmandu (Nepal), Honduras, Bogor City (Indonesia), the Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montevideo (Uruguay) and Mexico bring the number of cities, regions and countries in the BreatheLife Newtwork to 63, representing 271.4 million citizens around the world.

Today’s announcement comes on World Environment Day, with this year’s theme – air pollution – drawing attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. With nine out of ten people worldwide are exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed World Health Organization-safe levels, the campaign welcomes the new governments and urges others to make commitments to improve their air quality.

In Nepal, the ancient city of Lalitpur plans to minimize road dust, increase reforestation and green spaces, invest in improving its public transport system, support air pollution monitoring, improve waste management systems and crack down on open burning— all as part of efforts to improve air quality for its 284,000 citizens. In Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and its largest city, the focus is on improving waste management practices, improving public transport systems and uptake, and greening urban spaces, among other measures.

For its part, the Republic of Moldova this year approved fuel quality standards for petrol and diesel that match those of the European Union, and has put a priority on adopting vehicle standards in 2019-2020. 

Bogor City in Indonesia, home to more than one million citizens, has a clean air action plan that covers all key emission sources, laying the foundation for multi-sector improvements in overall urban air quality, and complementing the city's existing low-carbon development efforts.

Honduras, which has had an air quality plan since 2007, is continuing to work with partners on strengthening air quality management, while also focused on updating vehicle emissions regulations and the deployment of improved cookstoves.

In the Colombian capital, Bogota, a city of over 8 million citizens, municipal institutions are working together under a collaborative framework that draws together the efforts of local, regional and national administration to improve air quality for better public health. Bogota joins the national government of Colombia along with the Aburra Valley region, Caldas state, and the cities of Barranquilla and Santiago de Cali in the BreatheLife Network.

Mexico aims to develop an integrated approach, coordinating actions among local authorities and collaborative international efforts to abate air pollution, reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, mitigate climate change and protect public health. The Mexican states on board the BreatheLife initiative are: Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila, Guanajuato and Yucatan. Several Mexican Municipalities - Celaya, Cuatro Ciénegas, Guanajuato, León, Matamoros, Puebla, Purísima del Rincón, San Francisco Gto., Querétaro, Tlaxcala and Toluca – have also joined the network.

Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, which also joined the BreatheLife campaign today, will raise awareness in the city on the challenges people in the city face due to air pollution, and will run a campaign to inform people on how the city’s two air quality monitoring stations function.

The Principality of Monaco is committed and fully engaged in action that would cut air pollution from heating sources, shipping and land transport, and waste, all part of bigger plans for energy and environmental transition in the country. These actions will contribute to meeting Monaco’s ambitious targets under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and to safeguard human health.

BreatheLife is a joint campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment, World Bank and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) launched in 2016 to mobilize cities and individuals to protect our health and planet from the effects of air pollution. The campaign combines public health and climate change expertise with guidance on implementing solutions to air pollution in support of global development goals. Cities, regions and countries are encouraged to join our growing network to share their success, find technical support for solutions and learn from each other.

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About the Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. Their global network currently includes over 120 state and non-state partners, and hundreds of local actors carrying out activities across economic sectors.

About the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is the UN’s leading agency building a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Working with 194 Member States, across six regions, and from more than 150 offices, WHO staff are united in a shared commitment to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere.

About World Environment Day:

World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe. For more information, visit www.worldenvironmentday.global

For media inquiries, please contact:

Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News and Media, UN Environment, rukikaire@un.org