European and Central Asian Actions on Air Quality

The report provides detailed information on emission trends and European actions on air quality during 2016-2020, in support of the second UNEP global summary report of policies and programmes to reduce air pollution. The pollutants in focus are sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, ammonia, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). 

Thanks to the continued strengthening of policies developed under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, EU policies and legislation, as well as national legislations, emissions of most monitored air pollutants have decreased. Since 2010, this trend has continued in Western, Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Emissions are however increasing in Central Asian countries. Looking at the entire European and Central Asian region covered in this report, there is one pollutant that stands out: ammonia. Ammonia emissions have in all sub-regions increased during 2010-2017, and there is no sign of decline.

The EU member states and Norway, UK and Switzerland, with the largest past emission reductions, are also those with well-developed air quality monitoring and assessment infrastructure. In addition, these countries report the largest portfolio of further actions to reduce emissions in a cost-effective manner, including investments in energy efficiency improvements as well as in clean technologies. Awareness and progress in efforts to improve air quality assessment infrastructures in Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as Central Asia are improving, and there are several examples of knowledge-sharing initiatives and capacity building efforts.

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