"Raising public awareness is a CAI-Asia priority and BAQ 2006 has brought together two dozen international and domestic journalists for a two day training workshop before covering the meeting."

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Yogyakarta, 14 December 2006: The First Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia today welcomed an initiative by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop a long term vision to improve air quality in Asian cities.

Such a vision can inspire Asian cities and countries to develop air quality management policies and programs, it was announced in the Governmental Meeting’s Yogyakarta Summary.

The Meeting aimed to support the efforts of Asian governments to achieve optimal air pollution abatement strategies. It also agreed to explore holding a Second Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia in 2008.

The Meeting, attended by representatives of 20 Asian countries, was a key event during the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 Workshop being held from December 13 to 15. The Meeting was organized by CAI-Asia, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) and UNEP.


The Yogyakarta Summary also recommended:

  • Reviewing ambient air quality standards and air pollution Indexes. Since Asian countries use different methodologies to classify air quality and to communicate results to the public, a comparison of air pollution indices in different countries could increase their effectiveness.
  • Developing roadmaps for fuel quality and vehicle emission standards for new vehicles. CAI-Asia has taken the initiative in developing a roadmap to improve fuel quality and tighten vehicle emission standards. This forms a basis for policymakers in Asia to reduce emissions from mobile sources. As a next step, countries are invited to formulate roadmaps for fuel quality improvement and to tighten new vehicle emission standards.
  • Addressing fuel quality for stationary sources. There is a need to address the quality of fuels used by stationary sources, which have received less attention than mobile sources. This could start with documenting existing fuel qualities and the impact of using cleaner fuels on emissions of stationary sources. The improvement of fuel quality for stationary sources will in most cases be part of a more comprehensive and integrated strategy to reduce emissions from stationary sources.
  • Strengthening, developing and implementing strategies to control emissions from in-use vehicles. This includes the regular inspection of in-use vehicles as well the regulation of the useful life of in-use vehicles and improved testing for imported used vehicles to ensure that they comply with emission regulations.
  • Strengthening environmentally sustainable transport policies and systems. To provide the required mobility for a more sustainable movement of goods and persons, it is important to encourage the use of mass public transport systems through supportive and enabling policy and investment frameworks.
  • Promoting the use of clean alternative and renewable energy. Fossil fuel is an important energy source which will be depleted sooner or later and is a major source of emissions. It is important to promote the development and use of alternative and renewable energy sources
  • Promoting Eco-housing. Asia’s rapid urbanization is producing a large demand for housing, so countries need to consider the energy and emission implications. Information is available on eco-buildings with alternative designs and energy systems that reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • Supporting principles of the Aichi Statement. The recommendations of participants of the First Meeting of the Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum organized by UNCRD in Nagoya in August 2005, outlined in the Aichi Statement, could help Asian cities and countries achieve environmentally and people friendly urban transport.

In addition, the Meeting acknowledged the need for intensified action to improve urban air quality in Asian cities. Participants noted that earlier efforts by local and national governments and other stakeholders to reduce urban air pollution have started to produce results. Ambient air quality in Asia, on average, is improving despite substantial increases in urban population, motorization and energy use. Notwithstanding the positive results of air quality management (AQM) efforts so far, it is accepted that additional and intensified efforts are required to bring air quality levels within the health-based national ambient air quality standards.

The Meeting also underlined the importance of effective and sustained approaches to improve urban air quality in Asian cities through:

  • AQM based on sound science. This calls for strengthening of AQ monitoring, particularly the Quality Assurance and Quality Control of monitoring and the regular composition of emission inventories and source apportionment studies. The absence of such inventories and studies is a key obstacle to improving air quality management in Asian cities
  • AQM efforts at urban, national, regional and global levels should be increasingly coordinated. These regional efforts would have a positive impact on regional air quality and could help shape urban air quality management
  • Effective policies and programs to address the underlying causes for urban air pollution. The promotion of sustainable urban transport, clean technologies and energy conservation programs could prevent significant amounts of emissions but need to be combined with actions to address sources of air pollution from mobile and stationary sources. The adoption of sustainable urban transport, clean technologies and energy conservation programs would be facilitated by the development and adoption of incentive programs
  • A co-benefits strategy combining and integrating urban air quality management and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Urban air pollution and climate change have many common causes and often require similar management and mitigation strategies. The adoption of a co-benefit strategy could produce more effective results
  • Local and national governments, civil society, academe and the business sector should join forces in implementing air pollution prevention and control measures.

"The Yogyakarta Summary is important not only for Indonesia but also for the region. Our government is very committed to achieving better air quality and we have developed innovative projects to support this such as cleaner and more efficient energy and environmentally sustainable transport systems such as Jakarta’s Bus Rapid Transport system, ¨ said Dana A. Kartaksuma, Assistant Minister for Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment.

"The Yogyakarta Summary takes us a firm step forward from monitoring air pollution towards the prevention of air pollution," said Mylvakanam Iyngararasan, program specialist, of UNEP.

"The Summary is a key outcome of the Meeting on air quality to stimulate and influence decision makers to bring in sound policies and programs for better air for us and future generations," said Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Environment Programme Coordinator for UNCRD.

"We are impressed by the depth and breadth of the Meeting’s support for improving air quality management in the region. This is an important step in developing a more comprehensive long term AQM strategy," said Cornie Huizenga, head of the BAQ Secretariat.

At an earlier briefing at the BAQ 2006 Workshop, a World Health Organization official said that under new pollutant guidelines, it is estimated that over 750,000 people worldwide die prematurely from air pollution, including 530,000 in Asian cities. A recent ADB and CAI-Asia study estimates the economic costs of urban air pollution ranges from 2% to 4% of Gross Domestic Product.

The Meeting was attended by representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam as well as officials from observer organizations including ADB, World Bank, UN-ESCAP, SEI and WHO.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at chuizenga@adb.org or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at iajgill@gmail.com

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Yogyakarta, 14 December 2006: Under recently issued World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guideline levels, the estimate of premature deaths caused by urban air pollution has been revised upwards to over 750,000 globally, including more than 530,000 in Asia, WHO expert Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski said at a media briefing here today.

Dr. Krzyzanowski, together with Bob O’Keefe and Sumi Mehta, of the Health Effects Institute, discussed the impact upon Asia of the WHO Guidelines that were released in October 2006. The Guidelines were developed after worldwide consultation with more than 80 leading scientists and are based on a review of thousands of recent studies from all regions, including recent studies of Asian populations.

As such, they present the most widely agreed-upon and up-to-date assessment of the health effects of air pollution. They also recommend targets for air quality which, if met, will significantly reduce health risks..

These targets call for dramatically lower levels of pollution than are observed in most Asian cities today. In many Asian cities, the average annual levels of PM10 (a main source of which is the combustion of fossil and other types of fuels) exceed 70 micrograms per cubic metre. The new Guidelines say that these levels should be lower than 20 micrograms per cubic metre. WHO believes that reducing levels of one particular type of pollutant (known as PM10) could lower the number of deaths in polluted cities by as much as 15% every year. The Guidelines also substantially lower the recommended limits of ozone and sulphur dioxide.

"The evidence reviewed by WHO confirms the severity of the impacts of pollution on health and calls for immediate action to cut people’s exposure to air pollutants in Asian cities," said Dr Krzyzanowski.

In addition to citing new estimates of mortality, Dr Krzyzanowski identified a series of recommended interventions and other strategies aimed at reducing levels of urban air pollution in Asia. These include reducing emissions from transport, industrial and residential combustion sources. He also gave examples documenting the beneficial impacts on health of reducing pollution.

WHO stressed its commitment to assist Asian nations’ mitigation efforts by developing strengthened capacity in environmental health risk assessment and a commitment to work with partners at the national level to evaluate their current standards in relation to the new guidelines.

Dr Krzyzanowski credited the Public Health and Air Pollution in Asia (PAPA) program, an initiative of the Health Effects Institute, with publishing a new resource for policy makers, the first ever compendium of over 270 Asian studies of the effects of air pollution, and with fostering the development and communication of new Asian science studies to inform WHO and Asian decision-makers at local and regional levels.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at chuizenga@adb.org or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at iajgill@gmail.com

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By the BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 13 December 2006. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) will become a stand-alone institution in early 2007.

Within six years, CAI-Asia has evolved from a project to a program to an institution dedicated to improving air quality management in Asia. CAI-Asia will consist of two elements, a CAI-Asia Partnership and a CAI-Asia Centre. The Partnership will be a non-legal entity that will be a forum for urban air quality management and focal point for country and regional networks. Its formation enables Governments to join CAI Asia informally as it is complicated for Governments to join a legal entity. The other part of CAI-Asia will be a Centre, a legal entity that can enter into contracts and grant agreements, will include a Secretariat, and will coordinate and implement CAI-Asia activities.

CAI-Asia’s new status reflects its rapid growth from a series of technical workshops into an organization with 137 members that include countries, cities and companies. Its biennial conference, Better Air Quality (BAQ), is now the major forum in Asia for stakeholders working to improve air quality. The current conference in Yogyakarta has drawn over 900 participants, a big increase over 700 in 2004.

The main task of the revamped CIA-Asia, which will be registered in the Philippines, will continue to promote increasingly sophisticated air quality monitoring and control programmes. As CAI-Asia Chairman Kong Ha notes, "Many Asian cities still lack the capacity and technology to adequately monitor and control all sources of air pollution."

CAI-Asia has been supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and the US Environment Protection Agency. "We launched this initiative in 2001 because health standards were lacking in Asia’s mega cities and city dwellers were paying a heavy price for pollution in terms of lost livelihoods and income, health and medical expenses," says Bindu Lohani, Director General and Chief Compliance Officer of ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department.

The multi-sectoral CAI-Asia Partnership will be governed by a 15-member council. Its goals will include building awareness to strengthen urban AQM; overseeing the adoption of AQM policies, emission and air quality standards; developing the capacity to manage urban air quality in Asia and; promoting the financial sustainability of urban AQM.

"Cities will be the backbone of the CAI-Asia Partnership and national and state-level agencies, NGOs, institutions, private companies and international development agencies will be other important members," says Cornie Huizenga, Head of the BAQ Secretariat.

CAI-Asia has seven country networks and Mr. Ha says setting up the China Project Office with the State Environment Protection Administration in 2005 was one of the Initiative’s most notable successes.

The BAQ conferences have also evolved in character. Earlier meetings focused on the technical and micro aspects of air quality, especially relating to vehicular pollution. The BAQ 2006 gathering is looking more at macro aspects and links between air quality and other environmental concerns, such as climate change. The discussions go beyond vehicular pollution to include stationary sources and ships.

This year, for the first time, BAQ includes an inter-governmental meeting that reflects "the growing commitment of governments towards air quality management," says Mr. Huizenga.

CAI-Asia has heightened the debate on air quality in a region that used to view environmental issues as being anti-economic growth. It has helped show that high growth and high pollution levels do not have to go together. As a result, "People have begun to make air pollution control their collective business across Asia," says Jitendra Shah, the World Bank’s regional air quality expert.

Raising public awareness is a CAI-Asia priority and BAQ 2006 has brought together two dozen international and domestic journalists for a two day training workshop before covering the meeting.

Policy makers need to know that CAI-Asia relies on sound science for its data and CAI-Asia also builds links with academics, research institutions and industry.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at chuizenga@adb.org or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at iajgill@gmail.com

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By BAQ Media Team

YOGYAKARTA, December 13, 2006: The World Health Organization (WHO) today urged Asian governments to intensify efforts to bring air pollution in line with WHO’s recently-issued Air Quality Guidelines that significantly reduce pollutant levels.

This was the message of keynote speaker, WHO regional adviser Michal Krzyzanowski at the opening of the 5th Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 workshop here today. The workshop, attended by decision makers in air quality management (AQM) and climate change from about 35 countries, is being held from December 13 to 15.

Mr. Krzyzanowski, head of air quality and health at WHO’s European Centre for Environment and Health, addressed 900 participants at the largest regional event on urban air quality management in Asia in 2006.

"This timely call for a tightening of standards comes as levels of particulate matter are decreasing slightly but are still above WHO guidelines," notes Cornie Huizenga, head of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia).

WHO believes that lowering levels of the fine particulate known as PM10 could bring down the level of pollution-related deaths in cities by 15% a year.

Vehicular emissions are an important source of particulate and Asia is in the midst of a rapid rise in motorization.

"The challenge of reducing fine particulate pollution from vehicles is particularly acute in Asia, where the population is growing rapidly, with consequent implications for urbanization and motorization," said Mr. Huizenga.

WHO’s new Guidelines also reduce the recommended levels of ozone and sulphur dioxide.

The challenges facing air quality management in Asia are outlined in a summary of urban air quality management reports prepared for BAQ 2006. They include:

  • A need to reduce ambient concentrations of particulate matter
  • Political leadership and institutional capacity for all aspects of AQM at various levels
  • Strengthening monitoring, modeling, and emission inventories
  • Improved understanding of effects of air pollution on health and vegetation
  • Controlling regional air pollution such as ozone, fine particulates and acid rain
  • Strengthening air quality policy and improving implementation of management initiatives
  • Developing sustainable urban transport as a tool to reduce emissions from mobile sources
  • Integrating climate change mitigation and urban AQM.

The 5th BAQ workshop includes the milestone First Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia. The outcome of this meeting of senior government officials will be the Yogyakarta Statement, which is expected to outline the priorities of air quality management in Asia over the next few years.

BAQ 2006 also provides a chance for the growing AQM community to share experiences and discuss novel pilot projects. As Indonesia’s Minister of Environment Rachmat Witoelar says, "BAQ is an opportunity to share our efforts and also to learn from the experiences of our Asian neighbors as well as those outside Asia."

The overall theme of BAQ 2006 is "A Celebration of Efforts" to highlight the success stories of Asian countries, cities and communities in addressing air pollution.

The event is being organized by the Ministry of Environment of Indonesia, the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the City of Yogyakarta, and the CAI-Asia.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at chuizenga@adb.org or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at iajgill@gmail.com

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By BAQ media team

Yogyakarta, December 12, 2006: Air quality has improved in some Asian cities, but pollution remains a threat to health and quality of life in others, says a major new air quality report launched today. One particular challenge is that while vehicle emissions are being reduced, the volume of vehicles is rising rapidly.

The book, Urban Air Pollution in Asia Cities, is being released on the eve of the first governmental meeting on urban air quality to be held from December 13 to 14 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as part of the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 workshop.

One of the main threats to health and life is fine particulate matter – known at PM10 and PM2.5 – "that enters our lungs and stays there for some time," the report’s lead author, Dr. Dieter Schwela, told a media training workshop that is being held as part of BAQ 2006.

"There is a strong association between fine particulate matter and health issues in Asia as there is in Europe and the US, but in Asia the concentrations of particulates are much higher," he said.

The report studied 22 Asian cities and one of its key findings is that the concentration of the fine particulate matter PM10 is "serious" in Beijing, Dhaka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kolkata, New Delhi, and Shanghai.

But the report also finds that Shanghai – along with Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo -- has an "excellent" capacity to manage air quality. Beijing, Busan and New Delhi are rated as having "good" air quality management capability. All these cities have achieved major reductions in key emissions, the report notes, but still need to address fine particulate pollution from vehicle fumes.

Asia’s growth in population, urbanization, motorization and energy consumption remain key challenges to efforts to counter air pollution. For example, lower emissions from vehicles are counter-balanced by a higher volume of vehicles.

The book is the result of an international collaborative effort led by the Stockholm Environment Institute’s centre at the University of York, United Kingdom, and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia), together with the Korea Environment Institute and the United Nations Environment Programme.

One of the co-authors, Cornie Huizenga, head of the CAI-Asia Secretariat, says the report is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date and that "benchmarking air quality management capabilities allows us to focus more clearly on AQM priorities and enables CAI-Asia to target assistance more effectively."

The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 people globally – including 600,000 in Asia – die prematurely each year due to air pollution. The urban pollution report finds that, while the ability to manage air quality has generally improved since the 1990s, air quality in most of the cities examined still exceeds international guidelines for the protection of human health for certain pollutants.

The report finds that concentrations of sulphur dioxide, the gas responsible for acid rain, have stabilized at a relatively low level and rarely exceed health guidelines. However, the use of high sulphur fuel content in some countries has resulted in an increase in emissions.

Emissions of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter, mainly from the transport sector, are of concern in all cities experiencing rapid motorization. In addition, tropospheric ozone, a main constituent of petrochemical smog, will increase if motor vehicle use continues to rise.

On air quality management, the report identifies Colombo, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Manila and Mumbai as having "moderate" capability. The report says these cities have reduced sulphur dioxide emissions but have the challenge of addressing transport-related emissions.

Dhaka, Hanoi, Surabaya and Kathmandu have "limited" capability to manage air quality and air pollution data is limited for key pollutants, says the report. These cities need to improve air quality monitoring as well as achieve further reductions in emissions.

Dr. Schwela says many Asian cities can learn from Hong Kong and Tokyo, which are further along the road to achieving better air quality.

The difficulties the authors faced in collecting data reflect the challenges of air quality management in Asia. For while many major cities in Asia have some form of air quality management system, "sophistication and completeness is not always adequate," says the report.

Effective air quality management depends on a number of programmes, some of which have been only partially implemented in Asia:

  • air quality monitoring networks
  • emission inventories
  • health and environment impact assessments.

The study also notes that, although air quality is becoming increasingly more documented, "differences in methodology, site selection, frequency and reliability of air monitoring and air quality standards make comparative assessments of air quality between cities difficult."

The study recommends further actions to improve air quality in Asia’s cities. These include:

  • taking a more strategic approach to managing air quality
  • adopting more stringent vehicle emission standards
  • using cleaner fuels for motor vehicles, industry and power plants
  • better inspection and sourcing of emissions
  • stricter enforcement of legislation and more stringent standards for air quality
  • harmonization of air quality standards across Asia
  • development of more reliable inventories of air pollution emissions
  • regional approach to address transboundary air pollution and global climate change.

The authors of the report are Dr. Dieter Schwela, Gary Haq, Cornie Huizenga, Bert Fabian, May Ajero, and Wha-jin Han.

The Stockholm Environment Institute (www.sei.se) is an independent research body based in Stockholm. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia) is a multi-stakeholder network of institutions and individuals committed to improving air quality management in Asia.

The report is funded by the Swedish International Development Corporation, the Korean Ministry of Environment and the Asian Development Bank.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at chuizenga@adb or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at iajgill@gmail.com

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Manila/Colombo | September 21, 2006: A major new initiative was announced today for engaging the Asian media professionals to cover the region’s quest for cleaner air.

Two dozen journalists from across developing Asia will be granted media scholarships to attend Better Air Quality 2006 (BAQ 2006, www.baq2006.org) to be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from 13 to 15 December 2006. They will also benefit from skills training on clean air issues on 11 to 12 December 2006 at the same city.

BAQ 2006 will be the year’s largest regional gathering of industry, research, government and civil society representatives committed to cleaner air in the world’s largest region, the Asia Pacific.

The media scholarship programme is a joint effort by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia, www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia) and TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP, www.tveap.org) – two regional organisations committed to promoting better media coverage of clean air issues.

"BAQ 2006 is a great opportunity for the national, regional and global media to understand important air pollution issues experienced by Asian cities and meet the people from each country who are the sources of information on these issues," said Cornie Huizenga, Head of Secretariat of CAI-Asia.

"Polluted air has been a concern of the Asian media for years," says Nalaka Gunawardene, Director and Chief Executive Officer of TVE Asia Pacific. "But some efforts for cleaning up the air seem to be happening below the media’s radar. We hope our scholarship winners will highlight these and also focus on remaining challenges."

CAI-Asia and TVEAP will select up to 25 journalists from developing Asia (list of eligible countries given at the end) on an open, competitive basis. These journalists are to be drawn from print, broadcast and online media. As part of the scholarship, each journalist is expected to produce at least three (3) items (newspaper articles, radio/TV items, or online articles) using information and material gathered during BAQ 2006.

Spending a working week in Yogyakarta, they will first attend a 2-day training workshop (December 11 – 12) on ‘Covering Asia’s quest for Cleaner Air: Where are the stories?’ that will be organized by TVE Asia Pacific. This will involve a mix of presentations by air quality experts and media specialists, discussion sessions, and viewing ‘best practice’ media products from around the world.
Journalists will then be able to attend BAQ 2006 events of their choice during December 13 - 15, conducting their own investigations and interviews. The media specialists will remain available for on-site advice and support. Television journalists will be provided the free, shared services of a professional camera crew and basic non-linear editing facilities.

CAI-Asia and TVEAP expect that these inputs will result in a higher level of coverage – both in terms of quantity and quality – on clean air related issues and concerns that will be highlighted at BAQ 2006.

Applications will be accepted from mid-career journalists until 16 October 2006, and selections are to be announced by mid November 2006. For eligibility and selection criteria, as well as application form and other requirements, please visit the CAI-Asia, BAQ 2006 (www.baq2006.org) and TVEAP websites.

* * * * *

The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia, www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia) is a multi-stakeholder network of institutions and individuals committed to improving air quality management (AQM) in Asia. It was launched in February 2001 to address the growing problem of air pollution that threatens public health, productivity, and overall quality of life in the region. ADB is a founding member of the initiative and, along with the World Bank, jointly hosts the CAI-Asia Secretariat. Its mission is to promote and demonstrate innovative ways to improve the air quality of Asian cities by sharing experiences and building partnerships.

TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP, www.tveap.org) is a regional not-for-profit organisation that uses television, video and Internet to raise awareness on sustainable development and social justice issues. Established in 1996, and governed by an international Board of Directors, TVEAP operates as an editorially independent, journalistic organisation. Working with experts and media professionals from across the region, TVEAP: produces and distributes TV programmes; trains TV professionals; consults on communications strategies; and networks with governments, civil society and educational institutions.

Note:
Media scholarships are available to full time journalist and regular freelancers engaged in the print, radio, television or online media in any of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam.

For further information/clarifications on this press release, contact:
Glynda Bathan, Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities Secretariat
Phone: + 63 2 632 5151; Fax: + 63 2 636 2381; Email: gbathan@adb.org
Nalaka Gunawardene, TVE Asia Pacific
Phone: + 94 11 4412 195; Fax: + 94 11 4403 443; Email: baq2006@tveap.org

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Yogyakarta | June 16, 2006 - The BAQ 2006 Organizing Committee, represented by the City of Yogyakarta, the Yogyakarta Province, the State Ministry of Environment, Indonesia and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) in a recent meeting reconfirmed their commitment to host the largest regional meeting on urban air quality in Asia in Yogyakarta. The BAQ 2006 Organizing Committee met on 12-13 June in Yogyakarta to discuss the implications of the recent earthquake that hit Yogyakarta and the Central Java Province. The workshop which was originally scheduled for 13-15 September will now take place on 13-15 December 2006.

The decision to retain Yogyakarta as the BAQ 2006 host city, but to move the workshop dates to December came after a review of the hotel infrastructure, discussions with the Yogyakarta Hotel Association, and an assessment of other logistical issues. The Sheraton Mustika was damaged, so the workshop will now be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The City and Province of Yogyakarta welcomed the decision of the BAQ 2006 Organizing Committee and expressed that the BAQ 2006 workshop will be an important contribution to the local economy and the efforts of the local governments to restore confidence among the international community in Yogyakarta as an attractive and important tourism destination in Indonesia and Asia. Over 1,000 participants from more than 40 countries are expected at the BAQ 2006 workshop.

The BAQ 2006 Organizing Committee also warmly welcomed and endorsed the proposal of CAI-Asia and the State Ministry of Environment to launch a fund raising project to contribute to reconstruction efforts as part of the YOGYA BANGKIT (YOGYA REVIVAL) campaign which was launched by the City and Province of Yogyakarta. CAI-Asia and the State Ministry of Environment pledged to raise funds from BAQ 2006 participants, BAQ 2006 supporting organizations, and sponsors to support reconstruction activities in Bantul District and Yogyakarta City. The proceeds of the program will be used to contribute towards restoring communal water and sanitation facilities in Bantul and restoring damaged heritage sites in Yogyakarta city. Details about this program will be announced soon.

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20 March 2006 | Nagoya and Tokyo: The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) have agreed to host the Second Regional EST Forum as part of the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 week on 11-12 December 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The Regional EST Forum is a joint initiative of UNCRD and the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, which provides a strategic/ knowledge platform for sharing experiences and disseminating among Asian countries best practices, policy instruments, tools, technologies, in relation to various aspects of EST. The Regional EST Forum is comprised of (1) high-level government representatives (both from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Transport) and (2) a subsidiary expert group of internationally renowned experts in various thematic areas related to EST. Participating countries include the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Mongolia, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Japan. The experts of the Forum provide strategic guidance to the participating countries in the relevant EST areas, including the formulation of national EST strategies. The first Regional EST Forum was conducted in Aichi, Japan in August 2005 and resulted in the Aichi Statement.

BAQ 2006 with over 1000 participants will be the largest meeting on urban air quality in Asia in 2006. BAQ 2006 is co-organized by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Indonesia, the city of Yogyakarta and the Province of Yogyakarta. The central theme of BAQ 2006 is "A Celebration of Efforts" to pay tribute to what has been achieved in air quality management while highlighting the efforts that are still required. Mr. Kong Ha, the chairperson of CAI-Asia commented: "the decision of UNCRD to host the Second Regional Environmental Sustainable Transport Forum will help CAI-Asia to involve decision makers in Asia in a more effective manner in designing strategies to reduce air pollution from the transport sector."

Hosting the second EST forum in Indonesia with active involvement of the government of Indonesia will be an important step in formulating an effective strategy for the implementation of the Aichi Statement adopted at the first EST Forum meeting in Aichi, Japan in 2005. Indonesia, like other countries in South East Asia is facing a rapid motorization which has resulted in growing problems related to air pollution, congestion and poor road safety.

The second EST forum will discuss policies and initiatives to promote sustainable transport in Asia and it will further steps to facilitate the full implementation of the objectives in the Aichi Statement. Mr. Kazunobu Onogawa, Director UNCRD motivated the decision to work with CAI-Asia in the organization of the EST forum by saying: "the synergy between the objectives and the activities of CAI-Asia and those of the EST forum is a natural fit which will improve the effectiveness of the activities of both organizations."

For more information see EST Forum.


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25 Nov 2005 | JAKARTA: Rachmat Witoelar, Honorable State Minister of the Ministry of Environment; Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Governor of the Yogyakarta Special Region represented by Paku Alam IX, Vice Governor of Yogyakarta; Herry Zudianto, Mayor of Yogyakarta City; and Cornie Huizenga, Head of the Secretariat of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) signed a memorandum of understanding today, 25 November 2005, at the Bida Kara Convention Center in Jakarta launching the Better Air Quality 2006 workshop. The parties agreed to jointly organize the Better Air Quality 2006 workshop in Yogyakarta in 13-15 September 2006.

With over 800 participants BAQ 2006 workshop is expected to be the biggest regional event on air quality management in Asia in 2006. BAQ 2006 will bring together air quality policymakers, experts, and scientists from Asia and the rest of the world to explore new ways to prevent and reduce air pollution in their respective cities and countries. The workshop will focus on urban air pollution from mobile, stationary and area sources but will also discuss how transboundary air pollution affects air quality in the cities of Asia. BAQ 2006 will assess how climate change mitigation measures and urban air quality can be combined to increase the effectiveness of both approaches.

The importance of local efforts by cities and communities to prevent or control air pollution will be showcased in a "Best Practices in Air Quality Management" Exhibition, which will showcase success stories in air quality management in Asia.

Planning is also ongoing for the organization of the first Asian Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia. This governmental meeting, which is scheduled to be conducted in conjunction with BAQ 2006, will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Environment, the United Nations Environment Program and CAI-Asia.

BAQ 2006 is a good opportunity for the Government of Indonesia, its provinces, and cities to disseminate information about its efforts to improve air quality and to share its successes in promoting sustainable urban transport through projects such as the Transjakarta busway in Jakarta. Many other cities in Jakarta are implementing air quality management projects. Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and several other cities are actively involved in a project of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which assists these cities in formulating a Strategy and Action Plan and an Investment Plan for improved air quality management.

Further information on BAQ 2006 can be found on the BAQ 2006 website, www.baq2006.org, which was also launched today.

For further information on BAQ 2006, please contact:

MoE: Ridwan Tamin, Assistant Deputy For Vehicle Emission Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Government of Indonesia, Tel. No. 62 21 85911207, Fax No. 62-21-85911207, Email: ridwan@menlh.go.id, lindakrisnawati@yahoo.com

Yogyakarta Province: Dr. Sudarmadji, sudarmadji@bapedalda-diy.go.id

Yogyakarta City: Mr. Peter Laowasal, joshua_baq@yahoo.com

CAI-Asia: Cornie Huizenga, Head of CAI-Asia Secretariat, Tel. No.: 63 2 6325047, Fax No.: 63 2 636 2381, Email: chuizenga@adb.org

For further information on the ADB funded project on Urban Air Quality Improvement, please contact:

ADB: Yue-Lang Feng, Principal Environment Specialist, Finance and Infrastructure Division, Southeast Asia Regional Department, Tel. No. 632 632 5769, Fax No. 632 636 2444, Email: fengyuelang@adb.org

See also: