Air pollution is among the most critical environmental health issues affecting everyone. It is a swiftly escalating global public health and environmental emergency that causes over seven million premature deaths every year, and $8.1 trillion in health damages alone.(1)The impacts of air pollution are deeply inequitable: More than 90% of pollution-related deaths, and the greatest burden of economic losses, occur in low- and middle-income countries.(2) Improving air quality requires robust air quality management (AQM). In the effort to support governments to bolster management of air pollution, local, national, and international organizations have developed an abundance of tools, training materials, and guidance. While these resources provide important help to end users, uptake is limited, and progress remains slow.
In partnership with Clean Air Fund and the United Nations Environment Programme, Global Health Visions (GHV) undertook a needs assessment to gather insights on the key barriers and challenges involved in the development and use of AQM guidance, to better understand deficiencies and gaps, and to identify what solutions are needed to enable better uptake and implementation.
The Strengthening Air Quality Management Guidance: Achieving Scale and Impact report reveals insights from the suppliers of guidance materials and users – including dozens of governments and agencies implementing AQM strategies. The assessment offers a unique understanding of how AQM guidance materials can be expanded and strengthened, and how delivery and uptake can be sharper.
The findings in this report demonstrate the pressing need for more holistic AQM guidance centered on the demands of practitioners, and particularly those in LMICs. Future guidance efforts should aim to strengthen capacity and knowledge and facilitate cross-learning to move practitioners toward stronger AQM policies and programs.
The report illustrates that refining how AQM guidance is developed and delivered provides a vital opportunity for optimizing the global response to air pollution.