The 2022 International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies
07 September 2022
The Air We Share
On November 26, 2019, the Second Committee of the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 7 September as the “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies” (herein referred to as the Day).
2022 will be the third Day held. Its theme is “The Air We Share.”
The International Day of Clean Air for blue skies envisions bringing together all interested parties to enhance international cooperation to attain clean air. It serves as a platform to strengthen global solidarity and political momentum for action to improve air quality. The Day also aims to improve global knowledge on air pollution by increasing scientific evidence, improving data and providing tools that help governments, the private sector, and communities take decisions and actions to clean the air and protect health and livelihoods.
- To raise awareness of the sources of air pollution, its impact on human and planetary health and the solutions available to improve air quality.
- To demonstrate the close linkages of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges like climate change, ecosystem health, pollution (interlinkages with other forms as well) and economic development – sustainable urbanisation, transport, energy generation, agriculture etc.
- To reinforce the message that Air Quality solutions can benefit both national development and health priorities while also contributing to global climate, environment and development goals.
- To strengthen inclusive and multisectoral partnerships to gain momentum for concerted national, regional, and international approaches to reduce air pollution.
- To recognize that air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable marginalized communities, those with the least resources to protect themselves and specifically children and older persons and has negative impacts on ecosystems.
- To recognize that household air pollution disproportionately affects women and children.
By undertaking these objectives, the Day aims to:
- Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from air pollution by 2030, including potential new evidence linking air pollution to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.
- Strengthen regional and international cooperation to reduce transboundary air pollution through increased collaboration and funding, improved collection and utilisation of disaggregated data, cooperation on research and development, and the sharing of best practices.
- Increase the integration of climate and clean air policies at the local, national, regional and global levels as well as activities to multiply benefits, decrease costs, and improve planning and sustainability.
- Advocate for moving away from polluting sources of energy like fossil fuels and solid biomass fuels, and toward a zero-emissions future.
- Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management by 2030.
The Theme for 2022 is “The Air We Share”.
Air pollution knows no national borders and is all pervasive. The theme highlights this while reminding people that any damage to our atmosphere, or actions that contribute to exacerbating critical issues (as noted above), is a cross we all collectively bear. We need to be more mindful not only for ourselves, but for all humanity. No nation or people are exempt from its effects, and it is our collective responsibility to act now. The theme also has an equity lens and relates to our essential human rights whereby a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a fundamental rights of all. In addition to this, climate change is inextricably linked to air pollution, wherein one cannot be addressed or resolved without the other.
It complements the World Environment Day 2022 theme ‘Only One Earth’ to highlight that we have one shared atmosphere and the Stockholm +50 theme “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”. It focuses on the transboundary nature of air pollution-local, national, regional and global, emphasizing the need for collective accountability and action, for collective health and prosperity.
The theme takes into consideration the ease of translation, international audiences and the ability for all to instantly comprehend the message due to its clarity. The theme was developed in consultation with UNEP’s regional information officers, air quality project officers, and translators, to ensure regional relevance and cultural and linguistic adaptability. Like previous years, this year’s theme is also broad enough for a diverse array of partners to adapt to highlight their specific work on air pollution.
The hashtag will be #TheAirWeShare and #WorldCleanAirDay.
D. Soyolmaa, Communications and Advocacy officer, UN Resident Coordinator Office