Improving air quality and sustainable transport will be one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the world to meet by 2030, a top United Nations official said on Wednesday. He added that the new goals would be finalised at the next UN general assembly meeting in September 2015.
The SDGs having 169 targets under these goals will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ending next year and aims at put the world on a path of low carbon growth aimed at reducing global warming causing carbon emissions and creating new job in clean technology sector.
Rising air pollution has found attention of the global leaders with the World Health Organisation’s latest report saying that particulate matter pollution of 2.5 micrograms was rising in most of the 1,600 cities and the US based Health Effects Institute claiming that 7 million people died because of air pollution in 2010.
A large number of these deaths were estimated in the emerging economies like India and China because of rapid economic growth without adequate measures to check deteriorating air quality. In India, just a couple of 250 cities monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board has pollution level within the permissible limit and the last decade has witnessed a quantum jump in the pollution load.
“By September 2015, we will definitely have reducing air pollution and sustainable transport as a goal under SDG,” Nikhil Seth, who heads the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said in his keynote address at Better Air Quality conference in which delegates from major Asian countries participated.
About half of the world’s investments in clean technologies was happening in Asia with the developed world willing to invest for the low carbon pathways.
(The author’s visit to Colombo was sponsored by Clean Air Asia)