ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 25, 2013

Building Partnerships for Urban Air Quality Management in Asia

Cornie Huizenga, Head of Secretariat, Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities

June 23, 2006
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities has in cooperation with the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, and environmental agencies of participating cities, conducted a benchmarking study on urban air quality management of selected Asian cities.

Asia is experiencing rapid economic growth. China and now also India have growth rates between 5 and 10%. Urban air quality is under threat in Asia. Population growth, urbanization combined with a rapid growth in motorization and energy use will result in an increase of air pollution if no adequate control measures are taken. The economic impacts of air pollution on human health and the environment are large and growing and are estimated at 2-4% of GDP.

The study provides the most current and comprehensive assessment and comparison of the status and drivers of urban air pollution in 20 Asian cities and the Asian region, covering the effects on the environment, human health, agriculture and cultural heritage and the future implications for planning, transport and energy industries. National and local governments have begun to develop air quality management (AQM) strategies to address the deterioration in urban air quality, however the scope and effectiveness of such strategies varies widely. The study has qualitatively classified the capability of the cities to manage urban air quality into minimal, limited (I and II), moderate (I and II), good (I and II) and excellent (I and II) and identified challenges in Asian cities to effectively manage their air quality.

Ambient air quality concentrations in these cities have shown a declining trend over the past decade. Annual ambient concentrations of sulfur dioxide were found to meet the prescribed guidelines of the WHO for the cities included. However, particulate matter remains to exceed the WHO guidelines in these cities, while data on nitrogen oxides, ozone, and carbon monoxide widely varies across the different cities.

CAI-Asia was established in 2001 by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the US-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-AEP). CAI-Asia initiates, coordinates and in selected cases implements air quality management activities in Asia with the aim to improve urban air quality CAI-Asia is a multisector partnership with over 130 institutional members representing local and national governments, academe, private sector, civil society and development agencies. For a further description of the activities of CAI-Asia see CAI-Asia is also the main organizer of the Better Air Quality workshops which are now held every two years and which with over 1000 participants has become the main event on the air quality calendar in Asia. This year's conference will be held from 13-15 December, 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Speaker Biography

Cornie Huizenga currently heads the Secretariat of CAI-Asia, which in the five years since its establishment has become the most prominent regional initiative on air quality management in Asia.

Cornie Huizenga has a Master's in Human Geography of Developing countries from State University in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In the last seven years Cornie Huizenga has been involved in a range of air quality management programs including the ADB funded Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Sector Development Project. He coordinated the implementation of the Regional Technical Assistance: Action Plans for the Reduction of Vehicle Emissions, which resulted in a comprehensive set of Policy Guidelines on Reducing Vehicle Emissions in Asia and which, through its networking activities, prepared the grounds for the establishment of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia). He has authored and co-authored several publications on air quality management in Asia including the forthcoming Earthscan Publication "Urban Air Pollution in Asian Cities; Status, Challenges and Management. Cornie Huizenga is a frequent speaker and panel member on urban air quality issues in Asia.

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