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The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. UNECE's major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. To do so, it brings together 56 countries located in the European Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.
Since 1979 the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution has addressed some of the major environmental problems of the UNECE region through scientific collaboration and policy negotiation. The Convention has been extended by eight protocols that identify specific measures to be taken by Parties to cut their emissions of air pollutants.
The Working Group on Effects (WGE) was established under the Convention in 1980 and provides information on the degree and geographic extent of the impacts on human health and the environment of major air pollutants, such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, ozone and heavy metals. Its six International Cooperative Programmes (ICPs) and the Task Force on Health identify the most endangered areas, ecosystems and other receptors by considering damage to human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and materials. An important part of this work is long-term monitoring. The work is underpinned by scientific research on dose-response, critical loads and levels and damage evaluation.
The Working Group on Strategies and Review is the principal negotiating body for the Convention. It assists the Executive Body in policy-oriented matters. For their activities it works in close cooperation with the EMEP Steering Body and the Working Group on Effects. It also receives reports from a number of Expert Groups and Task Forces established by the Executive Body.
ICP Forests was launched in 1985 under the
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) due to the growing
public awareness of possible adverse effects of air pollution on
forests. ICP Forests monitors the forest condition in Europe, in
cooperation with the European Union using two different monitoring
intensity levels. The first grid (called Level I) is based on
around 6000 observation plots on a systematic transnational grid of
16 x 16 km throughout Europe. The intensive monitoring level
comprises around 500 Level II plots in selected forest ecosystems
in Europe. Currently 41 countries participate in the ICP Forests.
ICP Waters is a programme for monitoring of the effects of acid rain and air pollution on water and water courses. Twenty countries (18 European countries, USA and Canada) participate and supply monitoring data to the programme's central database at NIVA. The monitoring data provide a basis for documenting effects of long-range transboundary air pollutants.
The International Co-operative Programme on Effects on Materials, including Historic and Cultural Monuments (ICP Materials) started in 1985. It was initiated in order to provide a scientific basis for new protocols and regulations developed within the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. The aims are to perform a quantitative evaluation of the effects of multi-pollutants such as S and N compounds, O3 and particles as well as climate parameters on the atmospheric corrosion and soiling of important materials, including materials used in objects of cultural heritage; to describe and evaluate long-term corrosion and soiling trends attributable to atmospheric pollution in order to elucidate the environmental effects of pollutant reductions achieved under the Convention and in order to identify extraordinary environmental changes that result in unpredicted materials damage; to use the results for mapping areas with increased risk of corrosion and soiling, and for calculation of cost of damage caused by deterioration of materials.
The ICP Vegetation was established in 1987 under the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP).The ICP Vegetation is an international research programme investigating the impacts of air pollutants on crops and (semi-)natural vegetation and reports to the Working Group on Effects (WGE).
The multi-disciplinary Integrated Monitoring programme (ICP IM) is part of the effect-oriented activities under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), which covers the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It belongs to a group of six specialist International Cooperative Programmes (ICPs) which have been set up under the LRTAP Convention's Working Group on Effects to look at relevant receptors and environmental issues. The ICP IM sites are catchments/plots located in natural or semi-natural areas.
A programme Task Force led by Germany is responsible for the detailed planning and coordination of the Programme, in collaboration with the Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) at National Institue for Public Health and the Environment. CCE supports the programme by providing scientific and technical assistance for the Task Force and the Working Group on Effects. It also provides assistance to national focal centres (NFCs) in participating countries, helping them to develop methods and data for calculating and mapping critical loads, critical levels and exceedances as a basis for developing potential abatement strategies for sulphur, nitrogen and other relevant pollutants.
The Task Force brings together experts delegated by countries that are Parties to the Convention, and its work is based on estimates of air pollution concentrations, in particular those derived by the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), and on the results of hazard assessment performed by the WHO (e.g. in the scope of the revision of the WHO Air Quality Guidelines). Besides assessing the health significance of the pollution as an important input to designing pollution abatement strategies, the Task Force identifies the information required for improving assessments by providing advice to monitoring and modelling activities under the Convention.
The ÉCLAIRE project (Effects of Climate Change on Air Pollution and Response Strategies for European Ecosystems) is a four year project funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The project will be running for 4 years, from October 2011-2015 and involves 39 partner institutions across Europe.
Founded in 1972, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international research organization that conducts policy-oriented research into problems that are too large or too complex to be solved by a single country or academic discipline such as problems like climate change that have a global reach and can be resolved only by international cooperative action, or problems of common concern to many countries that need to be addressed at the national level, such as energy security, population aging, and sustainable development.
The European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) is a scientifically based and policy driven programme under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) for international co-operation to solve transboundary air pollution problems.
The Directorate-General for the Environment is one of the more than 40 Directorates-General and services that make up the European Commission. Commonly referred to as DG Environment, the objective of the Directorate-General is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations. To achieve this it proposes policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection in the European Union and that preserve the quality of life of EU citizens.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. Their task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA is a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. Currently, the EEA has 32 member countries.
last update 11-03-2013