Network Updates / New York City, United States of America / 2019-09-23

Seven new governments join BreatheLife as world leaders meet to examine climate ambition:

New subnational governments from Peru, France, Canada, Colombia, Spain and Indonesia join the BreatheLife campaign

New York City, United States of America
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The BreatheLife campaign is proud to welcome into its ranks seven new governments that have made fresh commitments to demonstrate their dedication to bringing air quality to safe levels by 2030 and collaborate on the clean air solutions that will help the world get there faster.

Peruvian capital Lima, French capital Paris, the Canadian city of Montreal, Colombia’s second-biggest city Medellín, the Spanish province of Pontevedra, and the Indonesian cities of Balikpapan and Jambi bring the number of cities, regions and countries in the BreatheLife Network to 70, representing hundreds of millions of citizens around the world.

This announcement comes as governments meet at the UN in New York at the Climate Action Summit to examine ways to ramp up action on climate change and fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement— among them, by committing to bring air quality to safe levels by 2030, by aligning air quality and climate change policy and measuring and reporting on the health gains and avoided losses from action and more.

The commitment also urges countries to report on progress, best practice and experiences through the BreatheLife platform.

Lima, which has also signed on to the health commitment, takes a multi-sectoral approach to air pollution and climate change, with measures that protect both people’s health and the functioning, liveability and attractiveness of the city, including building up its cycling and public transport networks.

Paris is gradually moving towards a city centre off-limits to combustion vehicles by 2030, to tackle its main source of air pollution, supported by empowering citizens with knowledge of the problem and the means to act for a clean air future.

In Canada, the city of Montreal has adopted a transportation plan that encourages cycling, walking and public transport use, is efficient and innovative in the management of waste, and applies urban planning and construction regulations that support the development of a compact, liveable city. It joins fellow Canadian city Vancouver in the BreatheLife network.

Colombia’s valley-bound second-largest city Medellín, population 2.5 million, is taking targeted action to improve its air quality under a comprehensive plan of action, taking the lead in the region on traffic emissions, its biggest source of health-harmful pollutants. Medellín joins the national government of Colombia along with the Aburra Valley region, Caldas state, and the cities of Barranquilla and Santiago de Cali in the BreatheLife Network.

The Spanish province of Pontevedra, whose main city of the same name has made headlines for pedestrianizing its city centre and other urban regeneration initiatives, joins the campaign with commitments to reducing air pollution (including climate pollutants) in key sectors, to improving air quality standards through institutional operations, and to collaborating with other administrations to create and approve local plans to promote air quality— all as part of efforts to fulfil the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

In Indonesia, the city of Jambi commits to revitalizing their public transportation system, improving waste management systems, creating more green and open spaces and implementing measures towards a greener, sustainable, inclusive and resilient city. In Balikpapan, the City Government is making efforts to reduce air pollution by increasing public transportation, improving municipal solid waste management, and promoting clean energy and environmental friendly agriculture.

The same activities that cause climate change also produce health harmful air pollutants that cause 7 million deaths each year and a trillion-dollar toll on human welfare and productivity.

Actions to reduce air pollution also have significant climate benefits. A recent report by UN Environment highlighted 25 air quality measures that, if taken, would have one billion people in the Asia Pacific breathing clean air by 2030 and would reduce warming by one-third of a degree Celsius by 2050 – a significant contribution to global climate efforts.

Banner photo by JPC24M/CC BY-SA 2.0