The World Bank’s Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) program, together with China’s Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) at the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (BEPB), hosted a series of events called “PMEH Business Week” in Beijing, China to address the rising burden of air pollution. Materials presented during PMEH Business Week are available here.
About 90 percent of the population in low and middle income countries are exposed to dangerous levels of ambient air pollution, resulting in millions of premature deaths worldwide. Indeed, exposure to air pollution is now the fourth leading risk factor for death, just behind tobacco smoking.
PMEH Business Week featured a series of events that brought together Chinese and international pollution management professionals in their pursuit of a cleaner environment.
Four of the key events included:
PMEH International Training program (December 6–7, 2016)
MEP-FECO and BEPB, with support from the World Bank, hosted air quality management (AQM) officials from across the world in a training event where Chinese officials shared their technical experience with their counterparts from selected countries in South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. Some of the topics included:
- Ambient air quality and monitoring system in China;
- Solutions for effective public dissemination of AQM information; and
- Review of analyses of air pollution from different sources.
International Policy Workshop on Air Quality Management for the “Jingjinji” region (December 8–9, 2016)
This event featured presenters from Jingjingji Air Quality Coordination Office, China Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, and officials from Africa, South-East Asia, Europe and North America. Sessions included:
- Lessons on the application of permitting systems;
- Best-available control technologies;
- National AQM planning; and
- Regional AQM legislation and implementation.
Environment Cultural Event (December 8, 2016)
The China Environmental Cultural Protection Association (CECPA) presented an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play, “The Enemy of the People”. Ibsen’s play, penned over 130 years ago tackles the competing threats to health and economic interests surrounding pollution management policy. The adaptation re-told the story but through a modern lens that highlights that the cost-benefit equation underlying action on pollution has shifted since Ibsen’s day – there is much opportunity today to manage pollution with cost-effective, evidence-based interventions, based on transparent acknowledgment of environmental challenges.
PMEH Steering Committee (December 6–7, 2016)
The World Bank hosted the Steering Committee for its PMEH program. PMEH was launched in April 2015 as a multi-donor trust fund and it pursues three strategic objectives:
- Help countries to significantly reduce pollution and improve environmental health outcomes;
- Generate new knowledge and improve our understanding of pollution and its health impacts; and
- Promote increased awareness of environmental health and pollution issues.
There are currently seven countries participating in PMEH in projects to improve their country’s national AQM planning. These countries include China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and Vietnam. Further information on PMEH’s previous activities, including status of AQM planning in participating countries, can be found in the PMEH Annual Report for 2016.