The first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies is around the corner

This year's theme is Clean Air for All.

The first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies will take place on September 7, 2020. The day was created following a 2019 United Nations General Assembly resolution recognizing the need for increased awareness and international cooperation to reduce air pollution. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is responsible for facilitating the observance of this Day.

Air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health, causing 7 million premature deaths annually from diseases like stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. It is responsible for a substantial amount of disability for those living with these diseases. Many air pollutants are also powerful climate forcers, harming the health and well-being of those living today and making the world less safe for future generations.  

This Day aims to increase international cooperation at the global, regional and sub-regional levels. It provides a platform for strengthening global solidarity and to raise ambitions and political momentum for action against air pollution and climate change. This includes cooperation to increase the collection of air quality data, carry out joint research, develop new technologies and share best practices. It also aims to raise awareness of the many solutions available to beat air pollution and the multiple benefits from doing so.

The Republic of Korea led global efforts to create this new International Day of Clean Air for blue skies and will host an event to start celebrations around the world on 7 September.

Clean Air for All

The theme of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies 2020 is Clean Air for All. On this first Day we recognize that the air we breathe is shared by everyone and we all can do our part for clean air.

The air we breathe knows no borders and envelopes and sustains all living things. Yet our relationship with this most basic lifegiving substance has changed. 9 out of 10 people around the world breathe air that does not meet World Health Organization guidelines for clean air.

The message of this first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies is that air pollution doesn’t have to be a part of our collective future. We have the solutions and must take the necessary actions to improve air quality and provide #CleanAirForAll.

The Day calls on people, communities, businesses and local and national governments to make commitments and take steps that lead to a future without air pollution.  

This first commemoration takes place as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent in-person gatherings. Most of the Day’s events will be held virtually.

The official website for the day is www.cleanairblueskies.org. On it you can find more information on global events, read news and stories, access the day's logo and other materials that you can use to celeberate the day, learn more about air pollution, take a quiz, and find out what you and others can do to stop air pollution.  

The social media hashtags for the day are: #CleanAirForAll and #WorldCleanAirDay

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a key partner working to facilitate activities on the day.

Clear the Air

Clear the Air
Clear the Air

Official Events of the Day

There are many different events taking place on the day. Some of the offical ones are: 

7 September

Opening Ceremony, Seoul, Korea:  An opening ceremony to start the Day will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea and feature:

  • His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea
  • Mr. Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and current Chairman of Korea’s National Council on Climate and Air Quality
  • Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea
  • Mr. Cho Myung-rae, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea

There will be other invited special guests and a message from Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres.

Pre-Event: Celebrating the 1st International Day of Clean Air for blue skies 15:30 -17:15 (UTC+9)

  • Mr. Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and current Chairman of Korea’s National Council on Climate and Air Quality
  • Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea
  • Ms. Park Young-sun, Minister of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea * pre-recorded
  • Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP *pre-recorded

UNEP Global Event, 10 am (UTC+3) Nairobi, Kenya:  

UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen, will lead the United Nations launch of the Day. This will be followed by a panel discussion.

  • Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP
  • Tedros Adhanom, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Cho Myung-Rae Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea (TBC)
  • Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat,
  • Dr Maria Neira, Director, Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health Department. WHO
  • Ms. Wanjiku Manyara, General Manager, Petroleum Institute of East Africa

8 September

Regional Conversation on Air Pollution in Asia-Pacific 14:00-15:30 (UTC+7) Bangkok, Thailand

Moderator: Dechen Tsering, UNEP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific to introduce and facilitate feedback/response from panel

Discussants:

  • Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand
  • Mr. Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and current Chairman of Korea’s National Council on Climate and Air Quality
  • Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP
  • Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office, UN Environment Programme

Short interventions from member countries and regional organizations

Moderator: Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary, ESCAP

  • Ambassador of Sri Lanka, APFSD Chair
  • Resolution co-sponsors
  • ASEAN Representative
  • (ADB, etc)

The event will be livestreamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deBRq7_E8XA
Panelists will be able to take questions from the online audience

United Nations Headquarters Virtual Commemoration 09:00 – 10:30 (UTC-4) New York, USA

This event will be hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly, HE Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande with opening messages from UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, and HE Dr. Cho Myung-rae, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea

Moderator: Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office, UN Environment Programme

Discussants

  • H.E. Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, President of UNEA and Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway
  • Ms. Beatriz Cardenas, Air Quality Manager, WRI Mexico
  • Mr. Bryan Duncan, Research Physical Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
  • Ms. Agnes Soares da Silva, Advisor Environmental Epidemiology, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), World Health Ogranization (WHO)
  • Ms. Sonika Manandhar, Co-Founder & CTO of Aeloi Technologies and Young Champion of the Earth 2019

The event can be viewed live online here:  http://webtv.un.org/

For more information, interviews and details, contact:

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