Health aspects of long-range transboundary air pollution

The Joint Task Force on the Health Aspects of Air Pollution was established in 1998 within the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution to assess the health effects of such pollution and to provide supporting documentation. Members include experts designated by countries that are parties to the Convention.

The Task Force works to quantify how long-range transboundary air pollution affects human health, and helps define priorities to guide future monitoring and abatement strategies. It also advises on monitoring and modelling activities to improve the quality of assessments.

The activities of the Task Force are based on estimates of air pollution concentrations (particularly those derived by the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe), and on the results of hazard assessment carried out by WHO (for example, as part of revising its air quality guidelines).

The recent 20th meeting of the Task Force on Health recognizes the sustainability of this intersectoral and multi-stakeholder process. By mobilizing the health sector and environment sector to working together with UNECE, Member State representatives, the European Commission, civil society and academia, the issue of air pollution has been effectively tackled.

National focal points on air quality and health and invited experts to the Task Force meet to discuss and develop advice for the Convention related to:

  • national and international policies and processes on air quality and health;
  • review of the progress in research on health impacts of air pollution;
  • experiences in using WHO AirQ+ software to quantify the health impacts of air pollution;
  • communication and public health messages for air pollution;
  • current activities and workplan of the Task Force.

The meetings of the Task Force on Health are supported by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.