The 2019 South & Southeast Asia - Air Improvements in the Region (SSEA-AIR) Annual Meeting was held in Taipei from 29 July to 2 August. The meeting was jointly organized by the Taiwan EPA and the USEPA, and more than 30 government officials and experts in the field shared their experiences in air pollution control. Participating countries and organizations included: Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN).
Through the help of the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership of the UN Environment Programme located in Bangkok, Thailand, a contingent from the USEPA visited Vietnam and Indonesia to gather information on the differences of air pollution control policies among various Asian countries. Moreover, the Taiwan EPA and the USEPA have also launched the new Air Quality Management (AQM) platform under the International Environmental Partnership to support the implementation of the SSEA-AIR. Most Southeast Asian countries have agreed that the three key parts of air pollution management are: the establishment of air quality policies and standards, the control of transportation emissions, and the development of environmental monitoring and data management technology. In addition, most officials have expressed that they are facing similar environmental challenges. Therefore, the AQM will also serve as an important communication and collaboration network for the training of government officials and technical experts, especially for developing countries that are in their early or middle stage of development.
Taiwan has seen significant results in air quality improvement in the past 25 years. Additionally, since every city adopts different control strategies based on local air quality and pollution characteristics, Taiwan has gained a considerable amount of unique experiences in air pollution control to share with other Asian countries.
The main purpose of the meeting was to exchange experiences in air quality management. The meeting focused on topics that most Southeast Asian countries showed interest in due to their similar environmental and developmental background, including funding for air pollution improvement, mobile source pollution control, and pollution prevention equipment for factories. The Taiwan EPA also arranged on-site tours for the guests to demonstrate Taiwan’s practice in roadside and random inspections for mobile sources and its achievements in air pollution reduction. After the meeting, the Taiwan EPA gave Vietnam 100 sets of air quality sensors to help establish environmental monitoring technology with lower costs.
The meeting laid the foundation for not only future cooperation with other Asian countries that will be mutually beneficial, but also the implementation of the SE Asian Quality Management Platform. By providing technical assistance and implementation experiences, the Taiwan EPA aims to achieve regional air quality improvement and promote local environmental education and green industry.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22 (8)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)