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Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

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Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

 

SUMMARY OF:

Decision 81/462/EEC concluding the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution

Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DECISION?

  • It concludes on behalf of the European Union (EU) and EU countries the Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.
  • Under this convention, the parties (i.e. the EU countries which ratified the Convention) commit themselves to working together to limit, to gradually prevent and to reduce their discharges of air pollutants in order to combat the resulting transboundary pollution.

KEY POINTS

Long-range transboundary air pollution is defined as the release, directly or indirectly due to human activity, of substances into the air which have adverse effects on human health or the environment in another country, and for which the contribution of individual emission sources or groups of sources cannot be distinguished.

In total, 8 separate protocols have been developed under this convention:

Policy cooperation

The convention requires its contracting parties to develop and implement appropriate policies and strategies, particularly systems of air quality management.

The contracting parties agree to meet regularly (at least annually) to assess progress made and liaise on matters relating to the convention.

Scientific cooperation

The parties agree to carry out concerted research and development efforts, particularly to reduce emissions of major air pollutants, for monitoring and measuring emission rates and concentrations of these pollutants, as well as to gain an understanding of the effects of these pollutants on health and the environment.

Exchange of information

The parties agree to exchange information, in particular on data regarding:

  • the emission of major air pollutants (starting with sulphur dioxide) and their effects;
  • aspects likely to cause significant changes in long-range transboundary air pollution (particularly in national policies and industrial development);
  • control technologies for reducing air pollution; and
  • national policies and strategies to combat the major air pollutants.

Cooperation on monitoring of pollution

  • The parties agree to participate in the cooperative programme for monitoring and evaluation of long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP). This programme, whose activities are financed under a separate protocol (the EMEP Protocol), aims to provide parties to the convention with:
    • scientific information regarding monitoring of the atmosphere, computer-based models;
    • the assessment of emissions; and
    • the development of projections.
  • In order for this cooperation to succeed, the Convention allows for:
    • the programme, initially focused on monitoring sulphur dioxide and related substances, to be extended to other major air pollutants;
    • the monitoring of the composition of media susceptible to contamination by these pollutants (water, soil and vegetation), as well as the effects on health and the environment;
    • the generation of meteorological and other scientific data relating to processes during transmission;
    • the use, whenever possible, of comparable or standardised monitoring and modelling methods;
    • the integration of EMEP into relevant national and international programmes;
    • the regular exchange of data obtained by monitoring.

FROM WHEN DO THE DECISION AND THE CONVENTION APPLY?

The decision has applied since 11 June 1981.

The Convention entered into force on 16 March 1983, 90 days after the date of deposit of the 24th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

BACKGROUND

  • The Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution establishes a system allowing governments to work together with the aim of protecting health and the environment from air pollution that is liable to affect several countries. The convention was signed in 1979 at Geneva, within the framework of the Economic Commission of the United Nations for Europe (UNECE), and entered into force in 1983.
  • For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Council Decision 81/462/EEC of 11 June 1981 on the conclusion of the Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (OJ L 171, 27.6.1981)

Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution - Resolution on long-range transboundary air pollution (OJ L 171, 27.6.1981)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council Decision 86/277/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the conclusion of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution on long-term financing of the cooperative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP) (OJ L 181, 4.7.1986, p. 1)

Council Decision 93/361/EEC of 17 May 1993 on the accession of the Community to the Protocol to the 1979 Geneva Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution concerning the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes (OJ L 149, 21.6.1993, pp. 14-15)

Council Decision 98/686/EEC of 23 March 1998 on the conclusion by the European Community of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution on further reductions of sulphur emissions [OJ L 326, 3.12.1998, p. 34)

Council Directive 1999/13/EC of 11 March 1999 on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations (OJ L 85, 29.3.1999, pp. 1–22)

Council Decision 2001/379/EC of 4 April 2001 on the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals (OJ L 134, 17.5.2001, p. 40)

Council Decision 2003/507/EC of 13 June 2003 on the accession of the European Community, to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (OJ L 179, 17.7.2003, pp. 1-2)

Council Decision 2004/259/EC of 19 February 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the 1988 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 81, 19.3.2004, pp. 35-36)

Council Decision (EU) 2016/768 of 21 April 2016 on the acceptance of the Amendments to the 1998 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals (OJ L 127, of 18.5.2016, pp. 8-20)

Council Decision (EU) 2016/769 of 21 April 2016 on the acceptance of the Amendments to the 1998 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 127, 18.5.2016, pp. 21-31)

last update 08.12.2016

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