International collaboration on air pollution has been key to the successful control of air pollution for over 40 years. Negotiations and agreements within the UNECE Air Convention have contributed to a dramatic reduction in emissions and associated impacts. Openness, transparency and a close collaboration between science and policy have been fundamental for success.
One ingredient in the strategic discussion on identifying future challenges and steps in air pollution management over the last 20 years has been the Saltsjöbaden Workshops. Held under the Chatham House Rule, over the years these have formed a ‘marketplace’ for informal discussions between policymakers, scientists, experts and other stakeholders. The seventh workshop, held in Gothenburg from 13 to 15 March 2023, was no exception.
The workshop was organized like the previous ones: first, a plenary session to set the scene of the workshop, followed by parallel discussions in working groups leading to conclusions and recommendations. And finally, the outcomes were presented and discussed at a general session where a set of general conclusions and recommendations were agreed.
Prior to the workshop, an Advisory Board was established for the overall planning of the workshop, in particular for the selection of topics, engagement of two to three topic chairs, and for the final preparations of the conclusions and recommendations. As a preamble to the actual physical event in March 2023, the workshop welcomed professionals new to international air pollution science and policy to an early career negotiation training exercise.
This year we were particularly happy to organize the first meeting with the Forum for International Cooperation on Air Pollution (FICAP) as a back-to-back event with Saltsjöbaden VII. This new forum aims to form a platform for extending the collaboration to regions outside the UNECE.
All in all, the gathering of 180 policymakers, scientists and experts from 35 countries and 20 international organizations resulted in a set of conclusions and recommendations that we hope will help to set the agenda for the coming years.
In this report we have compiled the most important outcomes from the meeting in a series of recommendations. They are the result of discussions in six working groups, and were presented and agreed in a plenary session. The final version of the text was approved by the chairs of the different working groups.
The workshop was organized by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and the Swedish Presidency of the European Council in collaboration with many international organizations including the UNECE Air Convention and other regional conventions, the European Commission, Nordic Council of Ministers, WHO, UNEP, CCAC, AMAP and others. We, the representatives of the organizers of Saltsjöbaden and FICAP, are grateful to all those involved in the planning and execution of the workshop, particularly the Advisory Board, those leading the working groups, giving presentations, and taking active part in the discussions. We are also grateful to those who have sponsored the meeting: the Swedish Environmental Agency, the Government Offices of Sweden, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) UK, the City of Gothenburg and the UNEP.
Additional information on the workshop can be found here
, where the full report will also be available. Reports from previous workshops can be downloaded at this site. For further information, please contact any of the below.