New Delhi, 22 December 2021: A new Air Quality Action Forum, launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Patym Foundation aims to contribute to mitigating the impact of air pollution in India.
A partnership agreement setting up the Forum was signed earlier this week by UNEP’s Asia Pacific Regional Office Director, Dechen Tsering, and Shri Vijay Shekhar Sharma from the Paytm Foundation, the public charitable trust of Paytm, India’s leading technology company that specialises in digital payment system, e-commerce and financial services.
The Forum aims to establish a demand-driven ‘Solution Centre’ by mapping the tools available to it to combat air pollution, with the demand coming through the Indian Government. It will also launch a report on the state of air pollution planning and implementation in India, including a concrete work-plan for air pollution mitigation.
The Forum will also work towards solutions for better air through extensive consultations with policy makers, scientists, academia, data experts, and grassroots organizations.
“Paytm Foundation’s partnership with UNEP is part of Paytm’s commitment to generate awareness about pressing social and environmental issues and alleviate the same through collaborative partnerships. Air pollution in India has been an increasing problem, and we aim to work with UNEP and experts from the sector to bring forth solutions by leveraging India’s innovative ecosystem,” said Shri Narendra Singh, Senior Vice President, Paytm.
The Forum’s action plan focuses on coordinating and engaging with national and international entities – from the UN system to the corporate sector, national philanthropic organisations and sector-expert institutions. It will identify the needs, gaps, and solutions to the problem of air quality and will ensure a structured yearly action plan. A study by the World Health Organisation in 2016 estimated that the cost of air pollution to India at around 8 per cent of its gross domestic product, excluding the cost of air pollution-related healthcare. According to a 2019 study, the economic loss due to lost output from premature deaths and morbidity from air pollution was 1.4% of the GDP in India in 2019.
“Air pollution is a serious public health crisis. Improving air quality will help protect our health, contribute to climate action, and bring other development benefits. UNEP
welcomes this collaboration with Paytm Foundation to beat air pollution in India. This supports UN Environment Assembly Resolution 3/8 on air pollution,” said Ms. Dechen Tsering, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
“This initiative by UNEP and Paytm to bring together all stakeholders to deliberate on abatement and control of air pollution and to suggest remedial measures and strategies would help improve air quality in a significant manner”, added Shri Naresh P Gangwar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change.
Notes to Editors
About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
UNEP@50: A time to reflect on the past and envision the future
The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, was the first-ever UN conference with the word “environment” in its title. The creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was one of the most visible outcomes of this conference of many firsts. UNEP was created quite simply to be the environmental conscience of the UN and the world. Activities taking place through 2022 will look at significant progress made as well as what’s ahead in decades to come.
Air Pollution in Asia Pacific: Science Based Solutions Report The report, Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based Solutions, is the first comprehensive scientific assessment of the air pollution solutions outlook in Asia and the Pacific. It details 25 policy and technological measures that will deliver benefits across sectors. The report is a collaboration between the UNEP, the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), and was launched at WHO’s first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.
Advocacy and Communication & Lead, UNEP India Office Atima.firstname.lastname@example.org