Many Latin American and Caribbean countries are implementing clean air solutions, but much more must be done to protect public health and slow climate change. An intensive two-day clean air workshop in Bogotá, Colombia made one thing clear: cooperation and collaboration are critical to scaling clean air solutions in Latin America, the Caribbean and the world. 

Professionals from 15 countries attended the workshop, co-hosted by Environmental Defense Fund and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Participants shared best practices for clean air strategies aimed at improving public health and advancing climate action goals. 

Key workshop themes:  

  • Sensors, satellites and other advances in air quality technology are improving our ability to understand where pollution is coming from and who is being most harmed by it, which is critical for developing targeted clean air solutions. 
  • Strengthening air quality management is key to supporting LAC climate, health, biodiversity and sustainable development goals. 
  • Government leadership—supported by commitments from industry, academia, and civil society—is necessary for delivering cleaner, healthy air for the LAC region. 
  • In order to secure the funding and public support needed to prioritize clean air solutions, more must be done to make the benefits of reducing air pollution more explicit. 

Why it matters: Air pollution is the biggest environmental health threat in Latin America and the Caribbean. The UN has declared access to clean air a human right, but more than 500 million people in the LAC region breathe air that exceeds the World Health Organization’s guidelines for pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, fine particle pollution and ground-level ozone.  

What’s next: A paper to be published in February highlights priorities for integrated air quality management in 33 LAC countries.  

EDF and UNEP are collaborating to develop clean air solutions in LAC. In April, EDF, UNEP and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition will co-host a workshop in Bogotá on actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants that harm people’s health and warm our planet. Later this year, EDF will select 10 projects to provide with technical assistance and will facilitate a resource mobilization effort to support their implementation. As the selected projects are developed and implemented, ongoing collaborative activities will be held across the region.