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Enhancing climate change commitments to achieve local air pollution benefits: practical examples from Latin America and the Caribbean

The practical ways in which countries can integrate air pollution and associated health into climate change plans, and increase climate change mitigation ambition – that’s what this event within the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021 is about.

Representatives from Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Uruguay share their experience in updating their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve local air pollution and health benefits.

12 May 2021 at 15:00 AST

ending at 16:00 AST

Dominican Republic and Online
View of the Dominican Republic's capital of Santo Domingo

The Dominican Republic hosts the 2021 Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week – albeit virtually. Photo: Walter Bibikow / Getty Images.

Why was it important to include action on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and air pollution benefits from climate change action in their country’s updated NDC? What process was followed in the NDC update? And what are the next steps in making the clearly articulated objectives on SLCPs and air pollution benefits in their NDC a reality?

These are the questions representatives from Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Uruguay will share their experience on during this Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2021 event, organized by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and co-hosted by SEI.


In 2019, 6.6 million premature deaths were attributable to air pollution exposure. In 2020, in many locations, air quality improved due to the measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are already seeing air pollution levels increasing, which highlights the need for implementing actions that can sustainably reduce air pollution emissions.

There is a large opportunity to sustainably improve air quality through climate change mitigation actions. Over 1 million premature deaths could be avoided annually, if actions are taken globally to limit global temperature increases to ‘well below 2°C’.

Air pollutants share many of the same sources as greenhouse gases (GHG), and therefore many actions that target major GHG sources also reduce air pollutants. A subset of pollutants, called Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), including black carbon, and methane, also directly contribute to air pollution and its health impacts, and to global temperature increases.

For these health benefits to be realized, they need to be prioritised and reflected in countries’ climate change commitments (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs). In 2015, only a few countries included SLCP mitigation, or air pollution benefits from climate change mitigation actions in their NDCs. As countries are now updating their NDCs, that is changing, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are leading the way.

In 2020, five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico, submitted updated NDCs, that increase their climate change mitigation ambition, and include targets, actions and activities that focus on achieving local air quality benefits and meeting international climate change commitments.

How to register

Register for the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021 to access this webinar using the link below. Registration grants access to all events during the week.

Register now


3:00-3:05pm Welcoming remarks

Daniel Buss, Air Quality and Health Advisor, Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

3:05-3:15pm Mexico

Dra. Graciela Binimelis de Raga, Professor at the Atmosphere Sciences, Atmosphere Science Centre; National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

3:15-3:20pm Colombia

John Henry Melos Pineda, General Coordinator – NDC Update, Directorate of Climate Change and Risk Management, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development

3:20-3:25pm Costa Rica

Patricia Campos Mesén, Deputy Director, Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Energy

3:25-3:30pm Mexico

Luis Gerardo Ruiz Suarez, General Coordinator of Pollution and Environmental Health, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC)

3:30-3:35pm Dominican Republic

Emely Rodriguez, Mitigation Analyst, Mitigation Department, National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism

3:35-3:40pm Uruguay

Quím. Pablo Fernández Mantero, Monitoring of Environmental Components – Environmental Quality Division, Ministry of Environment

3:40-4:00pm Q&A and closing remarks

Daniel Buss, Air Quality and Health Advisor, PAHO

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