1. The Second Committee of the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted by consensus of all the UN member states a resolution of designating the “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies,” which was tabled by the leadership of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the morning of November 26 (local time in New York).
○ It is the first commemorative day to be designated by the leadership of the ROK and at the same time, the first resolution on air pollution adopted at the second committee.
2. In his keynote speech at the UN Climate Action Summit this year (September 23, New York), President Moon Jae-in proposed the designation of a commemorative day in a bid to muster the international community‘s willingness for cooperation in improving air quality. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, the Ministry of Environment, the Office for Government Policy Coordination and the National Council on Climate and Air Quality carried out government-wide and all-around diplomatic activities, through which the resolution gathered even support from each of the UN member states and was adopted in a relatively short period of time.
○ The international community confirmed the shared understanding on the need to make joint efforts to enhance global awareness of air pollution and to improve air quality, given negative effects of air pollution on global health and sustainable development.
3. The resolution consists of the designation of September 7 as the “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies”; a request for enhancing international cooperation with an aim to attain clean air; the observance of the “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies” to the UN member states, UN organizations, international and regional organizations and the civil society; and the role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote the observance of the International Day.
○ The adopted resolution is expected to raise public awareness of the need to improve air quality within the international community and promote response to air pollution such as collecting and utilizing data related to air pollution, conducting scientific research and sharing best practices.
4. The international
community will begin to observe the “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies”
starting from September 7, 2020. On the occasion of designating the
International Day, the ROK government will actively join the efforts of the
international community in preparation for the low carbon era by linking the
improvement of air quality and response to climate change.