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Strategies to protect the vulnerable populations from air pollution exposure and impacts


ICIMOD, Lalitpur

Date & Time

01 December 2022 to 02 December 2022

About the event

The Atmospheric Watch Initiative is organising a partner’s meeting to bring together different stakeholders working in the air pollution sector and share ongoing activities, progress, challenges, and way forward with a focus on environmental justice. With new knowledge on the differential vulnerabilities and coping capacities to air pollution coming to light, it is important to work on an evidence-based advocacy strategy to provide better protection to vulnerable populations.


Expected outcome

This workshop is expected to bring together stakeholders working on the societal and justice aspects of air pollution management to foster a collective understanding in the regional context and develop strategies and engagement mechanisms for action. With a diverse group of individuals and institutions interacting on environmental justice, we believe that we will be able to pave a joint future pathway for air pollution management. A key delivery of the meeting will be a commitment document.



In recent decades, the HKH has been affected by rising emissions of air pollutants from urban, industrial, and rural sources. This has raised concerns about deteriorating air quality, impacts on health and visibility, changes in atmospheric heating and cooling, increasing stratospheric pollution above the Tibetan Plateau, deposition of light absorbing substances onto snow and ice surfaces, and increasing melting of the cryosphere in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).

Along with measuring air quality and pollution, ICIMOD has been conducting studies on the exposure to and impacts of air pollution on human life and livelihoods. While there have been several studies on the impacts of air pollution on the health of people, these studies rarely address the impacts of high air pollution levels on vulnerable occupations such as drivers and street vendors, especially at the household level. Rapidly growing urbanisation coupled with air pollution has severe consequences for large populations based in cities in HKH region. When a breadwinner falls ill or loses their wage, what cascading impacts does it have on the family members and their well-being? ICIMOD, together with partners, conducted an exploratory study evaluating the exposure to and impacts of air pollution on marginalised urban dwellers in three cities in South Asia: Lahore (Pakistan), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Mandalay (Myanmar). Based on the findings of this study, a larger survey-based study was initiated in 2022 in Dehradun, India, and Chattagram, Bangladesh. This study is currently being conducted and is expected to add to the knowledge generated by the earlier exploratory study.



Time (NPT) Programme Speaker
Opening session (09:30–10:30)
09:30–09:45 Registration Nirmala Baduwal, ICIMOD
09:45–09:50 Welcome Santosh Raj Pathak, ICIMOD
09:50–10:00 Introduction to the programme Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD
10:00–10:10 Introduction of the participants All participants
10:10–10:30 Air pollution in the ICIMOD Strategy 2030 and MTAPV (2023-2026) Izabella Koziell, ICIMOD
10:30–11:00 Tea break and group photo
11:00–12:30 Getting to know each other

  • Understanding our expectations
  • Sharing of ongoing relevant activities
  • Why partnership?
Santosh Raj Pathak
12:30–13:30 Lunch
 13:30–16:30 Environmental justice in air pollution management

  • How does air pollution impacts differ across population groups? Findings of the study ‘Ability to protect against air pollution exposure’
  • Why is environmental justice important and what is our understanding? How can we contribute to it?
  • What do we understand by a just transition to clean energy sources? How can we contribute to it?

(Tea break included)

Sugat Bajracharya and Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD
 16:30–16:45 Wrap-up of the day Selected participant
17:00–20:00 Reception dinner All participants

Time (NPT) Programme Speaker
Facilitated by Amina Maharjan, ICIMOD
Experiences of the partners
09:30–10:00 FHI 360 Bhusan Tuladhar, FHI 360
10:00–10:30 The Asia Foundation Sumina Karki, Asia Foundation
10:30–11:00 International Labour Organization (ILO) Nita Neupane, ILO
11:00–11:30 Stockholm Environment Institute Fiona Lambe, Stockholm Environment Institute
11:30–12:30 Blue sky discussion: What can we do for environmental justice in air pollution management and just transition to cleaner sources in the HKH region Amina Maharjan and Santosh Raj Pathak
12:30–13:30 Lunch  


Individual and group commitments  
What can we do individually to contribute to environmental justice and just transition to cleaner sources? All participants
How can we collectively contribute to environmental justice and just transition to cleaner sources?

What could be our partnership approach?

Amina Maharjan and Santosh Raj Pathak
15:30–16:00 Presentation of commitment in the plenary Selected participant
16:30–16:45 Closing remarks Siva Praveen Puppala, ICIMD