Chapter 3: Improving
Implementation and Institutionalization
3.1 Using a Full Range
of Mutually Supporting Implementation Capabilities
Once strategies have been formulated, the important phase of their implementation commences. This also involves consolidation of these new policies, as well as their institutionalization in the long-term. In this chapter, strategies for a successful long-term consolidation of Air Quality Management strategies are discussed.
3.1.1 Using the Full Range of Implementation Capabilities
It has proven to be useful if cities apply the widest range of means of implementation to achieve urban air quality improvement. As discussed in chapter two, strategies should make use of a set of instruments. Cities should not rely solely on legislation or investment but use a mix of implementation instruments including information campaigns, economic incentives, or public disclosure.
3.1.2 Developing Packages of Mutually Supportive Interventions
Cities have found that interventions become more effective when formulated in sets of mutually supportive actions, so as to ensure that they are not contradictory and do not overlap in an unintended way. By interlinking planned interventions, the overall impact can be greatly increased. This is precisely the advantage of developing interventions through multi-actor and multi-disciplinary working groups. Investments are also more likely to be mobilized when their linkage to a strategic framework is clear and when they are part of a mutually supportive package of interventions. Such investments have the potential to attract additional funding.
Political will is paramount to the successful implementation of strategies. Needless to say, both human and financial resources form the backbone for implementation. The resource issue is a major issue, particularly in cities in developing countries where priority still lies largely with direct measures to develop infrastructure and alleviate poverty.
And yet, as the adverse effects of air pollution continue to mount, the cost of not addressing air quality will continue to grow. Urban air pollution is a serious threat in many developing countries, aggravating poverty as emissions caused by transport and industry are affecting the health of urban residents. The transport sector is the main source for urban air pollution and greenhouse gases in developing countries. The WHO estimates that the worldwide cost of air pollution is close to 1 billion USD. In developed countries the costs of air pollution are equal to approximately 2% of GDP, while in developing countries this is between 5 and 20 % of their GDP.
Political will is critical for a successful implementation of AQM strategies, and in making things happen on the ground. The support of political leaders from both the national and local (city) level is absolutely essential to make efforts to improve air quality effective.
Once a working group has designed a strategy, this strategy needs to be adopted before it can be implemented. Often, the issue-specific working groups designing the strategies cannot adopt the strategy for the organizations responsible for implementation. The city council, the municipal directors, other concerned government ministries, are the parties who must agree with and approve the proposed strategies; and more importantly, who will identify and assign staff and financial resources for its implementation. However, being part of the consultative processes these decisions can easily be achieved.
The working group on air quality issues should have representation from all the organizations involved in urban air quality. More importantly, for desired benefits in terms of successful implementation, a working group must be composed of members of organizations whose roles can be directly linked to the implementation of strategies. Political leaders at the city or national levels usually head such organizations. It might not be possible to determine such members at the very beginning. It will thus be useful, depending on the nature of the strategy, to identify other members who can be directly involved in strategy implementation and enlist their support at this earlier stage. It is assumed that these members consult with their constituencies or organizations so that the strategy selected will not come as a surprise to the responsible institutions, and its adoption is facilitated. It is understood that not in all cases will there be a guarantee of strategy adoption even with this support. There are examples where inter-agency working groups with representation from all stakeholders developed a strategy that was not endorsed later for implementation by those concerned.
Apart from directly involving representatives from possible implementing agencies headed by elected officials, it is important to identify persons/ public figures who will promote awareness campaigns on air quality issues and strategies to be adopted. These people may include sportsmen and women, movie stars, etc. The involvement of these personalities enhances public information, education and communication (IEC), which is a vital means of developing political support for strategies (policies, programmes and projects) needed for an integrated air quality management plan. The role of NGO's in amplifying an issue and drawing the public's attention should also not be overlooked.
Another way to initially mobilize political support for air quality management is to illustrate the gravity and enormity of the adverse effects of air pollution. The tools described under 'setting priorities' could assist in assessing the adverse effects.
It has been proven that, if political will and organizational support are sustained and a participatory approach with open involvement is taken, it will be easier to mobilize and apply the necessary technical and financial resources for successful strategy implementation.
3.2.2 Mobilizing Resources
While all strategies need human resources for implementation, most strategies formulated will require additional financial resources for their implementation. A number of ways can be explored in order to obtain the required resources. These include both internal and external means of financing strategy implementation as discussed below.
- Funding from the government's regular budget
Resource mobilization becomes a much easier practice when there is a broad-based participatory approach to strategy formulation and action planning. This includes gaining the necessary political will and organizational support for the strategy.
From the political angle, this means that funds could be allocated from the government regular budget for purposes of fulfilling the financial requirements of the strategy, including hiring of technical expertise.
- Funding from environmental funds and taxes
There are other ways to obtain funding. The introduction of the "polluter pays" principle can generate a seed fund to be used for environmental purposes such as the implementation of air quality strategies. This approach is known to be successful in a number of countries where it is practiced. Some countries also have so-called 'green taxes'. Proceeds from such taxes (usually collected from persons or companies committing environmental offences or charges for products perceived not to be environmentally friendly in order to discourage their marketability) can also be used to fund strategies for air quality improvement.
For example, in Taiwan, these funds are available for financing innovative ideas and approaches (like research as an implementation tool) to address air quality issues. These funds are used as grants for research. In Poland, the Environmental Fund is used to finance environmental investments, provide technical assistance to industries, and given as grants for research and for local environmental projects of the voivods (provinces).
However, it is important to note that in certain cases, revenue from such funds have been difficult to count on for a number of reasons. The revenue may flow into general government funds and become unaccountable and inaccessible due to loss of interest of the collecting agency. Also, issues of political sensitivity, as well as lack of awareness and lack of commitment to the purpose may shroud these funds. The working group should therefore involve the agencies responsible for the funds in their work, and at the same time, develop a keen interest in its collection and use.
- Partnerships with the private sector
Engaging the private sector in the early stages of the process can be beneficial during implementation. This makes sense on two counts:
(1) this sector directly controls many forces that influence the air
quality situation in a city, and
Given that the overriding motivation of this sector is profit, it becomes necessary to come prepared with negotiation skills as well as incentives in order to enlist the private sector's support for implementation. One way of doing this is to involve companies early on in information gathering and strategy formulation. This should be done not only to get their views and tap their expertise on air quality issues, but also to give them a sense of ownership of the strategies to be adopted and, indeed, of the entire process. Providing incentives such as subsidies can only further their interest in strategies to be adopted and influence their decision to financially support the implementation of such strategies. It is worth noting that subsidies are not always needed. For example, in Cairo or Delhi, the conversion of taxis from petrol to compressed natural gas was successful without subsidies because of good payback to the taxi owners. CNG is locally available and not imported; therefore the price is competitive.
It is, however, up to the working groups to find ways of involving the private sector and finding means of obtaining voluntary financial resources from this sector to assist in strategy implementation.
b) Mobilizing Resources Externally
- Approaching international programmes, bilateral and multilateral agencies
Financial and technical support can also be obtained externally from a number of donor communities and international agencies in their relevant fields of expertise and experience. These include:
International Non-governmental Organizations
- Taking advantage of international instruments and conventions
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a financial mechanism administered jointly by UNEP, UNDP and the World Bank to support projects addressing environmental issues along the following four thematic areas of global environmental concerns: climate change, desertification, biodiversity and ozone depletion. Depending on the air quality strategy chosen, projects could be submitted to the GEF as crosscutting issues under any of these areas but more specifically, the climate change or ozone thematic areas. With funding support from the GEF, Marikina City in the Philippines intends to establish bicycle lanes and expand the pedestrian lanes along highly traveled routes in low-income areas of the city. This is expected to encourage non-motorized transport as a local measure to address the global problem of climate change, as well as lessen local problems of congestion and air pollution. (For further information refer to www.unep.org/gef.)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, The Kyoto Protocol of the UNFCCC provides various instruments for collaboration between countries in adapting to and mitigating climate change. These include emissions trading, Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) . For example, the CDM promises emissions reduction as well as sustainable development to the partners of developed and developing countries, respectively, through projects undertaken jointly to address climate change.
Cities have found that it is crucial to strengthen the air quality management capacities of the stakeholders involved in the process. Air quality management should be firmly incorporated into the daily activities of the institutions and organizations of the city that have been identified as important actors for city air quality management.
Capacity building measures like training workshops and courses organized internally, as well as exchange of lessons learned between cities, regionally, and globally, for air quality management related personnel must be encouraged.
Some of the incorporated air quality management tools are suitable for capacity building and offer advice for equipment purchase and public information in, for example: traffic related air pollution, ambient air monitoring, emission assessments, and industrial pollution control techniques. The working group should identify the appropriate tools to improve the city's air quality management capacities. A simple procedure to facilitate integration of these capacities into the wider system would be to ensure the understanding of air quality issues through the following procedure:
STEP 1: Clarify the present air quality management capabilities and activities as overviewed in the Air Environmental Profile (see TOOL 2 of the Toolkit). Include the capacities and activities of the relevant public sectors, as well as private and community sector groups.
STEP 2: Compare these activities with the environment-development chain regarding air quality (see TOOL 3, Air Quality related Activity Sectors), and clarify which activities are poorly represented in the individual city and which institutions/organizations should improve their capacities.
STEP 3: Use TOOL 3, Air Quality related Activity Sectors to select the most appropriate factors to improve the capacities for each individual organization.
Institutionalization of broad-based participation and coordination mechanisms for managing the air quality in a city is a necessary step towards ensuring the continuity of measures to address air quality issues. Through increased public awareness and involvement, continuous policy advocacy, critique and review, or revitalization of both human and financial resources for air quality improvement, continuity of air quality management can be realized. Often it is a challenge to bring numerous agencies together to address the air quality issues through cross-sectoral coordination, public participation and awareness-raising, both at the city level and at the national level with different administrative boundaries. These different agencies have their own interests, priorities and agenda. Continuous intervention for institutionalized participation and coordination must be ensured by way of identifying issues, opportunities, and common problems as well as by building consensus.
3.4.1 Institutionalizing Broad-Based Participatory
Institutionalization of these participatory capacities is usually aided by a variety of measures, such as:
Suggestions for community outreach:
Participatory approaches by different stakeholders promote public awareness of not only air quality issues but also of the enforcement of air quality policies and regulations. In this way, public interest groups, NGOs and CBOs can help "encourage" industries to comply with set standards and regulations. In fact, such groups have been found to be very useful because they have the knowledge and the initiative to launch campaigns. They may even sue the government when they feel that public health and the right to clean air is endangered.
Examples of this include the Centre for Science and Environment in India (CSE), an active NGO in the field of environment and development that initiated a successful campaign on the right to clean air. In Cairo, an active NGO threatened the government with court action over above-standard noise levels emanating from government-owned trams. The government complied and invested resources to reduce the noise levels.
3.4.2 Institutionalization of Coordination
Implementing air quality management strategies has usually been more effective if carried out through existing (but strengthened) local institutions rather than by creating new institutions. It has become essential, however, to develop capacities for cross-sectoral, inter-institutional, and multi-disciplinary collaboration. This multisectoral approach is easiest to achieve if cooperation is harnessed at the planning stage, i.e. by making sure that all those who have a role in implementation are involved in the planning and are, therefore, key to ensuring institutionalization of the air quality management process.
The institutionalization should encompass all levels of decision-making, not just the executive level. In the Philippines, there is a large amount of coordination between of those involved in air quality management at the top executive level (i.e. government officers, elected officials, private sector). More efforts through capacity building measures may help to regularize participation, thereby institutionalizing the air quality management process across the spectrum. This is also the case in Dakar, Senegal, where there is still reluctance to adopt the participatory approach in municipalities. Members of the working committee do not represent the community, sectors, or organizations they work for and cannot authoritatively speak on their behalf. To ensure a broad-based stakeholder representation and participation for institutionalization a protocol may need to be set up in such a case.
The need for a proper, institutionalized coordination mechanism is especially called for in a situation where there are 'too' many players and a lack of coordination mechanisms, which may dilute actions. This, in turn, accelerates division, conflicts, and duplication of efforts.
Many of the incorporated 'decision support tools' may assist in structuring the coordination process because they must be applied by environmental research agencies, who subsequently should transfer the tailor-made results to the decision-makers. It is recommended that the transfer of information needed for effective air quality management be institutionalized. An example is the annual transfer of emission data per activity sector to those who deal with enforcement. This allows the enforcers to judge the environmental performance of the sectors. Knowledge institutes, e.g. the data exchange among traffic agencies, environmental institutes, transport planning and land use planning agencies (including GIS activities) also need to coordinate in order to assess the developments regarding motor vehicle air pollution.
Addressing institutional issues is important to ensure the sustainability of implementation. In fact, based on their experiences, many cities have highlighted institutional issues as the most critical factor for ensuring success.
Cities have long recognized the vital importance of systematic monitoring as an integral part of air quality management. Monitoring physical environmental conditions (ambient air quality, emissions) is a familiar activity undertaken (to some degree) in nearly every city engaging in air quality management. This type of monitoring should be expanded beyond simple measurement of pollutants to encompass additional factors, particularly those that are directly related to causal factors. In addition, there is a second type of monitoring, less familiar but also quite important, that focuses on the process of air quality management. Thus, there are two types of monitoring which should be part of any comprehensive process of air quality management:
1. Monitoring of the air quality management process
Moreover, monitoring should be understood as more than just counting or measuring pollutants. Indeed, the purpose of monitoring is to provide management information that can be used to modify and improve the air quality management.
3.5.1 Monitoring the Air Quality Management Process
The process of managing urban air quality is a critical success factor for reducing air pollution. It is therefore important to systematically monitor the process. It is appropriate, for example, to monitor how effectively the different phases of the AQM process are being implemented. How carefully is the overall strategy being formulated? What are the gaps or problems in strategy coordination? How effectively have stakeholders been incorporated? Have all important interests been adequately involved? Are action plans being formulated and implemented in a manner cutting across sectors and bringing together diverse institutions and organizations? Are the targets developed during action planning being achieved within the desired time frame and, if not, why?
As a more generalized approach to "process monitoring", the Sustainable Cities Programme (UNEP/UN-Habitat) has developed a new methodology for monitoring the urban environmental planning and management process. This is based on the environmental planning and management (EPM) process and provides useful insights into the concepts and approaches of process monitoring. For this reason, it is a potentially valuable tool that will support the city's activities in monitoring and evaluating air quality management.
3.5.2 Monitoring of Physical Emissions and Mechanisms
Monitoring physical emissions and processes is another method used to evaluate air quality management. As illustrated in Figure 3.1 below, the effectiveness of air quality management can be evaluated at different points in the cause-effect chain including the:
a) Specific implementation strategies and action plans
To illustrate some of the different approaches to monitoring the AQM process, TOOL 25 identifies indicators for air quality management capabilities. These can be used by cities to monitor their own capabilities. It provides a systematic basis for modifying and adjusting specific processes of air quality management. The tool presents indicators for air quality measurement capacity, data assessment and availability, emissions estimates, and management capability.
Figure 3.1 Monitoring the Effectiveness of Action Plans and Strategies at Different Points
a) Measuring the Degree of Implementation Success for Different Interventions
This includes monitoring the targets or indicators that were built into the particular strategy or action plan being implemented. It will provide vital information about the effectiveness of the particular intervention, information that may be used to compare the strategy used with alternative approaches. The information may also be used to adjust and improve the intervention itself. Consider the following illustrations:
b) Assessing Emissions from Polluting Activities
A key indicator for success of air quality management is reduction in emissions of various pollutants as achieved by different activity sectors. Methods to identify and measure these emission indicators have been extensively discussed in sub-section 1.3.2. As noted in that discussion, the advantages of doing this include:
c) Monitoring Ambient Air Quality in the City
This is the most direct way to measure the city's air quality. Systematic and regular ambient air monitoring can give a good understanding of changes in air quality conditions, for example in indicating reductions in concentrations of particular pollutants. Ambient air monitoring measures the resultant total of all contributions from all sources. In general, it is not possible to measure individual contributions to the total emission loading except by direct measurement at the emission source (as discussed in the previous sub-section).
The principal disadvantage of direct ambient air quality monitoring, however, is its cost in money, equipment and skilled manpower. The accuracy of results is highly dependent on proper use of the right kind of (often expensive) equipment. Moreover, because ambient air quality varies a great deal from one part of the city to another, a fairly large number of different monitoring sites are needed, and different pollutants may require different geographical distributions of monitoring sites. Continuous monitoring is needed for some air quality conditions as these may vary widely during the day, as well as seasonally. The financial and technical demands are usually the biggest constraint to ambient air quality monitoring in developing countries.
A useful guide to the setting up and/or the improvement of air quality monitoring systems is the five-volume 'Methodology Review Handbook Series' produced by UNEP through its worldwide GEMS/AIR programme.
In recent years, a number of mathematical models ('Dispersion Models') have been developed which use general relationships (based on a wide variety of empirical data) to calculate changes in urban air quality in relation to changes in the emission of various types of pollutant. The estimated concentrations can then be compared with WHO guidelines to check whether the calculated air quality exceeds the standards and hence presents a threat to human health or to economic activity (these models are extensively discussed in section 1.3.2). The advantage of dispersion modeling is that it is a dynamic but inexpensive method, especially when compared to proper ambient air monitoring in the city. However, the models are based on general relationships and therefore must be calibrated periodically by specific measurements in the particular city where it is being applied.
Considerable work has been done in cities and organizations around the world to develop appropriate monitoring techniques. Some of these techniques are described in the accompanying Toolkit, and they can provide guidance for monitoring activities and results at each of the three stages, for instance: