Premature mortality attributable to poor air quality results in high costs. For example, a study by WHO and OECD estimates that in 2010 costs of air pollution related premature deaths in Georgia were at about 9 billion USD. The main sources of air pollution are the transport and agricultural sectors (NOx) industrial processes (SO2) and residential heating (PM).
Georgians are well aware of the issue of air pollution: in a 2020 study, Georgians named air pollution as one of the country’s most important environmental problems.
Action has been taken at the national level to reduce air pollution, also in the framework of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention), to which Georgia has been an active Party since 1999. The country has been working with UNECE and with other Parties bilaterally to make progress in implementing the Convention. In 2018, a national action plan was developed within the framework of the Convention's assistance programme to promote ratification of the Convention's key protocols (e.g. Gothenburg Protocol, Protocol on Heavy Metals, Protocol on POPs) and build capacity for its implementation.
Since the development of the national action plan, Georgia has made progress in taking steps towards ratification. As a follow-up and to raise awareness on the air quality issue and initiate discussion on the actions outlined in the national action plan among governmental and non-governmental institutions, as well as the private sector, UNECE, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia organized a national dialogue on clean air this week (Tbilisi, 19 October 2022).
The aim of the dialogue was to hold discussions on major air quality issues at national, regional and local levels, as well as on approaches for meeting emission reduction commitments; understand the most effective and efficient policies and progress in their implementation, including to promote clean air policies and best practices in other sectoral areas; promote synergies and avoid policy tensions between air quality, climate and energy, transport, agricultural and other policies, as well as links with health policy.
Participants from the various Ministries, Agencies and NGOs discussed developments in Georgia’s air quality management system and further steps in the implementation of the Air Convention. Participants highlighted the progress made in implementing the national action plan developed by UNECE to support Georgia in ratifying the key protocols and agreed that Georgia could initiate accession to the Protocol on POPs and the Protocol on Heavy Metals.