Habitable Air

16 Jul

Measuring and Monitoring Community-Level Emissions: Scalable Qualitative Solutions toward SDGs #1 and #13

  • 1:15 pm
  • Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations

Air pollution is a critical issue, exacerbated by urbanization and poverty, that impacts public health and contributes to climate change. With many cities failing to meet the World Health Organization's air quality standards, pollutants like black carbon and sulphur dioxide harm both humans and the environment. This growing problem underscores the urgency highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 – No Poverty, which addresses poverty and urbanization, and SDG 13 – Climate Action, which focuses on climate change impacts, especially on vulnerable populations. Despite the severity of these threats, there is a lack of publicly available information on emissions exposure in poor communities, and regulatory guidelines often do not address local or cross-border issues effectively. This side event organised by the University of Bergen and the International Association of Universities (IAU), with other partners, aligns with the 2024 High-Level Political Forum's theme of "Eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises" by focusing on SDG 1 and SDG 13. It aims to foster collaboration among marginalized communities, governments, academia, and the private sector to improve the measurement and monitoring of community-level emissions. The event features experts from various sectors, including academia, NGOs, and technology startups, who will discuss policies, technologies, and community-driven practices to tackle emissions. The discussion includes case studies from the United States, South Africa, and Germany, and presents findings from a long-term study on low-cost air monitors in poor communities. The panel will provide actionable recommendations for policymakers and academia to enhance emission measurement and monitoring, ultimately supporting efforts to alleviate poverty and address climate change. Read more about the Habitable Air project, funded by the Research Council of Norway. PROGRAMME: Welcoming words from host organizations and country sponsors Individual speaker presentations, including a 5-minute documentary on research results Moderated roundtable discussion World premiere of a new short documentary by Dara Kell: “Breathscapes: A Film about Air” Audience Q&A Closing SPEAKERS: State Secretary Bjørg Sandkjær, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway: Opening remarks Associate Professor Kerry Chance, University of Bergen and Principal Investigator (PI) of the Habitable Airresearch project: Air quality monitoring pilot project results Associate Professor Peter DeCarlo, Johns Hopkins: Petrochemical-focused environmental justice air monitoring projects in the US CEO and Founder David Hagan, Quant AQ: Ethics and other challenges of air monitoring Founder Sharon Lavigne, Rise St James: Community perspective on air quality and monitoring efforts Professor Chris Walley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Air monitoring within the context of the environmental justice movement CEO Salvatore Aricò, International Science Council (ISC): Closing remarks Founder and CEO Adrian Dybwad, Purple Air: Technology demonstration A light lunch will be served at the side event.

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16 Jul

The Habitable Air Project: Building Bridges between Policymakers, Academia, Tech-Start Ups, and Communities to Advance SDGs #1 (on inequality) and #13 (on climate change)

  • 6:00 pm
  • Permanent of Norway to the United Nations

This networking reception aims to build connections between sectors that do not often speak to one another: policymakers, academics, tech start-ups, and communities. Building upon our expert panel at our official HLPF side event earlier in the day, we aim to catalyse action across leading figures working to tackle inequality and climate change by bringing them into informal conversations in a convivial atmosphere. Sectors do not often speak to one another because they are siloed within their own activities on these pressing global issues. At times, the activities of one sector can be perceived as harmful to another sector. For example, extractive materials used in new start-up technologies are protested by marginalised communities who are displaced by these processes. Or these technologies are regulated by policymakers seeking a delicate balance of demands and academia is left out where their technical expertise might be useful. Our project’s contention is that to tackle inequality and climate change, a cross-sector response is urgent and necessary. Without it, we will continue to be siloed and alone. With it, we create actionable knowledge and partnerships toward more equitable and sustainable future cities. Our reception aims to accomplish this cooperation in real-time by literally bringing cross-sector conversation into the room in the spirit of advancing SDGs #1 and #13 together. Our motto for this event is: we are stronger together.