Our commitment to healthy air for everyone

Breathing clean air is a human right, but according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines, 99% of the world’s population lives in areas that exceed WHO air pollution limits. 

Exposure to air pollution is one of the greatest environmental risks to human health. The WHO estimates that exposure to dirty air caused 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2016; 91% of those deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Furthermore, the poorest and most vulnerable communities are most at risk. The harmful health impacts of air pollution affect the ability of those living in cities to live safely and thrive, damaging city economies and their development.

As the mayors of world-leading cities, we will not wait for others to act to protect residents from the devastating consequences of air pollution. We know that air pollution and the climate crisis go hand-in-hand. Both need swift, unprecedented and collective action to remove the pollution that is harming public health and warming the planet.

To clean the air our residents breathe and help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, signatories of this accelerator pledge to:

  • Establish our cities’ baseline air pollution levels and set ambitious reduction targets that meet or exceed national commitments. These actions will be taken within two years of signing the pledge. The targets will put us on a path towards meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide.
  • Before 2025, or within five years of joining this commitment, we will implement substantive new policies and programmes to address the top causes of air pollution and emissions within cities under our control.
  • Publicly report on our annual progress in reducing pollution levels relative to our cities’ targets and on progress in achieving the commitments set out by this accelerator.

To meet this commitment, signatory cities will:

  • Implement new policies, enforce strong regulations, prioritise resources and build the necessary skills to achieve ambitious reductions in air pollution source sectors that are within our control.
  • Integrate the relevant top pollution-reducing actions that are within our city and under our control into city Climate Action Plans. For example, by rapidly expanding zero emission public transport; creating low or zero emission areas; supporting walking/cycling; implementing vehicle restrictions or financial incentives/disincentives, such as road-use or parking charges; reducing truck, non-road machinery and city-owned vehicle emissions; cleaning up construction sites and equipment; reducing industrial emissions; reducing emissions from wood burning; expanding affordable access to clean energy for cooking and heating; restricting pollution from solid waste burning; and expanding greening.
  • Establish, maintain, increase or contribute to reliable city-wide air quality monitoring, making data publicly available promptly, or as close to real-time as possible, and in an accessible format, in coordination with relevant departments and institutions.
  • Conduct, expand or collaborate with relevant institutions to increase research on the health impacts of air pollution, the benefits of air quality improvements and associated economic implications, and publish the results.
  • Raise air quality awareness to help vulnerable residents reduce their exposure and reduce the causes of air pollution, such as traffic.
  • Create, update or work with relevant institutions to ensure high quality emissions inventories, models and analyses are available, to describe where and how outdoor air pollution is formed in our city, both today and in the future.
  • Work with and advocate for regional, state, supranational and national government to take action on sources outside our boundaries or our control.

Signatory cities:

Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Amman, Austin, Barcelona, Bengaluru, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Dakar, Delhi, Dubai, Durban (eThekwini), Ekurhuleni, Freetown, Guadalajara, Heidelberg, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kolkata, Lagos, Lima, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Madrid, Medellín, Milan, Nairobi, Oslo, Paris, Phoenix, Portland, Quezon City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Salvador, Seoul, Stockholm, Sydney, Tel Aviv – Yafo, Tokyo, Tshwane, Warsaw, Washington DC

Cities interested in joining the Accelerator can contact C40’s Clean Air Accelerator Manager, Eduardo Peralta (eperalta@c40.org).