30 November 2022
- Air Quality

efa zpsp meeting

In October, EFA participated in the 3rd meeting of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform (ZPSP), an informative forum organised by the European Commission Directorate General on the Environment to gather all perspective and efforts in combatting pollution and reducing its effects on health. EFA is an official stakeholder to the ZPSP where we advise the Commission on how to better integrate allergy and airways diseases patients in their policies to reduce environmental impacts. 

In the platform there were around 20 organsiations represented included EFA and the Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL), asking health-related questions on the topics presented by the European Commission such as:

  • Innovation and governance on the zero pollution plans applied locally. The Commission explained that there is enough funding to address pollution at local level and how that funding will be channelled through the EU Mission on Climate neutral and smart cities. The Mission has identified 100 EU cities of all sizes to address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes. On this topic, EFA representative Isabel Proaño asked the Commission if there was a process to integrate pollution vulnerability within the planning and selection of local actions, and if the governance attached to the whole set up at local level would include representatives from the most affected communities due to pollution, such as respiratory patients. The Mayors present in the room reported asking some considerations from civil society (such as neighbours associations) but it seemed clear there is no mature system in place to streamline vulnerability when addressing pollution.
  • Scorecard of EU regions’ green performance. The Commission also presented the idea of having a communication tool that compares EU regions efforts and achievements when addressing pollution. The idea was not fully backed by the platform as it seemed to only be looking at a certain type of quantitative indicators. EFA encouraged the Commission to also include health outcomes related to a higher green performance, to provide the population with the full range of benefits linked to reducing pollution. Isabel also advocated to include qualitative data from the population, which could be coupled with a Eurobarometer survey at the regional level, or from stakeholders, as the evaluation of progress should not just be looking at the core results of interventions but also about how those interventions are perceived and backed up.

During the meeting, EFA had the chance to exchange with the Mayor of Lahti, a city and region that is implementing a programme on planetary health that centres around the biodiversity hypothesis, meaning introducing policies that foster human contact with nature to increase our health and immunological resilience. The intervention is proven successful to reduce the impact and the onset of allergies and airways diseases and includes key learning from the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Programmes.

High-level Committee of the Regions event

The ZPSP meeting was opened by a High-Level event co-organised with the Committee of the Regions, a key institution to achieve zero pollution at local and regional levels. Mayors and other representatives from local authorities expressed their commitment to:

  • Couple circular economy and zero pollution to ensure resource efficiency and to reduce the societal issues such as food scarcity and poverty.
  • Focus on health when dealing with pollution to contribute to the economic model of the most ambitious companies in European industry.
  • Support regions through a strong cohesion policy, investing €150 billion in the last 7 years to ensure a green transition in cities and regions with targets on water, air, nature, noise, and waste management.

To know more about the ZPSP please visit the European Commission website.

EFA’s interventions can be seen in the event recording, at 12:40, at 13:03 and at 15:17