The United States Agency for International Development Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) and Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), in partnership with the Thailand Pollution Control Department (PCD), Natural Resource and Environment Research Institute (NRERI) of the Lao PDR Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (Laos MONRE), and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) launched today a trilateral Transboundary Air Quality Management Project.
This collaborative effort provides technical assistance to Laos MONRE in enhancing its capacity to monitor and manage air quality through the use of publicly-available satellite data, ground observations, and informed policy applications. The partnership leverages the expertise of ADPC, the implementing partner of SERVIR Southeast Asia (SERVIR SEA), and PCD to address the pressing need for better air quality management in Laos and its neighboring countries.
USAID, NASA, and ADPC launched SERVIR SEA in 2023 to help communities across Southeast Asia adapt to regional and transboundary climate issues and mitigate the impacts of climate change. SERVIR SEA receives NASA satellite imagery and data, and uses it to help Southeast Asian governments and communities respond to natural disasters and build climate resilience. SERVIR SEA was launched in January 2023, building on the success of ADPC’s implementation of SERVIR-Mekong from 2014-2022.
“There is a critical connection between air quality and community well-being, urging us to prioritize environmental protection for the sake of our shared health and vitality. USAID/RDMA partners with regional organizations such as ADPC to strengthen natural resources management across Southeast Asia, and confront transboundary issues related to the climate crisis,” said Dr. Steven G. Olive, Mission Director of USAID/RDMA.
Air pollution is one of the world’s largest environmental health threats. Globally, more than 7 million premature deaths are attributed to air pollution, with the greatest number (two-thirds) occurring in the Asia-Pacific region. Almost 90 percent of the region’s population regularly breathes air considered unsafe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“With the launch of this event, ADPC is pleased to show its continued commitment to working collaboratively with various governments, international and regional organizations in Southeast Asia to improve climate actions. These actions will be based on SERVIR Southeast Asia's unique expertise on satellite data, but are co-developed based on local needs. This project is a testimony that ADPC can develop scalable results -- as it did for Thailand but also expand it to other countries in the region -- as we are for Lao PDR,” said ADPC Executive Director Hans Guttman.
This event marks a significant milestone and underscores the commitment of USAID and ADPC in fostering regional cooperation and advancing sustainable solutions for air quality management to improve public health. The collaboration also demonstrates the demand and scalability of SERVIR SEA’s Air Quality Explorer Tool to address the challenge of transboundary air pollution, and advances the 2002 ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.