Political context

Organizational Chart of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)Click to enlarge
Organizational Chart of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)
Source: UNECE modified by C. Loran

CLRTAP – Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

The CCE is an organizational entity under the CLRTAP of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) (see organigram above). The CLRTAP was signed in 1979 and came into force in 1983. It was the first international legally binding instrument to deal with problems of air pollution at a broader scale. The goal of the convention is to control air pollution and its effects and to develop an extensive programme for the monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transport of air pollutants.

WGE – Working Group on Effects

To develop the necessary international cooperation in the research on and the monitoring of pollutant effects, the WGE was established under the Convention in 1980 and held its first meeting in 1981. The WGE provides information on the degree and geographic extent of the impacts of major air pollutants (such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, ozone, volatile organic compounds, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, particulate matter, including black carbon, and ammonia on human health and the environment). This work is conducted by its six International Cooperative Programmes (on Forests, Waters, Materials, Vegetation, Integrated Monitoring and Modelling and Mapping) and the Task Force on Health. 

ICP M&M – International Cooperative Programme on Modelling and Mapping

The ICP M&M was established in 1988 with the aim to develop and provide strategies for emission reductions as inputs to the negotiations of protocols to the CLRTAP. The programme is operated by the Task Force Modelling and Mapping (TF M&M), which is led by France (located at INERIS - L’Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques) and chaired by Alice James Casas.

The ICP M&M particularly fulfils the requirements from Article 7(d) and 8(f) of the Convention. Article 7(d) of the Convention states that research should be conducted into the effects of sulphur compounds, and other major air pollutants, on the environment, including agriculture, forestry, natural vegetation, aquatic ecosystems and materials. Article 7 further emphasizes the development of dose-response relationships designed to protect the environment. Article 8(f) calls for exchanging available physico-chemical and biological data relating to the effects of long-range transboundary air pollution and the extent of the damage that can be attributed to long-range transboundary air pollution. 

CCE – Coordination Centre for Effects

In 1990, tasks of the CCE were offered by the Netherlands to the CLRTAP of the UNECE. The CLRTAP adopted the CCE as programme centre of the ICP M&M under its WGE.

The objectives of the CCE are 

  • to develop and update the methodologies enabling the assessment of critical loads; 
  • to compile national data on critical loads into a European database; 
  • to generate maps of European critical loads and their exceedances

and to provide the results to the relevant bodies under the CLRTAP, especially for the purpose of policy support through integrated assessment. In order to perform these tasks, the CCE collaborates with a European network of National Focal Centres (NFCs) of the ICP M&M. In this context, the CCE is regularly requested by the Convention to issue calls for data to these NFCs. 

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