Togo’s Minister of Environment endorses first National Plan to Reduce Air Pollutants and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

The 11 mitigation measures in the plan could reduce emissions of health-damaging fine particulate matter by over 45% in 2030 and reduce Togo’s contribution to climate change through large reductions of Short-lived climate pollutants and greenhouse gases.

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Lome, Togo's capital.

Togo’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and Nature Protection has developed an ambitious action plan to improve air quality and reduce the health burden from air pollution in Togo. The National Plan for the Reduction of Air Pollutants and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in Togo was formally endorsed by the Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Protection of Nature, Prof. David Wonou Oladokoun in 2020.

Togo, in west Africa has a population of almost 8 million people, the majority of whom are exposed to levels of air pollution that exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. According to WHO, in 2016 there were over 8,000 premature deaths attributable to ambient and household air pollution exposure, and 93% of Togo’s population used polluting fuels like wood and charcoal for cooking.

To develop its plan, Togo built on the strong links between air pollution and climate change mitigation. Togo had already committed to substantive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31% in 2030 in its climate change plans—or ‘Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)'. However, because air pollutants and greenhouse gases share many of the same sources, the actions taken to achieve this target could also reduce air pollution.

The National Plan to reduce air pollution and short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) sets out to achieve three things, i) quantify for the first time the major sources of air pollutants and SLCPs, ii) quantify the air pollution benefits from implementing Togo’s climate change commitments, and iii) identify additional actions that could further improve air quality. The process for achieving these aims involved substantial engagement of stakeholders across government and civil society in Togo.

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Prof. David Wonou Oladokoun, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Protection of Nature, Togo

In endorsing this plan, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Protection of Nature, Prof. David Wonou Oladokoun acknowledged that his country pledges to contribute to the global effort to combat climate change and preserve air quality, which is beneficial for health and requires integrated action against air pollution and climate change.

The plan shows, for the first time, major sources of key air pollutants that impact human health, such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These include residential cooking with biomass, charcoal production, and transport, which are also major sources of greenhouse gases.

The plan also identified sources of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs)—a group of pollutants, including black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—that contribute to dangerous air pollution and also warm the atmosphere. The major sources also included residential cooking, as well as agriculture.

As part of its analysis the plan shows that the full implementation of Togo’s Nationally Determined Contribution would provide substantial local air pollution benefits. By delivering its climate commitment Togo would reduce black carbon emissions by 34% in 2030 compared to a baseline scenario, and PM2.5 emissions by 37%.

Additional actions that target remaining sources of air pollutant emissions, like putting in place and enforcing vehicles emission standards, more efficient charcoal production, and reducing burning of waste would improve air quality and reduce air pollution health impacts even further.

Togo has effectively demonstrated how climate change commitments expressed through NDCs [can] achieve key national development priorities such as improving air quality and protecting human health.
Helena Molin Valdés
Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat

The full implementation of all 14 mitigation actions included in the plan would, by 2030, reduce PM2.5 and black carbon emissions by approximately 45%, compared to a baseline scenario and improve the health of many citizens. For example, one of the key mitigation actions is to reduce household air pollution by increasing the number of households using improved efficiency cookstoves, and clean fuels such as LPG, so that by 2030, 80% of the population use clean cooking technology and fuels.  

Prof. Oladokoun emphasised the need for collaboration among many stakeholders to realise the large benefits outlined in this national plan.

“To all the actors and stakeholders involved in the development of the plan, the Togolese Government expresses its gratitude… and counts on their support to implementation it,” he said.  

Togo is one of 12 countries that is developing National Action Plans to simultaneously improve air quality and mitigate climate change as part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Strengthening National Action & Planning (SNAP) Initiative. The planning process in each country identifies the most effective actions that can be taken to simultaneously reduce air pollution and mitigation climate change.

“Togo has effectively demonstrated how climate change commitments expressed through Nationally Determined Contributions are a substantial opportunity to achieve key national development priorities such as improving air quality and protecting human health” said Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat. “We look forward to working with Togo to ensure the benefits of this plan become a reality, and encourage all countries revising their climate commitments to consider how actions that benefit air quality can increase overall mitigation ambition”.  

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