National: Paytm Foundation, a trust set up exclusively for philanthropic purposes, announced that the Air Quality Action Forum’s (AQAF) first annual conference was held by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in New Delhi. The event was attended by Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, MD and CEO, Paytm, and UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza.
The Conference shared key findings from the Needs Assessment report prepared by AQAF which identified the gaps, needs and solutions for effective air quality management in India, in the areas of science, technology, policy, capacity, and finance.
The Resource Centre, to support the actions of AQAF, was discussed with Government representatives, and the immediate steps for its institutionalisation and operationalisation were identified. The Resource Centre will be providing knowledge and technical resources and facilitate access to finance and linkage to stakeholders engaged in planning, implementation, and funding.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm said, “The Needs Assessment recommendations, when implemented, will help in improving the air quality in urban centres as well as villages of India. I believe that all of us together, from citizens to municipalities to states and national governments, have to come together to address the challenge of air pollution in order to drive greater economic growth in the country.”
Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa said, “It is not countries, rather individuals and communities, which will make a difference.”
Atul Bagai, UNEP Country Head, India, said, “Focused efforts are required in India to tackle air pollution due to its complex nature, as well as the fact that pollution can transcend jurisdictional boundaries. Ensuring that air pollution is addressed collectively with all stakeholders is the need of the hour.”