Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP)

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Title Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe (EMEP)
Abstract The Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP) was initiated in 1977 as a special programme under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It operates under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) since the Convention entered into force. Its original objective was mainly to

"... provide governments with information on the deposition and concentration of air pollutants as well as on the quantity and significance of long-range transmission of pollutants and fluxes across boundaries. Information on the relative importance of local and distant sources resulting from such a programme will guide national authorities in setting appropriate local and regional permissible emission levels, taking into account international implications of these levels. The information on the deposition and concentration of air pollutants will be a basis of abatement strategies in the regions affected"

Since then the EMEP programme became scientifically based and policy driven instrument for international co-operation to solve transboundary air pollution problems. Since 1999, the main objective of EMEP is to provide sound scientific support for the Convention, in particular in the areas of: atmospheric monitoring and modelling of transboundary fluxes of air pollutants, emission inventories and emission projections, and integrated assessment modelling.
Even though the programme has been established in mid seventies, and has achieved considerable success in emission reductions across Europe, there are still several air pollution problems affecting human health and causing ecosystem damage for which both national and transboundary emissions are responsible and international co-operation needed:
  1. Fine particulate matter and human health;
  2. The recovery of acidified soils and ecosystems;
  3. Tropospheric ozone and human health, vegetation and ecosystems;
  4. Eutrophication; Reactive nitrogen compounds and human health and ecosystems;
  5. Nitrogen dioxide and human health;
  6. Persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and human health and ecotoxicological effects; and
  7. Urban air quality and human health.
Therefore EMEP continues to be the main science-based and policy-driven instrument for international to help solve transboundary air pollution problems. It is based on five major pillars:

SCIENCE - EMEP establishes sound scientific evidence and provides guidance to underpin, develop and evaluate environmental policies;

PARTNERSHIP - EMEP fosters international partnership to find solutions to environmental problems;

OPENNESS - EMEP encourages the open use of intellectual resources and products;

SHARING - EMEP is transparent and shares information and expertise with research programmes, expert institutions, national and international organizations, and environmental agreements; and

ORGANIZATION - EMEP is organized to integrate information on emissions, environmental quality, effects and abatement options, and to provide the basis for solutions.

Obligations of the Parties to the Convention
The Parties to the Convention are obliged to carry out national research and development, to communicate with international partners, to exploit and use existing data and research tools and to challenge their own intellectual resources. The Convention specifies these requirements as follows:
  1. Instrumentation and other techniques for monitoring and measuring emission rates and ambient concentrations of air pollutants (art. 7 (b));
  2. Improved models for a better understanding of the transmission of long-range transboundary air pollutants (art. 7 (c));
  3. Meteorological and physico-chemical data relating to the processes during transmission (art. 8 (e));
  4. The need to use comparable or standardized procedures for monitoring whenever possible (art. 9 (b));
  5. The establishment of monitoring stations and the collection of data under the national jurisdiction of the country in which the monitoring station is located (art. 9 (c));
  6. The establishment of a framework for a cooperative environmental monitoring programme, based on and taking into account present and future national, subregional and other international programmes (art. 9 (d));
  7. The desirability of extending the national EMEP networks to make them operational for control and surveillance purposes (art. 9 (i)).
  8. Countries are required to provide information on emissions for use in the model calculations.
Croatia is the Party to the LRTAP Convention since 1992 (by accession). In the EMEP programme Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia participates since 1981 when two monitoring sites have been established (Zavižan and Puntijarka). Since then, MHSC actively participates in the monitoring programme and exchange of measurement data. Since 1992 it has participated in other components of the scientific programme (task forces and scientific workshops) and the Steering Body of EMEP.
Key words Environment, air pollution, transboundary fluxes, emissions, deposition, air concentrations, emission reduction, monitoring, modelling.
Contact person Sandra Krmpotić, MINGOR, e-mail:
Duration 1981 -
Cooperation Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development