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THE RAMPHAL INSTITUTE

1ST RAMPHAL INSTITUTE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON
MEGACITIES AND TOXIC AIR
POLLUTION
LONDON, 27-28 SEPTEMBER, 2018
WOBURN HOUSE, 20-24 TAVISTOCK SQUARE LONDON, WC1H 9QH, UK

Day 1

Speakers:
Prof Frank Kelly, King’s College
Engineer Augustine Ayodele Antonio, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency
Professor Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi
Mr Guy Hitchcock, Low Emission Strategies. Knowledge Leader, Ricardo Energy & Environment
Dr Gillian Maree, Senior Researcher, Gauteng City Region Observatory, Johannesburg
Mr Timothy Adewale, Deputy Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Lagos;
Ambassador Humayun Kabir, Vice-President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones, Medical/Scientific Advisor to the Chair of the APPG on air pollution
Mr Elliot Treharne, Air Quality Manager, London City Hall
Mrs Olabisi Shonibare, Director, Pollution Control, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency
Overview
Whilst megacities are diverse, they share many commonalities around sources of pollution which can
provide a valuable evidence base for informing solutions. Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College opened
the conference by drawing attention to some of the causes of and issues posed by air pollution which
includes a steep burden of disease which consequentially has economic implications. He noted that
some of the issues that developing megacities are facing have been faced by industrialised countries as
evident in the example of London in the 1950’s when coal-based pollution led to high concentrations
of black carbon. Over the course of five decades London cleaned its air through policies such as the
clean air act which transported coal plants outside of the city and shifted the homes’ sources of heat
towards cleaner coals, electricity, and gas.
The ensuing discussion brought together Senior policy makers, academics and Civil Society leaders
from New Delhi, London, Lagos State, Dhaka, and Gauteng to discuss the challenges and solutions to
improving air quality in their Commonwealth megacities.
Key points which emerged were that: air pollution disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable in
society; there is a gap in city level data to deliver evidence based policy making, monitoring and
evaluation; there is a lack of capacity in data analysis; there is a lack of public awareness in developing
Commonwealth megacities on air pollution and political will to tackle this issue is lacking; a disconnect
exists between central and local regional governments when its comes to implementation of policies.
However megacities are working to improve air quality and some examples include the novel use of
data sources to drive policy in Guateng; the provision of gas cylinders for safer indoor cooking in Lagos
State and the planting of trees; the 100 Smart Cities Programme in India which adopts smart technology,
data, and data analytics as a base for evidence based policy making and e-governance; installing solar
panels in new buildings in Dhaka; and the promotion of walking and cycling for health in the UK.

Day 2

Prof Susan Parnell, Universities of Bristol and Cape Town
Dr Ben Barratt, King’s College London
Prof Francis Pope, University of Birmingham
Prof Paul Wilkinson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Mr Iain Williams, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK
Mr Bjarne Pedersen, Executive Director, Clean Air Asia

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Mr Richard Mills, Director-General, International Union of Air Pollution Prevention Associations
Mr Abhik Sen, Partnerships, Commonwealth Secretariat
Ms Rubbina Karruna, Cities Advisor, UK Department for International Development
Dr Greg Munro, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum
Dr William Avis, University of Birmingham
Mr Richard Bourne, Ramphal Institute

Overview
The second day of the conference opened with a keynote address by Professor Susan Parnell on the
global context for megacities after Habitat III. She noted the need for identifying an apex issue such as
health to further the visibility and drive policy solutions for air quality. She also notes that processes
such as the SDGs are driving a call for a new commensurate global urban science to drive a radical
transformative urban agenda, and that there is a need for: a locally credible and scalable urban science
platform; greater cross-disciplinary collaboration; and for a well capacitated and articulate local
government to communicate to the national government in order to secure resources.
The Science panel discussed the governance of air quality from the macro to micro scale. It was agreed
that both top-down and bottom-up approaches should be taken to tackle the problem of air pollution.
We also heard from DEFRA and DFID which offered a systems approach to cities whilst the
Commonwealth Secretariat noted its focus on building partnerships as a cross cutting issue to address
some of the issues faced by Commonwealth megacities.
We heard from some of the agencies working on the ground in the Commonwealth megacities such
as Clean Air Asia and International Union of Air Pollution Prevention Associations.
In the concluding discussion a call for a Commonwealth Movement for Clean Air was suggested.

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