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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text


Summary of the "Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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CONVENTION ON LONG-RANGE TRANSBOUNDARY AIR POLLUTION
(Geneva, 13 November 1979)

The Parties to the present Convention,

Determined to promote relations and cooperation in the 
field of environmental protection,

Aware of the significance of the activities of the 
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 
strengthening such relations and co-operation, 
particularly in the field of air pollution including 
long-range transport of air pollutants,

Recognizing the contribution of the Economic Commission 
for Europe to the multilateral implementation of the 
pertinent provisions of the Final Act of the Conference 
on Security and Co-operation in Europe,

Cognizant of the references in the chapter on 
environment of the Final Act of the Conference on 
Security and Co-operation in Europe calling for co-
operation to control air pollution and its effects, 
including long-range transport of air pollutants, and to 
the development through international cooperation of an 
extensive programme for the monitoring and evaluation of 
long-range  transport of air pollutants, starting with 
sulphur dioxide and with possible extension to other 
pollutants,

Considering the pertinent provisions of the Declaration 
of the United Nations Conference on the Human 
Environment, and in particular principle 21, which 
expresses the common conviction that States have, in 
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and 
the principles of international law, the sovereign right 
to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own 
environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure 
that activities within their jurisdiction or control do 
not cause damage to the environment of other States or 
of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, 
Recognizing the existence of possible adverse effects, 
in the short and long term, of air pollution including 
transboundary air pollution, 

Concerned that a rise in the level of emissions of air 
pollutants within the region as forecast may increase 
such adverse effects, 

Recognizing the need to study the implications of the 
long-range transport of air pollutants and the need to 
seek solutions for the problems identified,

Affirming their willingness to reinforce active 
international cooperation to develop appropriate 
national policies and by means of exchange of 
information, consultation, research and monitoring, to 
coordinate national action for combating air pollution 
including long-range transboundary air pollution,

Have agreed as follows:

DEFINITIONS

Article 1

For the purposes of the present Convention:

(a) "air pollution" means the introduction by man, 
directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the 
air resulting in deleterious effects of such a nature as 
to endanger human health, harm living resources and 
ecosystems and material property and impair or interfere 
with amenities and other legitimate uses of the 
environment, and "air pollutants" shall be construed 
accordingly; 

(b) "long-range transboundary air pollution" means air 
pollution whose physical origin is situated wholly or in 
part within the area under the national jurisdiction of 
one State and which has adverse 
effects in the area under the jurisdiction of another 
State at such a distance that it is not generally 
possible to distinguish the contribution of individual 
emission sources or groups of sources.

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

Article 2

The Contracting Parties, taking due account of the facts 
and problems involved, are determined to protect man and 
his environment against air pollution and shall 
endeavour to limit and, as far as possible, gradually 
reduce and prevent air pollution including long-range 
transboundary air pollution.

Article 3

The Contracting Parties, within the framework of the 
present Convention, shall by means of exchanges of 
information, consultation, research and monitoring, 
develop without undue delay policies and strategies 
which shall serve as a means of combating the discharge 
of air pollutants, taking into account efforts already 
made at national and international levels.

Article 4

The Contracting Parties shall exchange information on 
and review their policies, scientific activities and 
technical measures aimed at combating, as far as 
possible, the discharge of air pollutants which may have 
adverse effects, thereby contributing to the reduction 
of air pollution including long-range transboundary air 
pollution.

Article 5

Consultations shall be held, upon request, at an early 
stage between, on the one hand, Contracting Parties 
which are actually affected by or exposed to a 
significant risk of long-range transboundary air 
pollution and, on the other hand, Contracting Parties 
within which and subject to whose jurisdiction a 
significant contribution to long-range transboundary air 
pollution originates, or could originate, in connexion 
with activities carried on or contemplated therein.

AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Article 6

Taking into account articles 2 to 5, the ongoing 
research, exchange of information and monitoring and the 
results thereof, the cost and effectiveness of local and 
other remedies and, in order to combat air pollution, in 
particular that originating from new or rebuilt 
installations, each Contracting Party undertakes to 
develop the best policies and strategies including air 
quality management systems and, as part of them, control 
measures compatible with balanced development, in 
particular by using the best available technology which 
is economically feasible and low- and non-waste 
technology.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Article 7

The Contracting Parties, as appropriate to their needs, 
shall initiate and co-operate in the conduct of research 
into and/or development of:

(a) existing and proposed technologies for reducing 
emissions of sulphur compounds and other major air 
pollutants, including technical and economic 
feasibility, and environmental 
consequences;

(b) instrumentation and other techniques for monitoring 
and measuring emission rates and ambient concentrations 
of air pollutants;

(c) improved models for a better understanding of the 
transmission of long-range transboundary air pollutants;

(d) the effects of sulphur compounds and other major air 
pollutants on human health and the environment, 
including agriculture, forestry, materials, aquatic and 
other natural ecosystems and visibility, with a view to 
establishing a scientific basis for dose/effect 
relationships designed to protect the environment;

(e) the economic, social and environmental assessment of 
alternative measures for attaining environmental 
objectives including the reduction of long-range 
transboundary air pollution;

(f) education and training programmes related to the 
environmental aspects of pollution by sulphur compounds 
and other major air pollutants.

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

Article 8

The Contracting Parties, within the framework of the 
Executive Body referred to in article 10 and 
bilaterally, shall, in their common interests, exchange 
available information on:

(a) data on emissions at periods of time to be agreed 
upon, of agreed air pollutants, starting with sulphur 
dioxide, coming from grid-units of agreed size; or on 
the fluxes of agreed air pollutants, starting with 
sulphur dioxide, across national borders, at distances 
and at periods of time to be agreed upon;
 
(b) major changes in national policies and in general 
industrial development, and their potential impact, 
which would be likely to cause significant changes in 
long-range transboundary air pollution; 

(c) control technologies for reducing air pollution 
relevant to long-range transboundary air pollution;

(d) the projected cost of the emission control of 
sulphur compounds and other major air pollutants on a 
national scale;

(e) meteorological and physico-chemical data relating to 
the processes during transmission;

(f) physico-chemical and biological data relating to the 
effects of long-range transboundary air pollution and 
the extent of the damage  
which these data indicate can be attributed to long-
range transboundary air pollution;

(g) national, subregional and regional policies and 
strategies for the control of sulphur compounds and 
other major air pollutants.

IMPLEMENTATION AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE CO-
OPERATIVE PROGRAMME FOR THE MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF 
THE LONG-RANGE TRANSMISSION OF AIR POLLUTANTS IN EUROPE

Article 9

The Contracting Parties stress the need for the 
implementation of the existing "Cooperative programme 
for the monitoring and evaluation of the long-range 
transmission of air pollutants in Europe" (hereinafter 
referred to as EMEP) and, with regard to the further 
development of this programme, agree to emphasize:
 
(a) the desirability of Contracting Parties joining in 
and fully implementing EMEP which, as a first step, is 
based on the monitoring of sulphur dioxide and related 
substances;

(b) the need to use comparable or standardized 
procedures for monitoring whenever possible;

(c) the desirability of basing the monitoring programme 
on the framework of both national and international 
programmes. The establishment of monitoring stations and 
the collection of data shall be carried out under the 
national jurisdiction of the country in which the 
monitoring stations are located;

(d) the desirability of establishing a framework for a 
co-operative environmental monitoring programme, based 
on and taking into account present and future national, 
subregional, regional and other international 
programmes;

(e) the need to exchange data on emissions at periods of 
time to be agreed upon, of agreed air pollutants, 
starting with sulphur dioxide, coming from grid-units of 
agreed size; or on the fluxes of agreed air pollutants, 
starting with sulphur dioxide, across national borders, 
at distances and at periods of time to be agreed upon. 
The method, including the model, used to determine the 
fluxes, as well as the method, including the model, used 
to determine the transmission of air pollutants based on 
the emissions per grid-unit, shall be made available and 
periodically reviewed, in order to improve the methods 
and the models;

(f) their willingness to continue the exchange and 
periodic updating of national data on total emissions of 
agreed air pollutants, starting with sulphur dioxide;

(g) the need to provide meteorological and physico-
chemical data relating to processes during transmission;

(h) the need to monitor chemical components in other 
media such as water, soil and vegetation, as well as a 
similar monitoring programme to record effects on health 
and environment;

(i) the desirability of extending the national EMEP 
networks to make them operational for control and 
surveillance purposes.

EXECUTIVE BODY

Article 10

1. The representatives of the Contracting Parties shall, 
within the framework of the Senior Advisers to ECE 
Governments on Environmental Problems, constitute the 
Executive Body of the present Convention, and shall meet 
at least annually in that capacity.

2. The Executive Body shall:

(a) review the implementation of the present Convention;

(b) establish, as appropriate, working groups to 
consider matters related to the implementation and 
development of the present Convention and to this end to 
prepare appropriate studies and other documentation and 
to submit recommendations to be considered by the 
Executive Body;

(c) fulfil such other functions as may be appropriate 
under the provisions of the present Convention.

3. The Executive Body shall utilize the Steering Body 
for the EMEP to play an integral part in the operation 
of the present Convention, in particular with regard to 
data collection and scientific cooperation.

4. The Executive Body, in discharging its functions, 
shall, when it deems appropriate, also make use of 
information from other  relevant international 
organizations.

SECRETARIAT

Article 11

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for 
Europe shall carry out, for the Executive Body, the 
following secretariat functions:

(a) to convene and prepare the meetings of the Executive 
Body; 

(b) to transmit to the Contracting Parties reports and 
other information received in accordance with the 
provisions of the present Convention;

(c) to discharge the functions assigned by the Executive 
Body. 

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONVENTION

Article 12

1. Any Contracting Party may propose amendments to the 
present Convention.

2. The text of proposed amendments shall be submitted in 
writing to the Executive Secretary of the Economic 
Commission for Europe, who shall communicate them to all 
Contracting Parties. The Executive Body shall discuss 
proposed amendments at its next annual meeting provided 
that such proposals have been circulated by the 
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for 
Europe to the Contracting Parties at least ninety days 
in advance.

3. An amendment to the present Convention shall be 
adopted by consensus of the representatives of the 
Contracting Parties, and shall enter into force for the 
Contracting Parties which have accepted it on the 
ninetieth day after the date on which two-thirds of the 
Contracting Parties have deposited their instruments of 
acceptance with the depositary. Thereafter, the 
amendment shall enter into force for any other 
Contracting Party on the ninetieth day after the date on 
which that Contracting Party deposits its instrument of 
acceptance of the amendment.

SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES

Article 13

If a dispute arises between two or more Contracting 
Parties to the present Convention as to the interpre-
tation or application of the Convention, they shall seek 
a solution by negotiation or by any other method of 
dispute settlement acceptable to the parties to the 
dispute.

SIGNATURE

Article 14

1. The present Convention shall be open for signature at 
the United Nations Office at Geneva from 13 to 16 
November 1979 on the occasion of the High-level Meeting 
within the framework of the Economic Commission for 
Europe on the Protection of the Environment, by the 
member States of the Economic Commission for Europe as 
well as States having consultative status with the 
Economic Commission for Europe, pursuant to paragraph 8 
of Economic and Social Council resolution 36 (IV) of 28 
March 1947, and by regional economic integration 
organizations, constituted by sovereign States members 
of the Economic Commission for Europe, which have 
competence in respect of the negotiation, conclusion and 
application of international agreements in matters 
covered by the present Convention.

2. In matters within their competence, such regional 
economic integration organizations shall, on their own 
behalf, exercise the rights and fulfil the responsi-
bilities which the present Convention attributes to 
their member States. In such cases, the member States of 
these organizations shall not be entitled to exercise 
such rights individually.

RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL AND ACCESSION

Article 15

1. The present Convention shall be subject to ratifi-
cation, acceptance or approval.

2. The present Convention shall be open for accession as 
from 17 November 1979 by the States and organizations 
referred to in article 14, paragraph 1.

3. The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval 
or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-
General of the United Nations, who will perform the 
functions of the depositary.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article 16

1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the 
ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the twenty-
fourth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval 
or accession.

2. For each Contracting Party which ratifies, accepts or 
approves the present Convention or accedes thereto after 
the deposit of the twenty-fourth instrument of 
ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, the 
Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day 
after the date of deposit by such Contracting Party of 
its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or 
accession.

WITHDRAWAL

Article 17

At any time after five years from the date on which the 
present Convention has come into force with respect to a 
Contracting Party, that Contracting Party may withdraw 
from the Convention by giving written notification to 
the depositary. Any such withdrawal shall take effect on 
the ninetieth day after the date of its receipt by the 
depositary.

AUTHENTIC TEXTS

Article 18

The original of the present Convention, of which the 
English, French and Russian texts are equally authentic, 
shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the 
United Nations.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly 
authorized thereto, have signed the present Convention.
Done at Geneva, this thirteenth day of November, one 
thousand nine hundred and seventy-nine.