The “European Federation of Clean Air and Environmental Protection Associations”, EFCA, is a scientific international, non-political, non-governmental and non-profit expert organisation, committed to the advancement of environmental science, environmental technology, environmental policy and environmental management, recognizing the need for protection of the environment and public health, in the interest of European environmental policy, the national Associations and the public at large in the whole of Europe.
EFCA is active in the field of air pollution sciences and environmental protection, taking into account relations with the climate change problem. By taking position at the interface between science and (European) policy on environmental problems, it aims to contribute to the identification of solutions with a sound scientific basis, which are technologically feasible, deliverable, cost-effective and politically acceptable.
This defines EFCA’s mission as to help to achieve policies and measures that will protect the environment, climate and human health in Europe against the effects of pollution while fostering sustainable development.
EFCA was founded by the core European members of the IUAPPA (International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection Associations). The foundation of an independent Federation was a response to the decision of the European Council and Parliament that protection of the environment should be a topic for a joint policy. It was felt that a specific European science based organisation would have a role to play in this as an independent source of information and analysis. This role has been developed since the beginning of this century and covers the domains of air quality issues and climate change policies. EFCA’s objectives have been welcomed at the European institutional level.
EFCA’s member associations represent the leading expertise in relevant fields and have strong links to regulators, NGOs, industry, local government and civil societies throughout Europe. With their support, EFCA encourages professional activity and co-operation among and between experts and the professional associations in Europe and fosters the exchange and correct use of knowledge at local, national and international level. In return EFCA informs the members of EFCA associations on policy developments that are relevant to Europe. EFCA’s historic ties with IUAPPA assist EFCA to operate from a global perspective and provide a forum where European priorities can be presented at the global level.
3. Priority topics
EFCA is committed to a policy of constructive engagement in dialogue with the different parties to environmental policy in Europe and to developing and publishing Policy Initiatives to advise policymakers. Building on the several scientific conferences and workshops of its Members and its Policy Initiatives during the strategy period 2007-2011, EFCA aims to focus its attention at the following topics:Co-benefits
· Integration between climate change and clean air policies and harvesting the co-benefits of such an approach. Expected new European legislation may be optimised with respect to effectiveness at national and local levels and instruments may be developed to further a successful implementation. EFCA is available for specific advice to the European Commission.Clean Air
· Within the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN-Economic Commission for Europe (CLRTAP/UN-ECE), EFCA, as Observer to the Convention, will monitor its initiatives, in particular the revisions of the Protocols agreed under the Convention.
· The Clean Air for Europe programme (CAFE, 2001-2005), as further developed under the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution (TSAP; 2006-2010), is now being taking forward with new proposals to be issued by the end of 2012. EFCA will pay attention to a number of specific elements in proposals for new legislation:
– improving the balance between source-oriented policies and air quality requirements (effects based policies);
– further development of population-exposure-weighted quality objectives and requirements, as preferred metrics for health risks across Europe;
– the legislation on particulate matter: new evidence – such as presented at the series of EFCA-symposia on ultrafine particles – has shown that the present legislation for PM10 and PM2.5 is likely to be less adequate for the protection of public health than previously expected. EFCA will assess new insights and subsequent initiatives. In particular EFCA will assess proposals to focus on Black Carbon Particulate, combining its value as an additional indicator of health risks, including reduced life expectancy, with its implications for climate change objectives and its consequences for present legislation.
· In the context of CAFE, the area of Transport and Traffic has a high priority because of its key importance in many European cities as they seek compliance with clean air objectives; it also provides options for integrated approaches, including with climate change measures.Biodiversity
· The impact of air pollution and climate change on biodiversity entered EFCA’s agenda after IUAPPA’s “Vancouver Declaration” in 2010. Assessing options for policy development in the domains of climate change and air quality from which biodiversity could benefit are a likely approach.
Other topics within the broad areas of Clean Air and Climate Change may be added, depending on their urgency and scope for cooperation with other relevant organisations. EFCA welcomes such opportunities for cooperation, including on energy policies, agriculture (Common Agricultural Policy after 2013, for example), spatial and urban planning, indoor air pollution and others.
EFCA has recognised a number of activities which could serve its objectives and those of its members and is aware that pursuing these requires a pro-active approach. The most relevant activities are:Conferences
Sponsoring conferences, organized primarily by its members, has been EFCA’s most prominent activity during the last 15 years. The aim of this activity is to provide a platform for debate and, through conference conclusions, to advance the understanding of environmental issues and measures to manage them. The expertise of EFCA-members in the selection of relevant topics and their knowledge of and access to target groups will ensure that this will remain an important activity for the next five years. EFCA will continue to encourage its members to develop conference initiatives and to consider positively invitations from other parties for cooperation in developing and delivering conferences. EFCA will continue to have its considerable and expanding network for the promotion of conferences and other similar events.Workshops
Workshops are a more recent addition to EFCA’s activities. Workshops (or the more open seminars), with more focussed and targeted programming, provide an ideal platform for exploring specific themes and sharing knowledge. They can produce state-of-the-art overviews and stimulate quality discussions; resulting in added value for scientists, as well as stakeholders, engaged actively in policy development. In addition, workshops are very suitable for strategic cooperation with stakeholders. EFCA expects that workshops will take a larger share in its activity programme in the next five years; it will be open for cooperation with other parties and will encourage its members to assist in making that expectation true.
Participation in relevant European working groups
In relation to its priority topics EFCA may offer experts for participation in working groups of the EU, UNECE or other bodies.Projects
Projects related to environmental policy, though not EFCA’s core-business, may promote European cooperation within and across European countries. As the membership of EFCA associations includes research institutes and consultancies, together with industry, regulators, local authorities and NGOs, EFCA is in a strong position to form consortia through its network and is open to cooperation itself. EFCA can compose teams of experts on a variety of topics within its field on request, championing scientific analysis of problems and promoting potential solutions. It also has the capability to manage and conduct peer review studies.Website
EFCA started its website, www.efca.net, in 2002. It is an essential asset for EFCA in realising its ambitions. Apart from providing information on EFCA itself and its members the website supports the following functions:
· Announcement of EFCA sponsored activities, such as conferences, workshops, etc.
· Publication of selected presentations or summaries of these resulting from EFCA sponsored conferences, special sessions or workshops
· Organised presentations of scientific and policy-oriented information on environmental topics, with special attention for the European situation, by providing relevant links as well as by placing documents at the site
· Keeping a glossary of essential terminology and concepts on environmental topics up-to-date
· Publication of activities of its members and of others on request
· Facilitation of exchange of ideas and information through the internet by organised discussions on the Forum pages
EFCA is committed to improve the value of its website in the next five years.Newsletter
The EFCA-Newsletter, which has been published since 2007, aims to increase the internal cohesion within the federation by reporting on the observations of EFCA’s officials and delegates in the scientific and policy arena in Europe and by circulating information from within EFCA countries and their associations. The electronic format is meant to facilitate circulation within EFCA’s member associations and among EFCA’s external relations.Publications
The delivery of publications is an additional means to satisfy EFCA’s objectives. EFCA can support its members with the publication of proceedings of conferences or workshops, both on paper or on electronic information carriers, or the publication of a special issue of a scientific journal; in particular, the journal “Environmental Sciences, Journal of Integrative Environmental Research”(VVM) of which EFCA is co-founder, and international journals of EFCA Members, such as “Pollution Atmosphérique” (APPA) and “Air Pollution Research” (TUNCAP) is to be considered in relevant cases.Mutual help and assistance among members
Furthermore, EFCA-members are committed by their membership to support each other in a variety of ways: promoting international activities of sister organisations, providing assistance in the identification of speakers on specific topics, nominating experts for (national) projects and other services which are in the interest of EFCA and/or its members.
5. External liaisons
EFCA cannot achieve its objectives in isolation and should, as far as its capacities allow, liaise with other stakeholders in the fields in which it wants to operate. While many external liaisons are operational, on an informal basis through personal contacts of EFCA Officials, liaisons have been developed on a more formal basis with bodies that lead on EFCA’s priority topics with EFCA’s programme:
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: EFCA obtained observer status in 2010;
- The Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UNECE: an accreditation has been obtained in 2007;
- Several Directorates-General of the European Commission: regular exchanges with DG Environment and contacts on an ad hoc basis with the DG’s Climate Action; Energy; Agriculture and Rural Development; Industry and Entrepreneurship; Transport; Research, Innovation and Science;
- The Joint Research Centre of the EU in Ispra: the relation with ‘Ispra’ was specifically formed around the CAFE programme and now extends to other activities, including Climate Action and the integration of policy development in both domains.
EFCA’s activities on its priority topics result in opening liaisons with additional European organisations on an ad hoc basis; liaising with stakeholders in the CAFE Programme or Climate Change policy and with NGOs whose objectives are compatible with EFCA’s.
The level of activity which EFCA can achieve is dependent on its resources: budget, capacity andexpertise.
As an independent federation without any subsidies EFCA’s annual budget is limited to membership fees. EFCA’s activities, in consequence, are completely run by volunteers, though out-of-pocket expenses may be covered by sponsorship from partners.
EFCA’s capacity consists of a group of officials and delegates from supported by EFCA member associations. The personal experience and extensive networks in their own countries of EFCA members constitute the expertise of the federation.
In line with its ambition to increase its field of active participation, EFCA is committed to explore possibilities to increase the capacity of its resources in the three respects mentioned above.
7. Public relations and communication
Apart from the activities which it develops or sponsors, EFCA presents itself to the outer world in the following ways:
- by publishing the three-yearly EFCA Handbook; containing essential information on EFCA as an NGO, its activities and its members; and targeted on members and other bodies in partnership with EFCA
- through a concise brochure with key data on EFCA, suitable as hand-out for external relations
- by maintaining a website, www.efca.net; the website includes the information in the Handbook, in a regularly updated form
- with the EFCA Newsletter, meant for electronic distribution among the members of EFCA associations and among external bodies with which EFCA has relationships.
Coverage in Europe
Since its foundation, participation in EFCA has gradually increased from the original five founders and presently stands at 15 associations. These are operating in 12 countries, 9 of which are Member of the European Union. In the majority of countries which are not represented in EFCA, however, associations that qualify for membership do not exist; in a few countries existing qualifying associations have not yet joined EFCA.
Whilst European coverage is still far from complete, the persistence of environmental problems in Europe justifies the expectation that in more countries organisations with compatible objectives will develop and will be interested in participation in EFCA in future.
EFCA is interested to increase its representation within Europe and will be active in identifying and assisting early initiative. It offers its capability to advise emerging organisations when requested; the great diversity within EFCA member associations may be helpful in this respect.
With respect to participation in EFCA, associations in statu nascendi may join EFCA as observers and have access to information and exchanges immediately. Observers do not pay a membership fee; when applying for membership a fee will be agreed which takes into account the position of the association. Observer status is to be agreed for a period of two years at most after which the candidate Member either applies for full membership or sends a request for extending its Observer status.Approved in Istanbul, 12 September 2012