Measuring and Monitoring Community-Level Emissions: Scalable Qualitative Solutions toward SDGs 1 and 13

In this official side event at the 2024 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) the critical issue of air pollution and how it impacts on public health and climate change is addressed. The event is free to attend and open to all. Pre-registration required.

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Measuring and Monitoring Community-Level Emissions: Scalable Qualitative Solutions toward SDGs 1 and 13

Date: Tuesday 16 July 2024
Time: 1:15-2:30pm EST (13:15-14:30)
Venue: Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, New York

Organised by:
The International Association of Universities (IAU)
University of Bergen
Habitable Air project
with partners:
Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN
Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN
Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the UN
International Science Council (ISC)
Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP)


Air pollution is a critical issue, exacerbated by urbanization and poverty, that impacts public health and contributes to climate change. With many cities failing to meet the World Health Organization's air quality standards, pollutants like black carbon and sulphur dioxide harm both humans and the environment. This growing problem underscores the urgency highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 – No Poverty, which addresses poverty and urbanization, and SDG 13 – Climate Action, which focuses on climate change impacts, especially on vulnerable populations. Despite the severity of these threats, there is a lack of publicly available information on emissions exposure in poor communities, and regulatory guidelines often do not address local or cross-border issues effectively.

This side event organised by the University of Bergen and the International Association of Universities (IAU), with other partners, aligns with the 2024 High-Level Political Forum's theme of "Eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises" by focusing on SDG 1 and SDG 13. It aims to foster collaboration among marginalized communities, governments, academia, and the private sector to improve the measurement and monitoring of community-level emissions. The event features experts from various sectors, including academia, NGOs, and technology startups, who will discuss policies, technologies, and community-driven practices to tackle emissions. The discussion includes case studies from the United States, South Africa, and Germany, and presents findings from a long-term study on low-cost air monitors in poor communities. The panel will provide actionable recommendations for policymakers and academia to enhance emission measurement and monitoring, ultimately supporting efforts to alleviate poverty and address climate change.

We ask:

  • What are the key challenges to effective community-level emissions monitoring?
  • What kinds of practices do poor communities use to measure and monitor community-level emissions? Does it include the use of air quality data?
  • What are the needs of poor communities, and “best practices” to scale actionable community-level emissions data?
  • How does air quality data promote SDGs 1 and 13, and how can other SDGs benefit from the capacity building explored in this discussion?


  • Welcoming words from host organizations and country sponsors
  • Individual speaker presentations, including a 5-minute documentary on research results
  • Moderated roundtable discussion
  • World premiere of a new short documentary by Dara Kell: “Breathscapes: A Film about Air
  • Audience Q&A
  • Closing


  • State Secretary Bjørg Sandkjær, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway: Opening remarks
  • Associate Professor Kerry Chance, University of Bergen and Principal Investigator (PI) of the Habitable Airresearch project: Air quality monitoring pilot project results
  • Associate Professor Peter DeCarlo, Johns Hopkins: Petrochemical-focused environmental justice air monitoring projects in the US
  • CEO and Founder David Hagan, Quant AQ: Ethics and other challenges of air monitoring
  • Founder Sharon Lavigne, Rise St James: Community perspective on air quality and monitoring efforts
  • Professor Chris Walley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Air monitoring within the context of the environmental justice movement
  • CEO Salvatore Aricò, International Science Council (ISC): Closing remarks
  • Founder and CEO Adrian Dybwad, Purple Air: Technology demonstration

Moderator: Morgan Seag, International Science Council (ISC)

A light lunch will be served at the side event.