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Thailand and Laos

Integrated Policy Analysis and Modeling for the Transboundary Air Pollution Challenge in Thailand and Lao PDR

The project aimed to develop integrated tools for policy analysis and modeling of the air pollution challenge in Vientiane province, Laos PDR, and Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Conducted by the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, the Millennium Institute developed the Integrated Ambient Air Pollution (IAP) model to analyze policy interventions addressing air pollution. The model focused on key sources and drivers of air pollution, their implications for health and socio-economic development, and potential policy interventions. The project, spanning 26 months from January 2021 to March 2023, included participatory systems mapping with stakeholders, data collection, technical model development, and policy scenario simulations. It concluded with training workshops in both provinces to enable stakeholders to use the model for effective policy development and investment scenario analysis.

Key Policies and Reccomendations

  1. Comprehensive Approach to Air Pollution Management: Address air pollution in Chiang Rai and Vientiane by targeting all major emission sources with a combination of policies, focusing on waste burning, household cooking, transport, and industrial activities.

  2. Prioritize Cost-Effective Interventions: Invest in 'low-hanging fruit' interventions like improved waste management and clean cookstoves in household cooking, which are cost-effective and yield significant reductions in particulate emissions.

  3. Tackle Stubborn Emission Sectors: Focus on longer-term, more resistant sectors like transport and industry, which may require more complex and expensive interventions such as electric vehicles and improved emission standards in industries.

  4. Improve Data Quality and Availability: Enhance the collection and availability of provincial-scale data to improve model projections and policy decision-making, particularly in areas like transport activity volumes, waste burning, and industrial production.

  5. Enhance Regional Cooperation: Recognize the significance of cross-border emissions and work towards regional cooperation through ASEAN and other mechanisms to effectively address transboundary air pollution challenges.

  6. Consider Seasonal Variations: Acknowledge that while certain sources like forest fires and agricultural burning might contribute modestly to annual emissions, they are significant point source contributors during specific times of the year and require targeted interventions.

  7. Future Model Development: Expand the scope and depth of future models to include more detailed analysis of specific sectors and short-term variability of emission sources, addressing limitations of the current models.

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