Keynote Speakers

Ms Cecilia Njenga

Head, UNEP office in South Africa​

Cecilia Njenga – Head of the UN Environment Office in South Africa, is an Economist/Urban and Regional Planner with over twenty five years of progressive work experience in urban environmental management, policy development, analysis and implementation of which 20 years have been at the international level. During the last nineteen years, Cecilia been working with United Nations, building on her managerial and leadership capacity in programme development and management and inter agency cooperation. In the last six years she has been tasked with establishing the strategic presence for UNEP in the Southern Africa region. Her role has entailed political and policy analysis and assessing environmental trends in the Southern Africa region to generate knowledge, information and early warning for policy and decision making and incorporate them into UN Environment’s policy and programme development. Through strategic partnerships with Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) actively participating in thematic and technical teams and providing substantive policy support to regional, sub-regional and trans-boundary political processes. During my free time, Cecilia is a lover of classical music, theatre and art.

Keynote Title: Creating Awareness for Better Air Quality in African Cities

Abstract – Reducing air pollution in Africa could potentially prevent thousands of premature deaths, reduce crop yield loss and contribution to climate change. However, there is little evidence generated in Africa to support policy action and interventions targeted to reducing air pollution levels and its impacts. This may be because there is a dearth of ground air quality monitoring in Africa, paucity of health studies to build evidence on the magnitude of mortalities, morbidities and loss of productivity from ill-health associated with air pollution. Furthermore, there is inequality in accessing clean air and experiencing ill health as these impact the poor and vulnerable populations more. Accurate and timely information is a powerful tool to mitigate the harmful effects of air pollution, but this is scarce, costly or inaccessible to most Africans. Leveraging emerging technologies and media to communicate to a wider, dynamic and vibrant community can be useful in bridging this gap. It is in this context the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), together with UN-Habitat and partners piloted the Urban Air Quality Platform, an innovative real-time integrated platform that showcases initial mapping of air quality in African cities.

Dr Thuli N. Khumalo​​

National Air Quality Officer, The Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries

Dr Thuli N. Khumalo, is the South African National Air Quality Officer with more than ten years work experience in air quality management. She is responsible for coordinating matters pertaining to air quality management in national government, including identification, development, and implementation and monitoring of national policies, strategies, norms, standards and action-plans aimed at continuous improvement of air quality in the republic.

 

 


Keynote Title: State of Air in South Africa: 2020 Report

Abstract – The purpose of State of Air for South Africa, 2020 is to give an overview of the state of air quality in the country, providing insight into the sources of emissions, and their associated health, welfare, and broader environmental effects. The report summarizes current status of ambient air quality nationally, management practices, developments in legislation as well as exploring opportunities for reducing emissions and improving the quality of the air. In characterizing the national state of air quality, reference is made to air quality monitoring data for over 120 stations across the country. The report focuses mainly on two criteria pollutants, PM10 and SO2. A summary of industrial emissions inventories is also presented based on emissions from 2019. Highlights of major programmes and new developments on various interventions to improve air quality in South Africa are shared. Finally, future air quality management developments will be presented for stakeholders to take note of, especially changes in the legislation.

Dr Yuguang Zhou

Associate Professor of Bioenergy and Environmental Science and Technology Laboratory at the China Agricultural University

Yuguang Zhou is currently an Associate Professor of Bioenergy and Environmental Science and Technology Laboratory at the China Agricultural University, doctoral supervisor, secretary of Key Technologies for Cleaner Utilization of Renewable Energy by the Ministry of Agriculture and National International Joint Research Center for Bioenergy Science and Technology. He is the Chinese expert on ISO TC285. In recent years, Dr. Zhou has hosted more than 20 Chinese national, provincial and ministerial as well as international scientific research projects, totally 7.5 million RMB. Dr. Zhou has published more than 20 papers as the first author, corresponding author and co-author

 

Keynote Title: Clean Heating for Residents in Rural Areas in Northern China

Abstract – According to the report, Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, China remained the largest coal production and consumption country on earth during 2019, contributing 47.6% and 51.7% of the total, respectively. With the increasing pressure of environment pollution and clean energy demand, China has made enormous strides in raising its share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption. Kinds of sustainable energy such as natural gas, electric, biogas and solid biofuel are actively promoted to reduce domestic emissions from solid fuel combustion in rural areas. Our tests and research had shown significant improvements in indoor and outdoor air quality in villages in Hebei Province, with a coal-to-electricity/gas shift. Considering the economic affordability of clean energy and the inherent straw resources in rural areas, biomass energy has gained increased attention in the clean energy transformation in rural domestic heating and cooking sector.

Dr Yvonne Scorgie

Senior Team Leader / Acting Director, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Yvonne Scorgie is a science leader focused on climate, energy, air quality and health research to support evidence-based policies which deliver positive outcomes for communities and the environment. In her current role as Senior Team Leader of Net Zero Emissions Modelling within the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Yvonne leads greenhouse gas emission pathways modelling to inform the state’s actions towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Before joining the public service, Yvonne was an environmental consultant in Australia and South Africa specialising in air quality assessment and management. She has served as NSW Branch President of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand and as President of NACA.

 

Keynote Title: Air Quality and Health Benefits of Transitioning to Cleaner Energy and Transport: A case study for Greater Sydney, Australia ​

Abstract – Although air quality in Sydney and other Australian cities is generally good with typical air pollutant concentrations lower than levels in many other parts of the world, air pollution continues to impact human health and the economy. Chronic exposure to fine particle pollution from anthropogenic sources is estimated to result in billions of dollars of annual health costs in the Greater Sydney metropolitan region of New South Wales (NSW). Acute exposures to bushfire smoke impacts can significantly increase the health burden in some years, such as in 2019-20 when smoke from large scale wildfires impacted the more densely populated eastern Australian seaboard.  

The NSW Government is committed to taking responsible action on climate change, with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Major programs include actions to accelerate the uptake of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and to increase energy efficiency within residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Addressing climate change by transitioning to cleaner energy and vehicles can deliver air quality improvements and associated health and economic benefits.

Dr Chris Dore

Director from Aether Ltd, United Kingdom

Dr Chris Dore has nearly 30 years of experience in emissions inventories, and is a leading figure in air pollutant emission inventories. He specialises in supporting governments around the world with emissions inventory development and capacity building, and using environmental data for policy formation and review. As the Chair of the UN/ECE Task Force on Emission Inventories and Projections, he is responsible for the EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory Guidebook of methodologies for estimating air pollutant emissions from all sources. In 2020 Chris was placed 4th in FairForce’s top 100 environmental data entrepreneurs. Chris spent many years working in, and then leading, the well-respected UK emission inventory team before founding Aether Ltd – a company specialising in emissions inventories. He works on projects for the UN, the European Commission and numerous governments around the world.

Keynote Title: Key Considerations in Planning an Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory

Prof. Dr. Milena Horvat

Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Jožef Stefan Institute, and Dean of the International Postgraduate School Jožef Stefan, Slovenia

Milena Horvat is currently Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Jožef Stefan Institute (www.environment.si) and she is also Dean of the International Postgraduate School Jožef Stefan (www.mps.si). She graduated from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1989 in the field of analytical chemistry, further completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the USA, after which she continued her work at the UN IAEA (Principality of Monaco), that has opened her international collaborations world-wide. 

Aside from her extensive publications, she is actively involved in Hg policy development at the United Nations and the European Union. Her outreach related activities are well documented through her membership in relevant scientific and professional associations and committees. Lately she has been a member of the UNEP’s Partnership Programme on (1) Fate and Transport and (2) Mercury Emissions from Coal. She has also been nominated as member of the Experts for the UNEP’s Effectiveness Evaluation of the Minamata Convention on Hg.

Prof. dr. Horvat’s mentoring activities have resulted in 16 PhD theses and 6 on-going PhD theses, 5 MSc theses and over 20 BSc theses. Her continued research as a coordinator of numerous research projects/programmes at national, European and global level includes the following EU funded projects: (1) EMPIR MercOx – Traceability of oxidized mercury, (2) ERAChair Iso-Food – Food safety and traceability and (3) MASSTWIN – Mass spectrometry in food, environment and health. These projects bring together academia, industry and other stakeholders.

She has received an award for her international research activities (Ambassador of Sciences in 2002), and in 2014 she received a national Zois award for her research excellence. Her most recent achievement is that of beneficiary of the prestigious Kathryn Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award, which she was awarded in 2019 at the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, held in Krakow Poland, for her outstanding and continued contribution to Hg research.