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Research report

The State of Global Air Quality Funding 2020

7 September 2020
The State of Global Air Quality Funding 2020 provides an analysis of global Official Development Finance and foundation funding flows towards outdoor air quality initiatives between 2015 and 2019. Its aim is to identify gaps in funding and opportunities for strategic investment and collaboration to deliver clean air for all.

The State of Global Air Quality Funding 2020 provides an overview of global grant funding for air quality initiatives from philanthropic foundation and Official Development sources. It summarises the level of funding going towards addressing air pollution, as well as the motivations and location of donors, the geographical spread of recipients and the number of organisations both making and receiving donations.

The Clean Air Fund was able to identify just US $273m in grant funding to directly tackle outdoor air pollution over the past five years. This represents a tiny fraction of philanthropic foundation and development funding overall, and falls far short of what is needed when 90% of the world’s population live in places where the air they breathe is damaging their health.

Launching the report on the UN’s first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations and currently Chairman, Republic of Korea National Council of Climate and Air Quality, said:

“The clean air movement is at a tipping point. Outdoor air pollution is responsible for over 4 million deaths every year. It shares many of the same causes as climate change, for which we are dangerously close to a point of no return. At the same time, political will to tackle air pollution is rising. In this context, this report gives an important basis for targeting funding where it is most urgently needed and allows funders to see who else is working on similar or complementary projects”

The report notes that the need for action has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Exposure to toxic air has worsened the health of communities globally, leaving millions predisposed to the most severe impacts of the disease. It also makes clear that we now have a critical window of opportunity to address air pollution as a central part of the global recovery effort, which would deliver on multiple development goals at once. This will require bold, decisive and informed leadership, and effective global collaboration.