Climate change

Self-paced course

3.5 hours



Air pollution impacts our health, environment and economy. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution causes 7 million deaths every year. Air pollution also causes acidification and eutrophication of ecosystems and leads to global crop losses. In addition, air pollutants can also further exacerbate climate change, and a warmer climate, in turn, also affects air quality and impacts of air pollution.

Air pollutants come from multiple sources, such as traffic, industry and agriculture, and are transported over large distances and across borders. It is therefore paramount that we take action together — across sectors and national boundaries.

To improve air quality, UNECE member States have been working successfully since 1979 to reduce air pollution in the region through the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

This self-paced online course aims to raise awareness about air pollution and its effects, ways to prevent and reduce harmful emissions and the Convention and its protocols as an international framework for cooperation on cleaner air. 

The course features four distinct modules that aim to equip learners with the knowledge and resource materials to understand the main concepts in air pollution management, the basic principles of the Convention and Parties’ obligations under the Convention and its protocols.

The course was developed by the UNECE secretariat on the basis of materials developed under the Convention.

This e-course was made available on UN CC:e-Learn through the new UN CC:Learn affiliation programme, which highlights high-quality e-learning products on climate change developed by recognized institutions outside the framework of the UN CC:Learn programme / without support from the UN CC:Learn Secretariat, in accordance with specific affiliation criteria. The objective of the UN CC:Learn affiliation programme is to enhance global climate literacy through dissemination of high-level learning products that complement UN CC:Learn resources.

What will you learn?

After completing the course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify key air pollutants and their sources and effects 
  • Recall measures to reduce and prevent air pollution
  • Recognize the value of the Convention as a framework for international cooperation to reduce air pollution
  • Define basic principles under the Convention and its protocols
  • Explain the basic obligations under the Convention’s protocols
  • Identify the key stakeholders and processes under the Convention and its protocols

Course structure

The course includes 4 modules: 

  • Module 1: The Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
  • Module 2: The Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol)

  • Module 3: The Protocol on Heavy Metals
  • Module 4: The Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Who is this course for?

The course is primarily designed to build capacities of policymakers, government officials, staff from intergovernmental/non-governmental organizations, private sector professionals, students/academia, and other stakeholders. Taking this course should enable learners to contribute to, and ultimately drive forward actions on cleaner air. 

Will you get a certificate?

At the end of the course, learners can take an assessment to receive a certificate of successful completion. Once the certification criteria have been met (passing score 70%) and after filling in a course evaluation form, participants will be able to download their certificate from the course’s webpage.


The project was carried out with funding by Germany, the European Union and Sweden. 

With regard to funding by Germany: This project was funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It was supervised by the Federal Environment Ministry and the German Environment Agency (UBA). The responsibility for the content of this course lies with the authors.

Photo by Felix Mittermeier, Pexels.