Bilateral collaboration - collaboration between countries in the field of environment and climate

Current environmental challenges are generally beyond national borders, and many of Sweden's environmental problems cannot be solved within its own borders. Long-term, strategic, bilateral collaboration is needed for Sweden as well as other countries, and can pave the way for other strategic core issues. It is included in Sweden's environmental policy.

Bilateral collaboration is a type of long-term collaboration on development. Collaboration takes place between two parties, in which support from Sweden goes to another country or region.

There is a bilateral appropriation from the government in the field of environment and climate. It is earmarked for collaboration with countries that have a large influence on the global environment and/or have strategic importance for global collaboration on the environment and climate.

Collaboration between government agencies is an important and pragmatic part of bilateral collaboration. Four agencies under the Ministry of the Environment and Energy are collaborating within the above appropriation:

  • The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
  • The Swedish Chemicals Agency
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • SMHI

The appropriation is administrated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency The funds agreed on are paid to the agencies in the form of grants. The agencies are responsible for planning and implementing collaboration measures within the framework of the funds granted.

During the last few years, SMHI has participated in activities in Chile, Brazil, South Africa, India, China and Russia within the frame of bilateral collaboration.

Chile and Brasil

Air environment in Chile

SMHI has been working with a pilot project in Osorno, a town in the south of Chile. The aim was to develop a method of quantifying emissions of particles and their impact in towns in the south of Chile, where wood is burned for domestic heating.

SMHI's advice has helped the Chilean ministry to better understand and deal with the problems of wood burning in the south of Chile. Legislation on maximum permitted particle emissions from new wood burning stoves has now been introduced. SMHI has participated in the assessment of expected effects of the legislation in the town of Osorno.

Report from the air environment project in Osorno, southern Chile (2.9 MB, pdf)

SMHI has also carried out seminars on air pollution issues and short-lived climate pollutants in Chile.

Levels of particles in Brazil

With the help of Chilean experts and experience gained from the collaboration with Chile, SMHI has carried out a pilot project in the town of Sapiranga in Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil. Levels of particles in the air were estimated by measuring and modelling. Results from the project indicate that particle levels in a small town like Sapiranga may be high due to wood burning, among other things. It is important that this problem is noticed and measures are taken, so that attention is not only given to pollution in large cities. The project was mostly carried out in 2014 and the final report was submitted in March 2015. It has received a lot of attention in the state.

Report from the air environment project in Sapiranga in Brazil (5.6 MB, pdf)

South Africa

Better water management for uMngeni River in South Africa

uMngeni River in eastern South Africa is stressed by uneven water availability to meet the water demand from the population and the agricultural sector, as well as problems with the water quality. The area has a number of large dams, as well as many small irrigation dams. To meet the water demand in the area, water is transferred in water lines from the adjacent Mooi River. At the estuary the larger city of Durban is situated. Local authorities need a support system that can provide a basis for planning and decision-making on water management in the region.

Sweden and South Africa have initiated a bilateral cooperation with the goal of creating a decision support system for river. Sweden is represented by SMHI. In the first part of the project, SMHI set up the hydrological calculation model HYPE for uMngeni River basin and collected the data on the river that are available. This was done together with researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The first phase of the work is summarized in the report Source to sea: tracing causes of water quality problems and evaluating potential mitigation options. Case study of uMngeni river, South Africa (1.2 MB, pdf). In the next step, SMHI together with local representatives will fine-tune the model and use it to develop different scenarios that can be used as a basis for the water management in the area. The project will run until 2018.

Air environment in South Africa

Sweden and South Africa have created a bi-national commission, BNC, in which common issues in areas such as research are discussed and developed. The work of the BNC is mainly carried out in a number of committees. At this year's BNC meeting in Stockholm, a new Committee on Environment, Water and Energy was established . The committee took up work by SMHI on the air environment, water and climate as areas where the countries can continue to develop their cooperation.

In order to investigate adverse health effects on groups of people exposed to air pollution, SMHI surveyed the levels in South Africa in 2015. SMHI also participated in a mission to South Africa in March 2015, along with Sweden's environmental ambassador and representatives of other Swedish authorities. Valuable contacts were made during the trip between SMHI and scientists and government officials in South Africa.

India and China

Climate pollutants in India and China

The Ministry of the Environment and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, SMHI and the Swedish Embassy in India held two seminars on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) in February 2015 in Delhi, India, in conjunction with the annual ”Delhi Sustainable Development Summit”. The Indian co-organisers were the ”Centre for Science and Environment” and ”The Energy and Resources Institute”.

Through this bilateral collaboration, the Swedish authorities have been proactive to create international-Chinese collaboration on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). Together with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Stockholm Environment Institute, SMHI organised a two-dayworkshop on SLCP in Beijing. The dialogue and exchange of knowledge between Sweden and China in this field have been consolidated by the workshop. Sweden was given a leading role in the newly established working group on SLCP as a result of the bilateral collaboration.


Climate and clean air in Russia

In March 2014 a seminar in Moscow was carried out on SLCP issues and the working methods of the Coalition for Climate And Clean Air, CCAC, in order to encourage Russian participation in the coalition.  A large number of experts from several Russian air pollution organisations attended the seminar, together with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, SMHI and the Ministry of the Environment. It can be assumed that the seminar contributed to Russia joining the CCAC in 2014.

Sustainable cities in Russia

The National Knowledge Centre for Climate Adaptation at SMHI and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency were given the task of compiling material for the presentation and comparison of the environmental performance of different cities and technologies in order to obtain an overview of Swedish work with sustainable cities. At the same time, a "toolbox" was put together to initiate and run sustainable urban projects in the future. This initiative provides a good platform for work with sustainable cities, both in Russia and in other partner countries, including methodology and reference data for comparisons of both policies and performance between different urban areas.