The Secretariat is a joint venture between four Swedish environmental organisations with the chief purpose of promoting awareness of the problems associated with air pollution and climate change, and thus, in part as a result of public pressure, to bring about the required reduction in the emissions of air pollutants, including greenhouse gases.
The eventual aim is to have those emissions brought down to levels, the so-called critical loads, that the environment can tolerate without suffering damage.
In furtherance of these aims, the secretariat operates as follows:
- Continuously monitoring political trends and scientific developments.
- Acting as an information centre, primarily for European environmentalist organisations, but also for the media, authorities, and researchers.
- Publishing a magazine, Acid News, which is issued four times a year and is distributed free of charge to some 4000 selected recipients.
- Producing and distributing information material.
- Supporting environmentalist bodies in other countries in their work towards common ends.
- Participating in the lobbying and campaigning activities of European environmentalist organisations concerning European policy relating to air quality and climate change, as well as in meetings of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The work of the secretariat is largely directed on the one hand towards eastern Europe, and on the other towards the European Union and its member countries.
As regards the eastern European countries, activity mostly takes the form of supporting and cooperating with the local environmentalist movements. Since 1988, for instance, financial support has been given towards maintaining information centres on energy, transport, and air pollution. All are run by local environmentalist organisations.
The secretariat was formed in 1982 with a board now comprising one representative from each of the following organisations:
Friends of the Earth Sweden
Nature and Youth Sweden
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
World Wide Fund for Nature Sweden