The #Cityzens4CleanAir Campaign

Why the Cityzens for Clean Campaign? 

Africa’s population is young (median age 19.4 years) and rapidly urbanising. High rates of urban poverty and largely unplanned urban environments compromise well-being and are contributing to a rising burden of both infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Despite an urgent need for healthy urban environments to reverse this trajectory, the continent’s mostly unplanned urban development, coupled with unresponsive governance in growing cities, offer few opportunities for health creation and disease prevention, with most urban residents also experiencing environmental vulnerability.

These cities are dually characterised by rapidly growing informal settlements and increasing investment in new greenfield urban development initiatives, with a largely untapped opportunity to harness this rapid pace of change and the young population for sustainable urban health initiatives.

To read more about the UrbanBetter Cityzens4CleanAir Campaign and how to get involved visit our Cityzens4CleanAir website.

Our Vision

By 2030, all urban infrastructure projects in Africa will embed health and climate resilience principles in their design and implementation.

The Run Leaders selected in each city are:

Meet the Cityzens for Clean Air




We asked the Run Leaders to tell us about themselves, what clean air means to them and why they are advocating for clean air and healthy public space in their city. Watch what they had to say:

Key Findings

To interact with the data using our interactive data platform, follow these steps:







Cape Town

Calls To Action

Run Leaders reviewed the data stories they generated and used these findings to develop evidence-informed advocacy goals and calls to action for decision makers in Cape Town, Accra and Lagos.


– the overall call to action on how policymakers can take action for clean air in cities.

– the 2-page city-specific briefs for Cape Town, Accra and Lagos

– the Citizen Science Insights of Air Quality report

Advocacy Toolkit

We are happy to share the slogans, banner designs and social media messaging in this handy advocacy toolkit

At COP27...

A selection of the young citizen scientists from Lagos, Accra, and Cape Town represented the initiative at COP27 in Egypt.

Below are the Cityzens4CleanAir events that took place at COP27:

(NB a comprehensive list of all UrbanBetter activities at COP27 can be found here).

9 November: Youth Pavillion at 13:35pm (Egypt time)

Citizen scientists discussed air pollution leadership and intergenerational action.

10 November: Multilevel Action Pavillion at 10:00am (Egypt time)

We shared this campaign in a discussion on the role of youth and research in African city resilience.

10-12 November: Exhibit (Booth 11)

An interactive exhibit in the blue zone featured citizen scientists, their advocacy messages, data story results, and campaign policy proposals. The exhibit allowed COP27 delegates to hear from the Run Leaders and interact further with these findings and with the project team who were at COP. 

You can interact with the exhibit on the United Nations Climate Change Side Event / Exhibit archive 

10 November: On social media

November 10 was COP 27’s youth and science day. So we undertook a global social media campaign to promote this effort in addition to October and November clean air runs. This day emphasised the need to measure and treat air pollution for health and climate action. To achieve this aim, we built an advocacy toolkit to help the wider public join this mobilisation from anywhere in the world and improve the urban environment one breath at a time.

An UrbanBetter Cityzens Initiative

in collaboration with:


Funded by: