Cambodia In The Driver's Seat Toward Euro VI Standards

by CCAC Secretariat - 10 October, 2023
Cambodia's clean air planning joins global momentum toward best-practice fuel and vehicle emissions standards

Due to rapid industrialisation and population and economic growth rates, Southeast Asian countries are some of the nations worst affected by air-pollution. Around 90% of the region’s population are exposed to levels of air pollution that pose a significant risk to their health, and in 2015, 33 % of global deaths from ambient (outdoor) air pollution occurred in South Asia. 
While Cambodia is less industrialised than other countries in the region – with over 60% of its 16 million people living in the countryside – increasing urbanisation means that transport, electricity generation, industry and residential development have become the largest sources of air pollution. Traditional sources such as wood and charcoal burning, agricultural fires, and the incineration of waste also remain a challenge.  
Through the Ministry of Environment, the government of Cambodia has recently begun to take action to reduce air pollution through it’s Clean Air Plan (CAPC) –  launched in January 2022 with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Clean Air Asia, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). The CAPC identifies the main sources of air pollution and maps a path to reducing air pollution by 60% for PM2.5 (including black carbon) and by 24% for methane by 2031, if fully implemented.  

The CAPC identified transport as one of the top three contributors to Cambodia’s PM2.5 and black carbon emissions. Along with urbanisation vehicle use and ownership is rising. Between 2015 and 2019 the number of registered vehicles in the country rose by around 65%. PM 2.5 emissions were divided across road freight (40%) passenger road transport (38%) and shipping (21%).  

“In Cambodia, as in many other countries, economic development is increasing the levels of airborne particles and other pollutants into the environment. The main sources of environmental pollution include transportation, industry and the burning of biomass,” said Ke Vong Vathana, deputy head of the Ministry of Environment’s General Department of Environmental Protection. 

Transport is, however, an area with a proven pathway toward cleaner fuel and vehicle standards via the implementation of stricter Europe-developed standards. To address this priority sector, in 2022 the CCAC supported Cambodia to develop a project to fully implement Euro IV vehicle emission standards and develop a roadmap to Euro VI standards.

Euro IV standards place tight limits on emissions of compounds such as carbon dioxide and particulate matter for cars and trucks, as well as limiting fuel sulphur content to below 50 parts per million. This requires both changes in fuel refining and vehicle manufacturing to enable the use of particle filters across all vehicles.  
As the majority of the world’s fuel markets already produce fuel in compliance with Euro IV standards at a minimum, for fuel importing countries like Cambodia, most fuel already complies with Euro IV standards.  
The CAPC aims to ensure that all fuel meets Euro V standards by 2024. And that all imported cars meet Euro IV standards as of January 1 2022, and Euro V standards by January 1, 2027. This means that the majority of CCAC support for Cambodia comes in the expansion of regulatory and inspection capacity among government stakeholders, as well as consultation and preparation with vehicle and fuel importers.

Initial stages of implementation have seen workshops for developing technical guidelines for vehicle emission inspection – which will help vehicle inspectors assess compliance with Euro IV standards upon vehicle registration – as well as capacity building training for fuel quality testing. 
The CAPC also plans for improved public transport and reduced imports of older vehicles by 2030 to reduce transport sector emissions. Government tax incentives in parallel with the CAPC have made new car imports more competitive with used car imports. Full implementation of transport emissions mitigation measures for passenger, freight and public transport would lead to 78% reduction in PM2.5 and 73.5% reduction in black carbon by 2030.  Development of the roadmap to Euro VI vehicle emission standards and fuel quality is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2024.  

Pollutants (SLCPs)