Alongside the introduction of the new standards, the West African group has agreed to upgrade the operations of their national refineries, both public and privately owned, to produce fuels of the same standards by 2020.
UN Environment has been supporting countries in West Africa to develop policies and standards to stop the practice of importing fuel with dangerously high sulphur levels and introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles. Reducing the emissions of the global fleet is essential for reducing urban air pollution and climate emissions. A combination of low sulfur fuels with advanced vehicles standards can reduce harmful emissions of vehicles by as much as 90 per cent.
Nigeria’s Environment Minister Amina J Mohamed said: “For 20 years Nigeria has not been able to address the vehicle pollution crisis due to the poor fuels we have been importing. Today we are taking a huge leap forward – limiting sulfur in fuels from 3000 parts per million to 50 parts per million, this will result in major air quality benefits in our cities and will allow us to set modern vehicle standards.”
In The Hague today, Minister Amina J Mohamed will join Minister Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, to take stock of the progress that is being made in improving the quality of fuels being exported from Dutch ports to West Africa.
Minister Ploumen of The Netherlands, where much of the dirty fuels that are being imported to West Africa come from, said: “The recent report from the NGO Public Eye made abundantly clear that coordinated action is needed to stop the practice of exporting dirty fuels to West Africa. I am very pleased West African governments quickly decided to introduce standards that will help accessing European standard quality fuels. Their people deserve cleaner air, better health and a cleaner environment. I commend UN Environment for their excellent work.”
UN Environment is hosting the Secretariat of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV); a global public-private partnership that supports a shift to cleaner fuels and vehicles world-wide. When the Partnership started its work on promoting low sulfur fuels in 2005, not a single low- and middle-income country used low sulfur fuels. Today, 23 countries have shifted to low sulfur fuels and another 40 are on their way. Last year, East African countries moved to low sulfur fuels and the decision by West African countries to follow suit will add a further five to the total number of countries that have achieved low sulfur fuels.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition partners adopted a communique during its High Level Assembly in Marrakech, Morroco that endorsed the Global Strategy to Introduce Low Sulphur Fuels and Cleaner Diesel Vehicles and encouraged Coalition partners and other relevant stakeholders to implement its recommendations. Fully implementing the strategy would save an estimated 100,000 premature deaths per year by 2030.
UN Environment hosts the secretariat of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The Coalition currently has 51 partner countries and more than 60 international organizations and non-state partners.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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