African transport experts embrace cleaner mobility energy vehicles

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Transport experts from East African Community (EAC) countries on Wednesday agreed to embrace cleaner mobility energy vehicles in the region.

Electric car at charging station

The experts who attended a two-day meeting organized by UN Environment to discuss the need for harmonization of vehicle emission standards within the East Africa sub-region said that it is now time to embrace electric mobility and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.

“The governments should act immediately to effect changes since the sub-region is endowed with renewable energy,” Jane Akumu, program officer, Air Quality and Mobility Unit at UN Environment told journalists.

Akumu said that the experts agreed to avail better information through data collection and analysis of vehicle emissions profiles, health impact assessments, and economic implications of various technologies to the public.

“Public sensitization is needed to promote consumer buy-in to shift choices towards cleaner mobility and also for governments to legislate vehicle end of life disposal,” she added.

The experts agreed to harmonize vehicle emission testing standards for new passenger vehicle certification, used passenger vehicles – including in-use vehicles, light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles – for domestic and trans-border vehicles and two and three wheelers.

They proposed a minimum of Euro 4/IV vehicle emission standards for new vehicle registrations – new and used, were proposed for the sub-region.

The experts further recommended that annual vehicle inspection and testing for used and in-use vehicles is made mandatory and standardized, and a proper monitoring framework established.

The experts observed that harmonized certification of documentation and processes of vehicles imported into the region are necessary in facilitating intra-regional trade and goods movement.

They urged regional governments to support standards compliance and enforcement through budgetary provisions adding that the sub-region needs to develop a clear long-term strategy towards low emission mobility.

The experts urged governments to widen the scope of scrutiny of fuel parameters from lead and sulphur to other key parameters including octane, benzene, olefins and aromatics as these will start to play a bigger role in vehicle performance and emissions as general fuel quality improves.

They told the EAC Secretariat to identify lead institutions within member states to be engaged and timeframes to follow up on the recommendations.

The two-day meeting was attended by representatives from the EAC secretariat, government, oil and vehicle industry, academia and international development agencies.

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