Minister for the Environment Vivianne Heijnen at COP28 event "Transport Decarbonisation"

05-12-2023

“Implementing harmonized fuel quality and used vehicle requirements on a global scale is a necessary step towards achieving a level playing field and preventing the shift of activities to other regions. The harmonization of rules can make the global trade in fuels and used vehicles more attractive."

Good morning everyone,

I’m honoured to welcome you to this key event here at COP28 in Dubai.
At many COP events we’re looking at how to transform our current fossil-fuel based transport systems into zero-emission systems. And we’re sharing best practices to make sure that all countries are encouraged and equipped to make the transition.

But while we focus on a zero-emission future, we also need to minimise the environmental impact of second-hand vehicles and fossil fuels that are currently exported and imported around the globe.

I’d like to tell you about the Netherlands’ commitment to sustainable mobility and the impact of our policies on international trade in low-quality fuels and used vehicles.

We’ve been actively promoting the quality of fuels destined for export to countries outside the European Union. In August 2022 we put an administrative rule into action aimed at regulating the quality of petrol and diesel exports.

We’ve been making sure the policy’s strict specifications are enforced and, as a result, our exported fuels now meet higher environmental and health-related standards. We are also working within the Benelux Union on a potential policy rule.

In 2023, the European Commission adopted new legislation requiring a roadworthiness certificate for used vehicles that are exported from the EU. The intention is to prevent the negative impacts of such exports as well as to support importing countries’ legislation. It is an important contribution to address the challenges related to trade in used vehicles. Despite the introduction of harmonized rules in some countries, enforcement remains a challenge.

One of our key objectives today is to emphasize the importance of international standards and regulations in addressing the challenges we face in the global transport sector.

The Netherlands is advocating for the adoption of a resolution at UNEA-6 aiming at establishing minimum standards for exported fuels and used vehicles and for supporting importing countries in implementing national standards on imported fuels and vehicles. We welcome the active participation of both exporting and importing countries in this significant endeavour in which we collaborate with the European Commission and UNEP.

Implementing harmonized fuel quality and used vehicle requirements on a global scale is a necessary step towards achieving a level playing field and preventing the shift of activities to other regions. The harmonization of rules can make the global trade in fuels and used vehicles more attractive. Exporters may face difficulties when encountering different rules in various markets.

Additionally, it is important to comply with the standards set by importing countries. This is not an issue to be addressed bilaterally; it is a global, transboundary problem that requires global commitment.

I’m honoured to have the privilege of collaborating with the highly regarded speakers on this panel, representing influential organisations and countries. Together, we are united in our pursuit of common goals towards a more sustainable and circular economy for all people around the globe.

Thank you.

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