Cambodia is actively pursuing safer and cleaner used vehicles to combat air pollution. The Ministry of Environment (MoE), in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), is spearheading efforts to achieve this goal by launching the Euro 6/VI roadmap. 

During the Cambodia Clean Air and Sustainable Transport Workshop in Phnom Penh in March 2024, His Excellency Pak Sokharavuth, MoE Under Secretary of State, pledged to implement Euro 6/VI standards by 2030 as part of the Clean Air Plan of Cambodia (CAPC). The CAPC, Cambodia's national strategy for combating air pollution, was published in November 2021. 

His Excellency Pak Sokharavuth reaffirmed the MoE's dedication to collaborating with various ministries and non-governmental organizations to implement the CAPC. "The government is utilizing the Pentagonal Strategy in the development of public, economic, financial, human, and social capital sectors to implement the CAPC," added His Excellency. 

Alliances for Safer and Cleaner Used Vehicles 

At the workshop, Mr. Herbert Fabian, coordinator of the Secretariat for the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET), outlined the objectives of the UNEP Used Vehicles Programme, emphasizing international cooperation to promote more stringent vehicle emission standards.  

He highlighted the role of UNEP in the global phaseout of lead in gasoline and stressed the importance of collaboration in removing dirty vehicles and fuels from the market. He further explained how the reduction of sulphur in fuels helped reduce acid rain while pointing out that health risk contributors such as particulate matter (PM) and Nitrogen oxides (NOx) remain. He emphasized the need for better emission standards to reduce vehicular PM and NOx emissions. 

Better vehicle emission standards, such as Euro VI, place stricter limits on the amount of PM and NOx from vehicle exhaust emissions. However, these require cleaner fuels, those with 10 parts per million (ppm) or lower sulphur, and periodic maintenance and inspection to ensure that the limits are not exceeded.  

Periodic maintenance and inspection are particularly important, as Ms. June Yeonju Jeong, Programme Management Officer for the Sustainable Mobility Unit Economy Division of UNEP, identified Cambodia as one of the top importers of used vehicles. Thus, Mr. Walter Nissler, Chief of Section for the Sustainable Transport Division of the UNECE, stressed the need for shared responsibility for safer and cleaner used vehicles. 

To promote safer and cleaner used vehicles, Cambodia MoE, UNEP, UNECE, and the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee (CITA) are implementing the Cleaner and Safer Used Vehicles project. This initiative aims to introduce minimum safety and environmental standards and advocate for their adoption in Cambodia.



Setting the standards for a better tomorrow 

"The UN strives to continue with the downward trend of vehicle deaths and injuries," noted Mr. Nissler while highlighting UNECE's role in implementing the Safer and Cleaner Used Vehicles programme that ensures vehicles comply with the international safety standards throughout their lifetime.  

This programme includes mandatory certification, registration, and enforcement of regulations for the export and import of used vehicles. 

Safer and cleaner used vehicles necessitate shared responsibility among exporters, carriers, and importers to prevent the trade of end-of-life vehicles that fail to meet roadworthiness and emission standards. This entails inspections at entry and exit points as a shared responsibility between exporters and importers, as proper documentation of used vehicle conditions is shared to stop shipping waste from developed nations. 

Aside from standards, the workshop also discussed the best practices and technologies that support vehicle inspections and fuel quality monitoring. Dr. Raymund Abad, Sustainable Transport Lead of Clean Air Asia, delivered a presentation on practical monitoring of vehicle emissions, while Mr. Myron Alcanzare, Senior Sustainable Transport Researcher of Clean Air Asia, presented fuel quality monitoring practices and policies, particularly the need to use chemical markers to combat fuel adulteration, which results in lower government fuel tax collections. 

Participants from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Ministry of Public Works and Transport discussed potential challenges and needs to implement Euro 6/VI, particularly the concerns for Euro 5/V and 6/VI used vehicle supply, clean fuel costs and capacity-building needs. Mr. Fabian and Mr. Nissler provided inputs that helped address these concerns and committed support from UNEP and UNECE in the push for Euro 6/VI standards. 

Mr. Ke Vongwattana, Deputy Director General for the General Directorate of Environmental Protection of the Cambodia MoE, closed the workshop with the message, “Proper implementation of Euro 6/VI would need a multistakeholder approach and consider all the necessary factors so that these will be implemented in 2030.”