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New measures to facilitate global access to UN vehicle regulations on safety and environmental performance

Published: 12 September 2017

Many countries around the world currently apply no UN vehicle regulations, often resulting in the absence of minimum safety and environmental performance requirements. The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) developed the latest changes (Revision 3) to the 1958 Agreement, which will come into force on 14 September 2017. The revised Agreement will facilitate the use of UN vehicle regulations globally by allowing countries to apply former versions of UN Regulations, taking into account their specific needs, context and capacities.

This will enable countries from emerging economies to benefit from the introduction of minimum technical requirements for safety, environmental performance, noise and CO2 emissions, energy efficiency and anti-theft requirements of vehicles. This will make it easier to adjust gradually to more recent UN vehicle Regulations, which are amongst the most stringent anywhere in the world.

The Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Road Safety Jean Todt welcomed the changes, recalling that “91 per cent of global road fatalities take place in low- and middle-income countries, where just over 50 per cent of the world’s vehicles are registered. The new revisions to the 1958 Agreement open the door to the worldwide introduction of minimum safety standards, which would be a tremendous improvement.  This will contribute to meeting SDG Target 3.6 of halving the number of global deaths from road traffic accidents by 2020.”

The latest revision to the Agreement will also improve the efficiency and reliability of the approval process for vehicle models thanks to more stringent provisions on quality assurance, certification procedures and conformity of production.

Among other changes in Revision 3 of the Agreement are new provisions for an International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) system and tougher voting conditions for the adoption and amendment of UN Regulations, with a larger majority of votes now required (four-fifths, up from two-thirds).

To date, 54 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, have become Contracting Parties to the 1958 Agreement and apply most of its 143 UN Regulations currently in force.

UNECE encourages all countries to join the 1958 Agreement, and stands ready to support all Parties in the application of its Regulations.

Note to editors

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) is a Working Party within UNECE. It manages three Global Agreements on vehicles: 1958 Agreement (UN Regulations); 1998 Agreement (UN Global Technical Regulations); and 1997 Agreement (UN Rules on Periodic Technical Inspections). Any country that is member of the United Nations may participate in the activities of the World Forum and accede to the Agreements.

1958 Agreement

The 1958 Agreement establishes an international legal framework of technical Regulations and recommendations for wheeled vehicles, their parts and equipment.

The 1958 Agreement enables internationally harmonized specifications for the construction and certification of new vehicles, helping to reduce costs and facilitate access to international markets. As a result, consumers benefit from a wider choice of efficient, safe and environmentally friendly vehicles.

The 1958 Agreement entails the mutual recognition of type approval certificates between Contracting Parties.

Since its negotiation almost sixty years ago, the Agreement and the UN Regulations annexed to it have been consistently amended to adapt them to technical progress and updated to incorporate new technological developments while ensuring the highest levels of safety and environmental protection, together with the expansion of the Agreement’s geographical scope. With its previous revision (Revision 2, done in 1995), the 1958 Agreement was opened up to participation by non-European countries and regional organizations. 


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