At the High-level ministerial meeting which held in Abuja December 1, 2016, bold recommendations were reached by Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast. Here is the COMMUNIQUE, highlighting the theme of the meeting:
MINISTERIAL MEETING ON PROMOTING LOW SULPHIUR FUELS IN NIGERIA AND NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES HELD AT THE REIZ CONTINENTAL HOTEL, CENTRAL AREA, ABUJA, NIGERIA ON DECEMBER 1, 2016.
1.0 The high level ministerial meeting on promoting low sulphur fuels in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries was organized by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ECOWAS Commission and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV). The meeting was held on Thursday 01 December 2016 at Reiz Continental Hotel, Central Area, Abuja, Nigeria.
The objective of the meeting was for Ministers in ECOWAS region to consider the negative consequences of the use of high sulphur fuels and adopt realistic approach to adapting the use of clean fuels by setting achievable timeline for realizing low sulphur fuels by year 2020 for the protection of the environment, human health and sustainable economy.
The workshop was attended by participants from Nigeria and four (4) other ECOWAS Countries: Ghana, Togo and Cote d’ Ivoire and Benin Republic. Other key stakeholders included UNEP, International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), African Refiners Association (ARA), ECOWAS Commission, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and the Media.
The meeting was declared open by the Honourable Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina J. Mohammed. In her keynote address, the Honourable Minister stated that the West African Region has witnessed significant growth in population and urbanization that has resulted in an imbalance between urban growth and availability of support infrastructure to reduce the impact of urbanization on the environment. She pointed out that the consequences of these imbalances is the emergence of accelerated urban air pollution occasioned by the burning of biomass particularly by the transport sector in mega-cities.
She further stated that immediate action should be taken on imported fuel products in the sub-region with the review of national air quality standards and vehicles import policies to ensure minimum impacts of air emissions on climate change, human health and the economy.
She reminded ministers in the sub-region to implement the recommendations of the coalition’s Global Strategy to introduce low sulphur fuels and Cleaner Vehicles at the just concluded COP 22 which among others include adopting, maintaining and enforcing world-class diesel fuel quality and tailpipe emissions standards for road light and heavy duty vehicles and, develop national implementation plan outlining timelines for the nationwide introduction of such standards are not already in place.
5.0 PLENARY/ TECHNICAL SESSIONS
5.1 The meeting had the following presentations:
- Health and the Environment impact of sulphur in fuels-Ministry of Health
- Overview of sulphur levels in Africa – Jane Akumu-UN Environment
- Cost and Benefits of lower sulphur fuels – Hyactinthe Nare, International Council on Clean Transportation
- Experience of East Africa- Albert Nyagechi, Kenya Bureau of Standards
- Ghana low Sulphur Roadmap- Moskes Asaga, Ghana National Petroleum Authority
- African Refiners Association (ARA) Roadmap and Expectation from Nigeria- Engr. Tony Ogbuigwe
- ECOWAS recommendations- President ECOWAS Commission
5.2 MINISTERIAL SESSION
The session deliberated extensively on the following:
- Reduction of sulphur levels in fuel.
- Better Vehicular Performance in the sub-region.
- Mechanisms to achieve sulphur reduction in fuel.
- The workshop noted the following:
(i) Air pollution is a major public health concern with 3,000,000 deaths resulting from outdoor air pollution.
(ii) 92% of people live where limits exceed WHO limits (WHO), mostly from developing countries.
(iii) A switch to low sulphur diesel plus the use of cleaner vehicles would result in annual savings in health costs of about $6billion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
(iv)Reducing sulphur component of air pollutants in fuels will reduce direct emissions of both sulphur dioxide and sulphate particulate matter from all vehicles (old and new) leading to gains in health and the environment.
(v) Half of the world is at 10ppm vehicular emission standard except West Africa which is far above prescribed standards.
(vi) 50ppm standards vehicular emission standards by 2020 is critical for West Africa.
(vii) Benefits of low emission far outweighs the cost
(viii) The Abidjan recommendations as agreed on May 18-19 2015
(ix) The regional action as recommended by stakeholders at the sub-regional workshop on promotion of low sulphur fuels in Nigeria and ECOWAS countries held at Abuja in June 2016.
Ongoing activities in the sub-region which include:
- Collaboration with the African Refineries Association (ARA) and African Fuel Producers Association;
- Study on regional fuel standards and pollutants emissions from vehicles;
- Proposal FOR Regional Meetings to develop the regional strategy and coordinate the implementation of low sulphur fuel and emission standards;
- Working in progress for the strengthening regional cooperation for formulation and enactment of common legislation for approval by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers
- Working in progress for the creation of a regional standards body similar to those in existence in East and Southern Africa
(i) Governments in ECOWAS sub-region to adopt that all imported diesel fuel should meet 50ppm max in line with AS-AFRI4 specification by 1st July 2017.
(ii) Refineries in the region to be granted waivers to implement upgrade to enable them meet 50ppm diesel by 2020
(iii) Develop low sulphur fuel roadmaps and implementation strategy
(iv)Import cleaner and fuel efficient cars into the region.
(v) Ministers in the sub-region should work together to have a uniform binding standards for refineries and vehicular emissions by 2020
(vi) Provide funding for installation of desulphurisation plant for diesel production in refineries in the ECOWAS sub region to ensure compliance.
(vii) Effective monitoring of fuel markets to prevent blending and production of low standard fuel.
(viii) Refineries in the sub region should be given a strict timeline to upgrade facilities to produce fuel that are with the range of 50ppm standard.
(ix) Ministers in the sub region should consider and implement the Abidjan May,2015 and Abuja June, 2016 recommendations.
The workshop expressed profound appreciation to the UNEP, Climate and Clean Air Coalition and Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. The workshop also thanked the Honourable Minister of Environment Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed for her support and encouragement in hosting the Workshop. The organizers expressed appreciation to all participants for their commitment, support and recommendations towards the promotion and realization of low sulphur fuels in the sub region