SADC Regional Framework for Harmonisation of Low Sulphur Fuels and Vehicle Emission Standards

Emissions modeling

On 6th -7th June 2019, thirteen  Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries met in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss regional harmonisation of cleaner fuels and vehicle emission standards within the SADC region. The workshop, funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, was co-organized by the Air Pollution Information Network for Africa (APINA) through the Institute of Environmental Studies of Zimbabwe, UNEP and ICCT. Over 40 participants from national and local governments, the oil and vehicle industry, non-governmental organisations, and the academia attended the two-day meeting.  

The countries that were represented in the workshop are Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe,  and representatives of the SADC Secretariat, East African Community (EAC), UN Environment (UNEP), and International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

SADC countries agreed to reduce sulphur levels in fuels to 50 ppm or less by end 2022 for importing countries and 2025 for refining countries and to 10 ppm from 2025 to 2030 for all countries. Participating countries also recommended the development of a refinery investment plan between the governments and private sector by the end of 2020 for refining countries as well as harmonization of fuel standards and practices by 2022 through the coordination of the SADC Secretariat.   

To clean up the vehicle fleet in the region, the countries proposed the introduction of legislation requiring at least Euro 4/IV equivalent vehicle emission standards by 2022 for new and used vehicles in line with improvements in the fuel quality, and an age limit of 5 years for imported used vehicles by 2024. Additionally, the region proposed harmonization of vehicle emission standards by 2022 for the different categories of motor vehicles as well as periodic vehicle emission testing programs in major cities by 2025.  Participants also recommended the introduction of fiscal incentives to promote importation and manufacturing of cleaner/soot-free vehicles including buses, and expressed the need for the region to explore and adopt best available technologies for low-emissions mobility.


Workshop materials:


Framework and Recommendations




Francisco Posada