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Executive Secretary participates in Russian Energy Week to advocate for decarbonization in the UNECE region ahead of COP27

UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova took part in a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Week today aimed at fostering international cooperation on hydrogen (H2). 

Hydrogen offers the prospect to decarbonize the energy sector and large sectors of the economy. The shift to a decarbonized hydrogen-based economy could help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This would require a rapid and extensive expansion of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production. For this to happen, massive investments and appropriate policy support will be needed. 

During her intervention, the Executive Secretary expressed her solidarity with the people of Ukraine, called for the application of the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations on Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the respect of the principles of the UN Charter and adherence to international law. She reiterated the UN Secretary General’s urgent calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities.   

She also invited the Russian Federation to take its share of responsibility in the collective effort to deliver carbon neutrality and to limit global warming. 

“UNECE member States and other stakeholders still disagree on how to quantify the sustainability of hydrogen”, said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova. “In view of the climate emergency and energy crisis the world is facing, we have no time to lose in decarbonising the energy sector and our economies. UNECE offers a unique platform to define and develop the future hydrogen-based economy. I invite member States to use our Committee on Sustainable Energy to overcome their differences and develop a comprehensive classification for hydrogen”. 

In 2020, under the auspices of its Groups of Experts on Gas, Renewable Energy and Cleaner Electricity Systems, UNECE established a Task Force on hydrogen, which launched a project to improve the capacities of countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) to develop sustainable hydrogen production strategies while raising awareness and overcoming economic, technical, policy and investment barriers. 

The Policy Brief on hydrogen published in November 2021 highlighted H2’s potential to decarbonize the economy, described the state of play in the UNECE region and listed a series of recommended policy commitments.  

Finally, last month the Committee on Sustainable Energy mandated UNECE to develop specifications to apply the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) and the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS) that is under development to hydrogen projects, through pilot projects and case studies.  

In addition to its work on the production of H2, UNECE’s regulatory work ensures the safe use of hydrogen through:   

  • Provisions for safe transport 

The United Nations Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods contain provisions for the safe transport of hydrogen and other dangerous goods by all modes of transport. These provisions, developed by the ECOSOC Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods serviced by UNECE, are then incorporated into all modal instruments for air, maritime and land transport.  

  • Use in vehicles 

International regulations developed by UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations provide the basis to scale up the use of hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCVs) through the UN Global Technical Regulation (UN GTR) No. 13, under the 1998 Agreement and UN Regulation No. 134 (mirroring the same provisions in the framework of the type approval system), under the 1958 Agreement. 

  • Industrial safety 

A number of industrial activities produce or use hydrogen, e.g. chemical, nuclear or pharmaceutical industry, oil refineries, packaging activities, etc. Hydrogen is covered as a hazardous substance under the provisions of the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, which supports countries to strengthen prevention, preparedness and response in the case of an accident. 

UNECE will continue supporting its member States in enhancing the understanding of the role of hydrogen to attain carbon neutrality and develop resilient energy systems across the region, in particular through hydrogen-related technical dialogues at COP 27 on 7 November 2022 and the Almaty Energy Forum  on 14 November 2022.  

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