Oral statement of the Honorable David Strickland before the Executive Committee (AC.3) of the 1998 Agreement
Thank you, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor and privilege to join you today at the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29). Before we proceed with today’s session of the Executive Committee of the 1998 Agreement and voting, it is my great pleasure to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicle GTR Working Group.
Your collective skills, knowledge, and efforts have enabled you to overcome extremely complex challenges and advance the important work of our community. Your contribution is a shining example of international collaboration at its very best. There is no doubt in my mind that sustained collaboration is the most powerful tool available to our global community for advancing our shared interest in harmonization, across all borders and among all nations.
Under the auspices of WP.29, we all benefit from the contributions of technical experts from all the contracting parties and from the industry-including automakers, component manufacturers, and safety standard experts. Our alliance is stronger and more effective because our member nations share data and science-based knowledge, rather than expending resources on efforts to develop standards and regulations individually.
In the broadest sense, research and data-sharing shape every aspect of vehicle innovation. At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, I have seen the benefits of collaboration and transparency in our long-term work with research partners to increase fuel efficiency, enhance the crash-worthiness of vehicles, and advance both vehicle-tovehicle and vehicle-to infrastructure technologies.
Sharing data internationally is even more important now that many countries in the increasingly motorized world are seeing more vehicles on the road and a rise in highway fatalities and injuries. Through our work with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, I have been privileged to collaborate with representatives of most APEC member Economies in workshops designed to enable them to build a strong foundation of traffic safety, including data collection and analysis.
The commitment to share data, experience, ideas, and expertise is a powerful resource that is moving our international community toward many common goals, including the vital work to establish a comprehensive set of global technical vehicle regulations.
When fully realized, these regulations will help to inform and enable consumers throughout the world: In every country it will be clear that vehicles produced under the regulations are the most advanced in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, and environmental protection.
The hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle Global Technical Regulation, sponsored by Germany, Japan, and the United States is an excellent example of the power of collaboration. The hard work and cooperative spirit among contracting parties and industry have produced a GTR that is performance- and science-based, well-supported by excellent research, and grounded in credible scientific data. The GTR will advance development and international deployment of safe hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, and ultimately enable our community to achieve its shared goals of decreasing our dependence on fossil fuel, reducing carbon emissions, and enabling clean, reliable power generation.
As you know, in the United States we have entered a transitional period which will bring new leadership to the Department of Transportation in the near future. I want to emphasize that during the transition and going forward that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will remain fully and enthusiastically engaged in the vital work of WP.29.
It is my pleasure to extend special thanks to our co-sponsor nations, Germany and Japan, especially Mr. Christoph Albus, the Task Manager, and Mr. Kazuyuki Narusawa, the co-chair of the Informal Working Group, for their consistent and invaluable contributions.
But our work would not be complete without the hard work of another team: the UNECE WP.29 Secretariat. On a daily basis, this team of dedicated individuals provides their support and expertise to the meetings of all GRs and Working Groups. And when our work is done, theirs continues: They are the ones who format, edit, and translate the texts of every report and GTR.
It is now my pleasure and honor to acknowledge the enormous and important work that this relatively small team does with a small token of appreciation:
“In recognition of the outstanding contribution of the Secretariat of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, to the advancement of global technical regulations for motor vehicle safety under the 1998 Global Agreement,” it is my honor to present this plaque to the WP.29 Secretariat.