History of the UNECE regulations
In 1949, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Convention on Road Transport adopted a series of general technical requirements for vehicle characteristics and a further Decision called for the establishment of a group of experts responsible for technical requirements for road vehicles. On the basis of this resolution, WP.29 (Working Group No. 29) was founded on 06.06.1952.
In March 1958, the Federal Republic of Germany proposed to conclude an agreement under the auspices of UNECE to facilitate the adoption of uniform conditions for the approval and mutual recognition of motor vehicles. The so-called agreement of 1958 entered into force on 20.06.1959.
In 1997, the World Forum adopted the 1997 Agreement on the Provisions relating to Periodic Technical Inspections of Vehicles.
In 1998, WP.29 created the 1998 Global Agreement, the so-called Parallel Agreement to the 1958 Agreement. Its provisions are the Global Technical Regulations (GTRs).
The 1958 Agreement and granting of type-approval
The 1958 Agreement contains over 100 attached UNECE regulations. These requirements shall include the technical requirements and test methods for the requirements for the whole vehicle or individual components thereof.
They also cover the procedure for granting and mutual recognition of type-approvals, including markings and conditions for ensuring conformity of production (COP). The 1958 Agreement is based on the principles of type-approval and mutual recognition. Once a Member State grants a type-approval, any other Member State is obliged to accept that type-approval and to consider that vehicle or part thereof as approved for import, distribution and use by the end customer. Parts or appliances type tested according to a UN Regulation are marked with an “E” and a number within a circle. The number indicates the country in which the item was approved. Other surrounding letters and numbers indicate the version of the Regulation under which type-approval was granted and the type-approval number itself.
In addition, some countries apply the UNECE Regulations at national level without having acceded to the 1958 Agreement, which means that type-approvals are not mutually recognised.