Twenty-one international delegates and 14 local experts met at the recently concluded Summit with the Private Sector on Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (Ulaanbaatar 2.0) organised by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Asia is the largest producer and consumer of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS). Over the past decade, the consumption of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), chemicals primarily used in refrigeration, air conditioning and foam applications, has consistently risen at the rate of about 15 per cent a year in developing countries. In 2007, the global community took an important step by accelerating the phase-out of HCFCs with the task of meeting the first two phase-down targets in 2013 and 2015. HCFCs not only destroy the stratospheric ozone layer, which is essential to life on Earth, but are also powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Under the HCFC accelerated phase-out agreement, developing countries must freeze the HCFC production and consumption in 2013, which is only 18 months away. This entails the countries developing and enforcing regulations to reduce the consumption and production of HCFCs and to start promoting use of non-HCFC alternatives as soon as possible. The European Union and Japan already prohibit import and export of many HCFCs.
With the control over HCFCs tightening around the globe, illegal trade in HCFCs, with potential to undermine success of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, has already started to appear. The US Government’s “Operation Catch 22” to combat illegal trade in ODS uncovered cases totaling over 700 tonnes of HCFC22 (R22) in 2009. Among them was the well-known case that involved Kroy Corporation in Miami, Florida illegally importing 11 shipments of HCFCs (30,000 cylinders). In Europe, notorious smugglers are found to be offering ‘recycled’ HCFCs for sale from China. Seizures of unauthorized HCFCs have been made in countries such as China, Finland, France, India, Thailand and the Philippines.
Industry has always been an indispensable player in the ODS phase-out process. ODS producers provide essential market data and intelligence to assist in risk profiling, and awareness of service sector companies helps reduce demand for illegally sourced goods. To address these challenges, the Montreal Protocol community seeks increased partnership with the private sectors in the HCFC phase-out implementation process and for improving co-operation at the policy making and operational levels.
In his inaugural speech at the summit, Mr Batsuuri N, State Secretary of Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, said: “I expect that, through this meeting, you would define the initial steps of the global action in joining the hands of public and private sectors on ODS trade. It is incontrovertible that most deem it of importance to combat illegal ODS trade by building effective collaboration between governments of the nations, Customs organisations and manufacturers”.
Mr Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator UNEP DTIE OzonAction Programme, stressed: “Active participation of the private sector holds a key to successful of countries in meeting 2013 and 2015 compliance targets”.
Julian Newman, Campaigns Director of EIA, said: “Effective partnerships are vital in combating the scourge of illegal trade in ODS. Actions agreed at this meeting will be especially important in meeting the growing threat of smuggling of HCFCs.”
This summit is one of UNEP’s continued efforts to urge and assist governments in developing countries to strengthen their collaboration with the private sectors to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the ODS phase-out. In addition to specific national actions, to promote a closer ties between the governments and the private sector, UNEP organised a Workshop on Preventing Illegal Trade: Public Private Partnership in Hua Hin, Thailand, in February 2004, which brought together industry and government representatives in a commitment to greater cooperation and transparency in sharing information and intelligence to combat illegal trade in the ODS.
A follow-up meeting was held in June 2007 in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, during which the Ulaanbaatar Declaration was issued, indicating the willingness of the governments and the private sector to join hands to combat illegal trade.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Mr. Atul Bagai
Regional Coordinator (Networking)
South Asia Network
Compliance Assistance Programme
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
UN Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Prof. Tsokhio Adiyasuren
Director, National Ozone Authority
Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism
Room 901, Government Building 11
Sambuu Street 11, Chingeltei District
P.O. Box 38, Ulaanbaatar 211238
Tel: 976 11 312458
Fax: 976 11 312320
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP): UNEP is the United Nations designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.
2. Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer: The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation, “Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date.”
3. About the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) of UNEP DTIE: UNEP as an Implementing Agency of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol has a unique regionalised programme that delivers compliance assistance services to countries to assist them to meet the international commitments under the Protocol. The compliance regime requires countries to: achieve and sustain compliance, promote a greater sense of country ownership and implement the agreed Executive Committee framework for strategic planning.
4. UNEP, through the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), has moved from project management approach to a direct implementation initiative through its specialised staff. Consistent with the above approach the Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (ROAP) CAP team has developed to be the centre for policy advice, compliance guidance and conduct training to refrigeration technicians, customs officers and other relevant stakeholders on compliance issues, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation and promote high-level awareness by utilizing UNEP’s staff.