English Speaking Africa
Virtually every developing country Party under the Montreal Protocol has a National Ozone Unit supported by the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund. The Montreal Protocol is regarded as the most successful environmental agreement having phased out 98% of Ozone Depleting Substances. The Ozone Officers Network for English-speaking Africa comprises of 28 countries - Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of South Sudan, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Special assistance is provided to two Portuguese-speaking countries in the Network (Angola and Mozambique) mainly through special sessions/meetings/group discussions as well as through the involvement of Portugal during the meetings.
The formation of the Ozone Officers Network for Africa was approved at the 12th Executive Committee Meeting in March 1994 (AFR/SEV/12/TAS/09).The Network is facilitated by the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) team based in UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa (ROA) in Nairobi, Kenya consisting of the Senior Regional Network Coordinator, Regional Network Coordinator for English- speaking Africa, Regional Network Coordinator of the French- speaking Africa, and the Methyl Bromide Officer. The team provides all the CAP services to the region.
In this network, all the Implementing Agencies (IAs) of the Multilateral Fund - UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP and the World Bank as well as bilateral partner - Germany operate.
The National Ozone Officers (NOOs) hold the pillar to exploiting activities on the ground. With the need to understand the issues being faced on the ground; The Regional Network of Ozone Officers for English Speaking African countries provides a regular forum for NOOs aimed at strengthening and improving their capacities in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. In December 2011, UNEP, in collaboration with the World Customs Organization, created an e-learning module for Customs officers to assist in fulfilling their role in phasing out ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol. The ODS e-learning modules were made available online at the WCO e-learning platform; available in English, French, Russian and Spanish. A printable completion certificate is provided to successful 'users' at the end of the course.
More than a decade now after its establishment, it is evident that the Ozone Officers in this network have matured to become more capable in the implementation of Montreal Protocol activities including implementation of country programmes, refrigerant management plans, terminal phase out management plans , HCFCs management plans, institutional strengthening and other key projects.
Objectives of the Network
The main objective of the English-speaking African Network of Ozone Officers is to Assist countries in the region meet and sustain compliance with the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments by providing countries with regular updates and guidance on the various Montreal Protocol compliance requirements and guiding countries in the implementation of associated necessary phase-out activities that lead towards meeting and sustaining compliance with Montreal Protocol and its Amendments.
Specific objectives include:
- Assist countries in enforcing control measures to monitor and regulate the import and use of ODS and ODS based equipment
- Ensure that countries compile and submit accurate, reliable and timely data on import and ODS consumption to Multilateral Fund and Ozone Secretariat
- Assist English-speaking Africa countries to expedite preparation, submission and implementation of HPMPs tranches in order to meet the HCFC freeze targets as per Montreal Protocol schedules
- Support countries in the region to be in compliance with methyl bromide consumption to ensure total phase-out is achieved by 2015
- Promote awareness raising of the Montreal Protocol activities in English-speaking African countries.
- Initiate studies and surveys on use of HCFC in the region and identify activities for its phase-out.
- Guide NOUs to ensure full enforcement of ODS regulations adopted at national and sub-regional level.
- Enhance collaboration of customs authorities and Ozone Officers in regional trade blocks such as, COMESA, ECOWAS in Montreal Protocol related information exchange and control of illegal ODS trade.
- Effective cooperation at national and sub-regional levels will be encouraged to build synergies and promote the integration of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) especially those dealing with chemicals.
- Promote low GWP HCFCs alternatives.
- Encourage countries to control HCFCs second hand based equipment.
- Establishment of ODS regulations and country-specific Action Plans and early detection of the risk of non-compliance and illegal trade.
- Active participation in discussions on the future of the Montreal Protocol.
The Ozone Depleting Substances of Officers’ Network for English Speaking Countries (ODSONET/AF-E) held the eighteenth network meeting. It was on record that by then, the Montreal Protocol had reduced ODS by over 95%, thereby protecting the ozone layer for future generations. Illegal trade on ODS was controlled by having customs officers and other enforcement agencies trained, sensitized and encouraged to share information on cases of illegal trade with other countries.
Zimbabwe became a party to the Montreal and Beijing Amendments to the Montreal Protocol.
At the 14th African Ministerial Conference of Environment organized by UN agency responsible for the environment, Rwanda received the environmental award for having made enormous efforts to protect the layer ozone. Rwanda is known for intense activities of environmental protection and mobilization of the population in favor of the environment. She adopted a ministerial decree regulating the import and export of so-called chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer and equipment containing those substances. Professionals and refrigeration learners from all over the country were trained on good refrigeration practices with the intention of having these techniques imparted to students before they enter the labor market, which was of paramount importance to ensure the sustainability of knowledge and thus the protection of the atmosphere for generations to come.
Angola celebrated Ozone day for the eighth time since the signing of the Montreal Protocol with workshops and information meetings in various provinces of the country. Egypt celebrated by honoring contributors in the success of the National Ozone Layer Protection Program. In Ethiopia, the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) noted the crucial role of HFCs, which provided a positive alternative refrigerant to ODS, such as man-made halocarbon refrigerants, mainly CFCs. Due to the existence of HFCs, the phase-out of CFCs was possible both in their production and consumption. The Gambia, in a bid to ensure that CFC phase-out was sustained; the National Environment Agency through its Ozone Unit with support from the United Nations Environment Programme had facilitated the formation of Refrigeration Technicians Association in seven regions of the country and provided numerous trainings. Ghana set to impose a blanket ban on the importation of used refrigeration equipment on January 1, 2013. As part of the implementation of the national management plan for the elimination of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), the government of Mauritius decided to freeze imports of refrigerants and equipment containing them from January 2013. Similarly, in January 2013 the import of appliances and equipment containing HCFCs would be banned since alternatives such as hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide would already be available on the market in Mauritius.
2013 began with Ghana banning importation of second hand fridges in an effort to reduce energy consumption and harm to the environment.
It saw the setup of an online platform to enable countries to monitor trade in ODS with other parties, to put up proper licensing mechanisms and for all participants to be in compliance. Launch of the UNEP guide for NOOs.
South Sudan signed its first Montreal Protocol project under the Multilateral Fund, Start-up funds for the country. This came a year after the country became the 197th signatory to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol - two multilateral environmental treaties designed to protect the Ozone Layer which shields the Earth from the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
The implementation of HPMP was launched in most of the English speaking countries including Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia. The National Train the Trainer’s Workshops for the HCFC alternative technology were conducted as one of the activities implemented under Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP). The workshops provided an opportunity to share latest knowledge and build capacity of the Trainers in the Refrigeration and Air conditioning sectors.
As the phase-out deadline approached fast, there was heightened awareness about the need for Methyl Bromide alternatives. In a four day Network meeting held at Banjul, the Gambia, African English Speaking countries shared experiences and reviewed the progress made in Africa in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MP) projects geared towards the protection and preservation of the Ozone Layer. The meeting offered an opportunity not only to celebrate and reflect on what had been accomplished, but renew commitment towards phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and its alternatives, recovery and re-use of refrigerants, Alternatives to HCFC-22, Methyl Bromide (MB) Phase-out activities and trainings on alternative technologies.
At the 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a new timetable for the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) was adopted and developing countries are committed to gradually reduce their production and consumption of HCFCs by 10% in 2015, 35% in 2020, 67.7% in 2025 and 100% in 2030.
The network has provided a regular forum aimed at strengthening and improving the capacities of the National Ozone Officers (NOOs) in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol activities; helping NOOs share experiences, challenges and opportunities that exist; and identify other needs of NOOs such as training and net-working. Currently, all countries in the region are in compliance with the Montreal Protocol.
To maintain the Montreal Protocol phase-out momentum and in readiness for future phase-out obligations, capacity building for Customs and other law enforcement officers has been one of the major activities in the region. This has helped ensure that border control is effective and ODS control measures are enforced and monitored adequately.
UNEP Regional Office for Africa (ROA) Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) has been working with national authorities and relevant regional and international partners to put in place appropriate measures to curb increased cases of illegal trade of ODS, refrigerants (especially cases of mixed, mislabeled and fake refrigerants).
Through the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) in Africa there has been enhanced public awareness and ozone layer depletion has continued to receive in-depth interest at international and national policy level.
The Network has supported Institutional Strengthening of various countries to effectively implement Montreal Protocol Activities through implementation of Institutional Strengthening Projects and capacity building to Ozone Officers.
The Network assisted countries to accurately and timely report annual data on ODS consumption to the Ozone and Multilateral Fund Secretariats to enable the assessment of the status of compliance with the Montreal Protocol.
- Illegal trade of ODS refrigerants, (increased cases of mixed and fake refrigerants) - failure in equipment performance, court cases
- Handling of seized refrigerants and ODS based equipment
- Linguistic barriers for Portuguese countries- 5 Portuguese speaking countries
- Unreliable IT: affecting online CP reporting, remote implementation, social networking
- Frequent changes of Ozone Officers and high turnover of customs officers leading to delays in implementation of activities, more CAP time on training new Ozone Officers
- High number of informal sector technicians causing safety concerns in handling alternative, especially hydrocarbon
- Political Instability experienced in some countries resulting in delays in implementation of activities and non-compliance status.