French Speaking Africa
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 of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.
The two ozone treaties have been ratified by 197 states and the European Union making them the first universally ratified treaties in United Nations history.
The formation of the Ozone Officers Network for French-Speaking Africa was approved at the 12th Executive Committee Meeting in March 1994 (AFR/SEV/12/TAS/09). To-date this network comprises of 26 members: twenty two French-speaking (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Republic), Democratic Republic of Congo (D. R. C), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia), three Portuguese speaking African countries (Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome & Principe) and one Spanish speaking (Equatorial Guinea that became party to the Montreal Protocol in 2006).
Besides UNEP and its partner Implementing Agencies (UNIDO, UNDP and the World Bank), this network receives bilateral support from Canada, France and Switzerland.
To efficiently run the French-speaking network and organize network meetings based on the needs of the countries, the Regional Network Coordinator (RNC) based at UNEP Regional Office for Africa in Nairobi, is assisted by 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.
More than a decade after its establishment, it is evident that the Ozone Officers in this network have matured to become more capable in coordinating the implementation of country programmes, refrigerant management plans, terminal phase out management plan , HCFCs management plan, institutional strengthening and other key projects.
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.
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.
All African countries are in compliance with Montreal Protocol. Some eliminated CFC use well ahead of the deadline, which shows political will and implementation capability.
There has been a strong commitment of the CAP team for training Customs officers in order to control illegal importation/exportation of refrigerants by demonstrating the use of refrigerant identifiers to check the quality of refrigerants that are being imported and control the quality of refrigerants being imported or exported.
Support has been provided by UNEP through the regional CAP for the enhancement of national competencies. As a result of networking, training for major stakeholders and technical advices, most countries are now confident in facing the remaining challenges for the coming years in securing total phase-out of main substances with limited funding for non-investment activities using national expertise. Indeed many NOUs have taken in assessing their country's status and identifying their future need.
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.
South-South cooperation has also increased within the region. Many Ozone Officers are now being used as resource person/consultants by Implementing Agencies to assist neighboring countries with preparations and implementation of projects for phase-out.
The Africa French-speaking network will focus on the following issues:
- Guide NOUs to ensure full enforcement of ODS regulations adopted at national and sub-regional level.
- Experts representing the Member States of ECOWAS should recommend the adoption of the text by the competent bodies of the ECOWAS.
- 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 and ensure full involvement of French-speaking countries in those blocks. This will be done in addition to ongoing cooperation with CEMAC and UEMOA. The Regional CAP team intends to facilitate bilateral Customs meetings between neighboring countries at border points (Senegal/Mali, Burkina Faso /Togo) and sub-regional customs meetings, CEMAC and UEMOA.
- Promote cooperation between North-African countries mostly to exchange experiences on Methyl Bromide and Halons phase out.
- 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.