South-South cooperation: Indian military officers visit Indonesian Halon Bank

Bangkok, Thailand, 19 August 2011 – In UNEP’s effort to raise awareness among the military on ozone protection and the phase out of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), its Compliance Assistance Program (CAP) facilitated a three-day visit of defence officers from the India to the Indonesian Halon Bank (IHB) from 8 to 11 August 2011 in Indonesia.

The visit was proposed during 2010 regional workshop for military officers of seven countries to observe the process of halon banking and adopt good practices in their country. Prior to this visit, UNEP had organized national level and regional workshops for the military of South and Southeast Asia. The objective was also to strengthen national level linkages between Ministries of Environment and Defence forces.

Group Captain Manoj Kumar (IAF) of India's Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) was the lead resource person from UNEP during the visit. On the first day, the team went to GMF (Garuda Maintenance Facility) management building and the Indonesian Halon Bank facility. At the halon bank, the officers learned about the methodology of storage and transportation of halon cylinders (400 kg), including their environmental requirements. They also observed the halon recycling, identification and transfer equipment during the visit to the facility.

The awareness raising workshop, organized by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment (MOE), was conducted on the second day. The visiting military officers of India together with officers of the three military services of Indonesia and representatives of GMF aerospace and Holcim industries were the participants of the workshop. During the activity, Ms. Zulhasni from Indonesia’s National Ozone Unit (NOU) and Mr. Wilman Rajiman of GMF served as resource speakers. Also part of the workshop was a talk and discussion with Group Captain Manoj Kumar who shared experiences in ODS management and other good environmental practices in the Indian military.

Finally, on the third day, the team went to see Holcim cement plant, which had a programme called “Geocycle” for managing wastes including halons and other ODS. In the plant, ODS are destroyed in the high temperature zone of cement clinker, which is reported to be an environment-friendly method of ODS destruction.

Lessons from this cooperation activity include the need for awareness raising, interaction and capacity building on ODS issues in the military to institutionalize recommended policies in defence organizations. Additionally, a strategy to make military organizations all over the world appreciate the role they can play in environmental protection is highly necessary. Agencies like UNEP and defence think tanks like CAPS could play significant roles in raising awareness level on the issue.

For more information, please contact:
Atul Bagai
Senior Regional Coordinator, Compliance Assistance Programme, OzonAction Programme
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
UN Building,Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Bangkok 10200
Tel: +6622881662
Fax: +6622883041



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