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Machhapuchhre provides setting for Asia-Pacific countries’ summit on ozone and climate issues

Pokhara, 17 October 2011 – Government Officers from over 25 Asia-Pacific countries have all flown to Pokhara, Nepal to convene for the Joint Network Meeting of South Asia and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ozone Officers from today until October 19. This meeting, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP-ROAP) under its Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), provides a platform where ozone officers from Asia-Pacific governments discuss policy, strategy, and progress of action plans to enable countries in the region to comply with obligations to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS) following an agreed timetable under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Machhapuchhre, a mountain located in north central Nepal and part of the Himalayan range, aptly provides the backdrop for the meeting as it symbolizes the need for immediate and collective action to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) to protect the ozone layer and mitigate climate change.

“The melting of permafrost in the Himalayan mountains is three times that of the melting in the Arctic Circle caused by global warming. Through HCFC phase out under the Montreal Protocol, we can significantly cut the emissions of these greenhouse gases and thereby help put a stop to the melting in the Himalayas,” stated Mr. Shambhu Koirala, Chief District Officer of Kaski District and Chief Guest of the event.

“The theme of this year’s Joint Network Meeting of Asia-Pacific countries is HCFC Phase-out for an Energy Efficient Future to stress the ozone layer and climate change linkages and the huge energy efficiency opportunities in HCFC phase out,” said Mr. Atul Bagai, UNEP Senior Regional Coordinator. “Through information exchange among governments, implementing agencies, donor agencies and other Montreal Protocol institutions, we aim to enable governments to inform and assist their industries and citizens in general in shifting to alternatives that will give them maximum benefits from energy efficiency savings” Mr. Bagai added.

In 2007, the 196 member-countries to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to accelerate the phase out of production and consumption of HCFCs, ODS commonly used in the foam-blowing and refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors.

“The networking activities such as Network Meetings organized by UNEP have contributed in ensuring the Montreal Protocol compliance of countries and resulted in improved implementation including, for example, data reporting of ODS production and consumption,” shared Ms. Megumi Seki, Senior Scientific Affairs Officer, Ozone Secretariat.

The first Regional Network for Ozone Officers was established in the Southeast Asia and the Pacific region in 1992. The networking activity is on a regional basis and applies the principle of “collective learning by sharing while doing,” and builds the Ozone Officers’ skills for implementing and managing their national ODS phase-out activities. Other notable outcomes of the Regional Networks include accelerated ratification of the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments; earlier development of national ODS legislation and other policy measures; more regular data reporting and improved compliance with the ODS phase-out schedules.

As a highlight of the meeting, there will be an Award Ceremony tonight to recognize Asia-Pacific countries for their compliance to the January 1, 2010 of phasing out CFCs, halons and carbon tetrachloride.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator, OzonAction Programme, UNEP-ROAP. Tel: +6622881662, Fax: +6622883041, Email: atul.bagai@unep.org

Ms. Denise Sioson, Communications Consultant, OzonAction Programme, UNEP-ROAP. Tel: +6622882125, Fax: +6622883041, Email: sioson@un.org


Notes to Editors


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system’s 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.

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...”

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is managed by an Executive Committee which is responsible for overseeing the operation of the Fund. The Committee comprises seven members from developed and seven members from developing countries. In 2011 the Committee membership includes Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Switzerland, United States of America (developed countries) and Argentina, China, Cuba, Grenada, Kenya, Kuwait, Morocco (developing country members) and is chaired by Mr. Patrick McInerney of Australia. The Committee is assisted by the Fund Secretariat which is based in Montreal , Canada .

Activities are implemented by four international agencies (UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO, World Bank) and a number of bilateral government agencies. Since 1991, the Multilateral Fund has approved activities including industrial conversion, technical assistance, training and capacity building worth over US $2.6 billion that will result in the phase out of almost 460,000 ODP tonnes of consumption and production of ozone-depleting substances in developing countries.

In September 2007 the Parties to the Montreal Protocol decided to accelerate the freeze and phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The Multilateral Fund intends to finance HCFC phase-out in all 144 developing countries eligible for its financial and technical assistance and as at the 64th Meeting of the Executive Committee, 81 countries have HPMPs in place.


OzonAction Programme: www.unep.fr/ozonaction