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Journalists probe ozone and climate issues in Mongolia

Group photo: Journalists workshop, UlaanbaatarUlaanbaatar, 27 June 2012 – Journalists of Ulaanbaatar gathered to focus on an issue that transcends this generation – ozone depletion and climate change. The “Workshop on the Role of the Media in Ozone Layer Protection in Mongolia,” organized by the OzonAction Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the National Ozone Authority of Mongolia, aimed to engage the media on the current status and challenges in ozone layer protection and its linkages to combating climate change, and to enlist their support in advocating the issue at the government, industry and general public levels.

In 2007, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer agreed to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) - ozone-depleting substances (ODS) mainly used in Mongolia in the foam, air-conditioning and refrigeration sectors - that destroy the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer.

Following this, Mongolia has committed to phase-out HCFCs, on a step-wise reduction schedule. For the first stage, Mongolia has to freeze its baseline consumption (2009-2010 average) by 1 January 2013 and reduce HCFC consumption by 10% by 1 January 2015. The HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) of Mongolia, is funded by the Multilateral Fund for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, through a technical and financial grant to help the country meet its HCFC phase-out obligations under the Protocol.

In order to meet compliance targets,  there is a need to enhance awareness in industry and among HCFC end-users to lower demand for ozone-depleting HCFCs. Through the mass media that can multiply messages and educate the public, consumers will better understand their contribution to the solution to this global environmental problem.

“As the lead implementing agency of the approved HPMP of Mongolia, UNEP is working closely with the National Ozone Authority in implementing its communication strategy and information campaign,’’ said  Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, who participated  as one of the speakers in the workshop.

‘’We believe in the influence and power of the media in guiding the decision-making of people, and we hope that through the media’s understanding and appreciation of the current environmental issues that surround us, the global community will also begin to understand and do something about it.”

The main resource persons were two media experts in the region who have covered ozone and climate issues for more than ten years: Mr. Nirmal Ghosh, Regional Correspondent of the Singapore Straits Times and President of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) and Mr. Kunda Dixit, Editor of the Nepali Times.

Participants included representatives from national TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and journals, foreign media agents, and science journalists. Additionally, representatives from the Ministry of Public Information/Mongolian Radio and Television, Ministry of Nature and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Industry, General Agency for Specialized Inspection, Mongolian Environmental Civil Consul and other relevant government agencies attended the workshop.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Fenner, Information Manager, UNEP OzonAction Programme, Tel: +33 1 4437 1454; Email: anne.fenner@unep.org.
Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Tel: +662 288 2127/02 288 2314; E-mail: satwant.kaur@unep.org
Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Network Coordinator, OzonAction Programme, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. Tel: +6622881662; Fax: +6622883041; Email: atul.bagai@unep.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. The 2012 Committee membership includes Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America (developed countries) and Argentina, China, Cuba, India, Kenya, Jordan and Mali (developing country members) and is chaired by Mr. Xiao Xuezhi (China). The Committee is assisted by the Fund Secretariat which is based in Montreal, Canada.