Making our borders safe: Asia-Pacific region readies itself to prevent a new challenge of illegal trade in ozone-depleting chemicals
Bangkok, 15 March 2012 – Today, Customs and enforcement experts in the Asia-Pacific region completed a four-day workshop on monitoring and control of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The region has suffered from significant smuggling of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the past and with the imminent approach of trade control measures for the second major group of ODS - Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)- actions are needed now to prevent illegal trade growing out of control.
“As we have learned from countries’ experience with the CFC phase-out, the forthcoming reduction in the supply of HCFCs is likely to lead to illegal trade in these chemicals. Hence, training for enforcement officers in the Asia-Pacific region on detection and prevention of illegal trade in ODS in coordination with the relevant national authorities for ODS control is necessary and timely,” said Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator of the OzonAction Branch, UNEP-ROAP.
The Asia-Pacific region is currently the world’s largest producer and consumer of HCFCs – chemicals used mainly in the refrigeration industry and the foam sector.
“In compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, countries are now faced with the challenge of phasing out HCFCs. Developing countries are required to freeze consumption of these chemicals by 1 January 2013 and ensure a 10% reduction in consumption by 1 January 2015. Since consumption is largely dependent on the international trade of these chemicals, we are now seeing that enforcement officers, particularly Customs and border control officers, have a huge role to play in the nations’ efforts to phase-out HCFCs and protect the ozone layer” continued Mr Bagai.
This train the trainer workshop was organised by the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) of the OzonAction Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP-ROAP). UNEP, being one of the implementing agencies of the Montreal Protocol, assists developing countries in their capacity-building efforts to comply with their commitment under the Protocol to phase out ODS.
Through a combination of lectures, discussions, field visit and hands-on exercises, the workshop provided participants with the skills necessary to monitor and control the imports and exports of HCFCs as well as products and equipment relying on ODS. This further initiated the creation of a regional pool of trainers for ODS monitoring and control, with the aim of extending this expertise and experience to national-level train-the-trainer workshops.
“In addition to skills development on monitoring and control of ODS, this training also intended to developed a national scheme for long-term and self-sustaining training to maintain a high proportion of trained personnel within the enforcement workforce during the entire period of the HCFC phase-out. Additionally by bringing together these enforcement officers, we have started to establish a network of ODS focal points within the enforcement agencies in the countries that are well linked with the national authority for ODS control” stated Ms. Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, Policy and Enforcement Officer of the OzonAction Branch, UNEP-ROAP.
Workshop participants from eight Asia-Pacific countries were joined by representatives from Regional Training Centres (RTCs), Interpol and the World Customs Organization (WCO) and other experts in ODS control.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Tel: +662 288 2127/02 288 2314; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Anne Fenner, Information Manager, UNEP OzonAction Programme, Tel: +33 1 4437 1454; Email: email@example.com
Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Network Coordinator, OzonAction Programme, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. Tel: +6622881662 ; Fax: +6622883041; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OzonAction Programme: www.unep.org/ozonaction
Making our borders safe: Asia-Pacific region readies itself to prevent a new challenge of illegal trade in ozone-depleting chemicals (pdf version)