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Ozone Officers Agree to Sustain Achievements Gained in the Past 25 Years

Djibouti/Nairobi, 24-27 September 2012-  Ozone Officers agreed to sustain achievements gained in the past 25 years since the Montreal Protocol was adopted during this year’s Ozone Officers’ Network for Africa (ODSONET/AF) meeting held from 24-27 September, in Djibouti. The sixteenth joint meeting of the English and French Speaking Africa networks, which is one of the activities under the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), was attended by over fifty African countries, Implementing Agencies, Secretariats, other UN agencies, and Government officials from Djibouti.

Speaking at the opening session, Mr. James Curlin, UNEP Interim Head of OzonAction, extended a special welcome to the representative of South Sudan, whose country is officially participating in this Regional Network meeting for the first time. 

 This 16th joint meeting comes at a key crossroad in the life of the Montreal Protocol: as we are just a few days away from 1 January 2013, the date when developing countries must freeze their consumption and production of HCFCs.  In his statement, Mr. Curlin stated that the Beijing Amendment requires that each party to that amendment bans the export of HCFCs. Any party exporting HCFCs to a non-party after that date will be considered to be in non-compliance.  Non-Parties to the Beijing Amendment will also be prohibited from importing any newly produced HCFCs after 1 January 2013, he added. As of today, there are 6 countries in Africa which have not ratified the Beijing Amendment and UNEP strongly urged those 6 countries to complete the ratification of the Beijing Amendment as early as possible to avoid a cut off of HCFCs supplies needed for their economies. 

 UNEP Ozone Secretariat Programme Officer, Mr. Gerald Mutisya, in his remarks, highlighted the key achievements of the Montreal Protocol as this year marked the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol; stating that twenty-five years ago on 16 September 1987 the Montreal Protocol was adopted with one main objective – to phase out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances.  At that time, only 8 chemicals-5 CFCs and 3 halons- were controlled. However, subsequent amendments to the Protocol added more controlled chemicals whose number stand at 90 ozone-depleting substances to date.

 In the same meeting officers had a chance to register for a webinar that aimed to inform its audience on the HCFC phase-out activities in Africa. The consumption of HCFC in all countries in Africa is basically associated with the building/construction sectors, due to foam and air-conditioning industry/services, which is one of the key pillars of national economies. Insulation and Air-conditioning sectors are considered to be the core of the construction/building sector in Africa and the construction/building sector is the backbone of national development plans and is contributing significantly to the national economies of all African states. Therefore, the African CAP team carefully addressed its services and support activities in order to ensure steady, irreversible and sustained steps towards HCFC compliance with less socioeconomic adverse impacts.

After four days of intense deliberations, the participants discussed, the benefit of recovery and recycling schemes in terms of actual use of equipment; Procedures to follow to combat importation of fake refrigerants; Strengthening good refrigeration servicing; how to sustain experience gained so far in drafting/enforcing legislation and regulation to comply with the Montreal Protocol obligations, among others. They further resolved that it is necessary to follow up activities by awareness raising and training on new developments, strengthening the bridges among the African countries with intergovernmental NGOs, identifying and involving potential stakeholders, just to mention a few.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Dini Abdallah Omar, Secretary General for the Ministry of Habitat, Urbanization and Environment reiterated the need for all the African countries to make the valuable recommendations work and to sustain achievements made in the past 25 years of the Montreal Protocol.

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...”

For more information, please contact:
Patrick Salifu, Regional Policy and Enforcement Officer, UNEP ROA OzonAction CAP
Tel: +254 20 7623956 e-mail: patrick.salifu@unep.org