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Pakistan's top broadcast channels commit to ozone layer protection



7 September 2012, Karachi – Twenty broadcast professionals from leading TV and radio channels in Pakistan concluded today a “Media Workshop on Understanding the Links between Ozone Depletion and Climate Change”.

The workshop, held in Karachi, was organized by the Ministry of Climate Change, HUM TV, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) and UNEP DTIE OzonAction with support from the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

“This two-day workshop aimed to sensitize the media about climate and energy efficiency benefits of phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals such as HCFCs widely used in the foam sector and refrigeration and air-conditioning industry,” said Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, Joint Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change.

“Through the media, we would like the industry and the public to learn that by having ozone-friendly business and lifestyles, we also help protect climate and benefit from savings from energy efficiency,” Mr. Ashraf added.

Under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, all countries are committed to gradually reducing and eventually eliminating their production and use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) – such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl bromide, halons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) -- following an agreed timetable.

Having already eliminated most ODSs, Pakistan has embarked on a new phase of Montreal Protocol implementation: to phase out HCFCs. Pakistan  had its HCFC Phase-out Management Plans (HPMP) approved and funded by the Multilateral Fund and now being implemented with assistance from UNIDO and UNEP.

“While through the HPMP, refrigeration industry are being provided technical and financial grants to shift to ozone-friendly technologies, a very important activity that should be implemented to complement these are capacity-building, education and information dissemination programmes under the HPMP,” stated Mr. Asif Khan, Pakistan’s National Ozone Officer, Ozone Cell, Ministry of Climate Change.

“In the Asia-Pacific region where HCFC consumption is very large, National Ozone Units (NOUs) cannot do the work alone. Public-Private Partnerships are inevitable to meet the phase-out commitments under the Montreal Protocol. This workshop is truly unique and ground-breaking because a TV channel has taken an extra step of not only covering ozone issues but also sponsoring this project. We salute to HUM TV and other partners for showing real commitment to protect the ozone layer and our environment,” said Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator of UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The workshop sought to deepen the understanding of Pakistani broadcasters about ozone depletion, impact of ozone-depleting substances to climate change, HCFC phase-out obligations under the Montreal Protocol and the HCFC phase-out activities in Pakistan. Besides technical presentations, film screenings and discussions,  participants also went on a field visit to the refrigeration and air-conditioning factory of Dawlance, a major appliance manufacturer in Pakistan, which has received technical assistance and a grant from the Multilateral Fund to shift to non-CFC and climate-friendly alternative technology to make foam in refrigerators.

“The media has an extremely important part to play in educating the public about environment issues. There are many TV channels in Pakistan with a large viewership and these channels can be effectively mobilized to multiply ozone messages,” said Ms. Moneeza Hashmi, President of the CBA.

The organizers of the workshop also aimed to encourage the media to produce programmes and play a more pro-active role in educating the public on these issues.  In the discussions, participants committed to cover ozone and climate issues in their programmes, especially on the occasion of the International Ozone Day (16 September) and 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol that falls this year.

“The media has a responsibility to ensure that the public are made aware of issues that affect them, such as environmental problems that we face, and we should do it now. HUM TV is committed to this task and we are glad to contribute to this workshop,” said Ms. Sultana Siddiqui, President of HUM TV.

The uniqueness of the collaboration of the private sector with the government and international organizations such as UNEP and UNDP brought from the workshop a recommendation to replicate this model of engaging media companies on ozone issues in the whole Asia-Pacific region.

In its message to the workshop, UNDP conveyed its pleasure on being associated with the Montreal Protocol Project in Pakistan for the past several years. The project has supported the Ministry of Climate Change of the Government of Pakistan to achieve several milestones including replacement of CFCs in Meter Dosed Inhalers (MDIs). UNDP expressed its fullest support to the Pakistani media in creating large scale public awareness about environment and climate change related challenges and related coping strategies.
 
The main resource persons were science journalist Mr. Nalaka Gunawardene of TVE Asia-Pacific and representatives from UNEP OzonAction and Pakistan’s Ozone Cell. Participants were drawn from TV and radio channels in Karachi as well as from the four provinces, the Ministry of Commerce and some industry representatives of refrigeration and foam sector.

The workshop is part of Pakistan’s national celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol this month.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Fenner, Information Manager, UNEP OzonAction Programme, Tel: +33 1 4437 1454; Email: anne.fenner@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.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, it offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively. In all its activities, UNDP encourages the protection of human rights, capacity development and the empowerment of women. UNDP works in four main areas: poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); democratic governance; crisis prevention and recovery; and environment & climate change.