Start-up meeting for implementation of the Regional Strategy for ODS Waste Management and Disposal in the ECA Region

Vienna, 12 October 2013 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) have organised the Start-up meeting for implementation of the Regional Strategy for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Waste Management and Disposal in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region from 9-11 October in Vienna, Austria. The meeting has been organized with the support of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, as part of a project entitled “Demonstration of a Regional Strategy for ODS Waste Management and Disposal in the ECA Region.” The project focuses on assisting countries in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region dispose or destroy of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in an environmentally-friendly manner that protects Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer.

The participating countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and Montenegro - consume low volumes of ozone depleting substances and therefore require specific approaches and ODS management strategies compared to larger countries. In these countries, the amount of collected ODS is usually not high enough for the establishment of local chemical disposal facilities. The project seeks to demonstrate that a regional approach for this type of country can be a cost efficient and sustainable solution for ODS waste disposal in the region, particularly in the ones participating in this project. The project is being implemented jointly by UNEP and UNIDO.

The overall goal of the start-up meeting is to assist the participating countries to develop a detailed work plan and project implementation details, establishment and outline of the working procedures of the Regional Cooperation Forum (RCF), agree on the tasks and responsibilities of each stakeholder, thoroughly review the existing legislation in all countries, and agree on the tender documents for international ODS transport and disposal.

The outline of tender documentation was presented and discussed. Participants agreed on the format and timeline for the various bidding processes to be launched in 2013. Regarding the provision of equipment and tools to support aggregation activities in the recovery and recycling centres participating in this project, UNIDO will engage these centres in a discussion on technical specifications prior to the publication of the corresponding call for bids. For the destruction of a first batch of already-collected ODS waste, the discussion focused on the various alternatives regarding the structure and contents of the Terms of Reference and the corresponding Call for Proposals.

It is very important to undertake a qualitative analysis of refrigerant waste of unknown composition since the project can only cover ODS waste, more specifically chloroflurocarbon (CFC) waste and refrigerant mixtures containing CFCs and hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which cannot be reused. This is important to ensure eligibility of the refrigerant waste under this project and to have as detailed data as possible for the Terms of Reference for disposal.

In this regard, Croatia will organise a one day stakeholder’s consultation meeting on operation and handling identifiers, recycling and reclaim equipment and gas chromatographers. The goal of this meeting will be to exchange experience and knowledge with various stakeholders such as laboratories, chemical faculties, three Recovery /Recycling (R/R) centers and others. The meeting will be hosted by one of the R/R centers successfully operating in Croatia.

Participants stated that the ODS R/R system is well-developed and functional in Croatia.
This experience, its advantages and barriers, will significantly enhance national recycling and recovery actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro if shared. The participants agree to organize two training workshops to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Montenegro in order to disseminate experience of the collection and aggregation system applied in Croatia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that the training can take place in June-July of 2014 with various stakeholders: experts from mechanical faculty (training centres), owners of R/R mobile equipment, licensed operators of equipment (collectors of waste), environment fund representatives, importers of refrigerants, environment inspectors and others. A similar meeting will also be organised in Montenegro. Croatia will support these activities through participation of resource persons from the Ministry, R/R centres and other relevant offices.

Another issues discussed was how to ensure the synergies with other chemical initiatives especially in the Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) focal area. The project plans to explore possibilities in all three countries  to work with the POPs teams in order to identify those areas in ODS and POPs management, particularly inventory making, data collection and maintenance, handling, transportation, storage and disposal where joint efforts could lead to resource and cost reduction. Countries agreed to find the common grounds at the national levels and report back to implementing agencies.

The countries also expressed a need to exchange information with other initiatives in the region.  They also requested UNEP to organize the special thematic meeting in 2014 (autumn) under the ECA Regional Network of Ozone Officers with the aim of exchanging experience, knowledge and lessons learnt with other similar projects implemented in the region (Georgia and Turkey destruction projects, Macedonia’s FYR’s experience in dealing with ODS and POPs waste, Serbia’s actions for disposal of ODS waste etc.)

Based on outcomes of the meeting, the work plan was agreed upon by participants.

For further information:

Mikheil Tushishvili, Programme Officer, UNEP DTIE OzonAction Programme:

Manuel Caballero Alarcon, Industrial Development Officer, Montreal Protocol Branch, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO):