Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Technicians Certified using European Standards
Kigali, 13 June 2014 - The workshop on the establishment and operation of certification schemes and national/regional RAC associations took place in Kigali, Rwanda. Over 50 participants attended the meeting representing the Government of Rwanda, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), National Ozone Units (NOUs) and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) experts from the African Anglophone Network, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration European contractors’ Associations (AREA) and Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.
Honorable Minister of Natural Resources (Land, Forests, Environment and Mining) Mr. Stanislas Kamanzi, welcomed the participants to Rwanda and officially opened the meeting. He appreciated the UNEP OzonAction Branch for its support towards implementation of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) and the Multilateral Fund for the financial support. He acknowledged the need for African countries to establish certification schemes as a basis to ensure that every alternative refrigerant is safe for the environment.
In her welcome remarks, Ms. Rose Mukankomaje, Director General of REMA affirmed that Rwanda has implemented all activities leading to the reduction of consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). “We are currently implementing the second phase of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase-out Management Plan and would like to extend our appreciation to UNEP for the technical support extended to us. Training of refrigeration technicians on the use of alternative refrigerants, with no effect to the environment has been done and more of such trainings are being done to the rest of the refrigeration technicians in the country,” she said. In January 2014, REMA issued a ban on the importation of R-22, a common refrigerant that is currently being phased out. REMA has been working closely with Rwanda Bureau of Standards and Customs officers to ensure compliance.
Mr. Patrick Salifu, UNEP’s Regional Network Coordinator for Anglophone Network expressed gratitude to the government of Rwanda for hosting the workshop. He went ahead to strongly appreciate the refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians for their cooperation in the implementation of Montreal Protocol (MP) activities and encouraged strong partnership and networks with the National Ozone Units (NOUs) so as to increase efficiency in implementation of MP activities as countries prepare to meet the 2015 deadline. He reported that Rwanda together with the rest of African countries met the 2010 total CFC phase-out target. The Government of Rwanda is therefore to be congratulated on this highly successful effort to comply with this time-targeted international environmental commitment. It shows that Rwanda and the rest of African countries can successfully meet and overcome serious challenges. The same dedication, energy and resourcefulness that was shown for the CFC phase- out must now be applied to the phasing out of HCFC s phase-out. There is a big challenge given that we are 7 months away from the 10% HCFC reduction of consumption target which will be assessed in 2016. He reaffirmed the critical importance of strategic partnerships between the NOUs and the RAC technicians to strengthen the national RAC associations in order for the countries to reach their HCFC phase-out milestones.
The workshop began with discussions on impacts of refrigerants on the environment, destruction of the ozone layer and impacts of the ozone layer depletion in a session led by Mr. Marvin Kamthunzi, RAC expert from Malawi. He noted that one way of cost effectively phasing out HCFCs is through recovering the refrigerant and reusing it. R22 is widely available in developing countries. The technicians should be trained not to vent but reuse the refrigerant thereby saving money.
This thematic meeting saw the certification of RAC experts by Mr. Marco Buoni, vice president, AREA (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration European Contractors’ Associations). After a theoretical examination, the technicians proceeded to a practical examination after which they were considered certified. Mr. Buoni proceeded to explain step-by-step how national RAC associations could be created, their structure and potential budget requirements.
Image: (RAC Technicians together with Mr. Marco Buoni vice president, AREA during the practical examination session)
The technicians were challenged to establish national RAC associations by Jan. 2015. Those with associations already in place were asked to strengthen them while UNEP would communicate with the relevant government authorities or agencies encouraging them to start certification schemes. UNEP and AREA was requested to assist in these training and certification programs.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Patrick Salifu, Regional Network Coordinator, Anglophone Network Tel: +254207623956: Email: Patrick.Salifu@unep.org
Ms. Pauline Achoka, Programme Associate - Communication Officer, Regional Office for Africa (ROA)-Ozone Unit- Tel: +254-20 762 5319; Email: Pauline.Achoka@unep.org
OzonAction Programme: www.unep.org/ozonaction
Ozone Secretariat: www.ozone.unep.org
Multilateral Fund: www.multilateralfund.org