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SOUTH ASIA
REGIONAL NETWORK OF OZONE OFFICERS
In 2002, UNEP as an Implementing Agency of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol made a conscious departure from the past in assisting developing countries to enable them to implement the Montreal Protocol. This has resulted in the establishment of the UNEP Compliance Assistance programme (CAP) with specialized staff in the regional offices to provide direct technical assistance to countreis in the region for achieving compliance with Montreal Protocol targets on a continuing basis. The Multilateral Fund has continuously supported the CAP for six years since its inception in 2002.

The Ozone Officers Network for South Asia, or ODSONET/SA, is managed by UNEP as part of its global networking under the OzonAction Branch. Member countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Korea (Democratic Republic of), Korea (Republic of), Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and two developed countries: Japan and United States of America.

The Regional Network Coordinator (RNC) who oversees activities in this region is assisted by a Policy and Enforcement officer, a Refrigerant Management Plan Officer and a Methyl Bromide Officer. Together this team of experts oversees and addresses the needs of the SA ODS Officers.

Key Achievements andRegional Activities

  • Compliance assistance to countries: During the past six years, compliance continued to be the main theme for the ROAP CAP team. UNEP organized regular network meetings and thematic meetings to address critical issues facing the countries in meeting Montreal Protocol compliance targets, in particular, the 50% and 85 % reduction in CFC consumption in 2005 and 2007.

  • Capacity building of NOUs: ROAP CAP organized an Orientation Workshop for New Ozone Officers, launched by the UNEP DTIE's Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP). This innovative training programme was piloted in Pakistan on 21-23 February 2006 and brought together 14 new officers from National Ozone Units from six countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan and the Philippines). This effort was supported by the Ozone Secretariat, Multilateral fund Secretariat, the three Implementing Agencies, World Bank, UNDP, UNIDO, bilateral partners like Japan, Germany, Sweden and Australia. In addition, capacity building of new NOU of Bhutan and Maldives were undertaken by Ozone Cell, India and NOU-Sri Lanka, respectively.

  • Informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC): The National Ozone Units (NOUs) of the South Asia network agreed on an Informal Prior Informed Consent mechanism for ODS trade. When issuing import/export licenses, the NOUs would informally consult the list of registered importers/exporters and inform the corresponding NOU. The NOUs of exporting countries like China, Republic of Korea and India would ensure that the export licenses would not be issued in excess of the limits set in the phase out plans of the importing countries. The exporting company would also try to report the destination countries for the bulk ODS export while applying for the license. India, Republic of Korea and China have agreed to send copies of export licenses to NOUs of importing countries for information. Singapore, as the main transit hub in the region, implemented the mechanism in 2005 through informal content with the NOUs at the importing countries to verify the official list of CFC importers.

  • Project Sky Hole Patching: ROAP CAP with Customs Authorities in Asia and the Pacific launched a project "Sky Hole Patching" in September 2006. This initiative aims to establish a monitoring and notification system among member customs administrations to track the movement of shipments of ozone depleting substances and other dangerous wastes across the region to curb illegal trade in hazardous chemicals. To-date, 20 customs and environmental authorities from 18 countries joined the operation, including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Maldives, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

  • Regional Partner's Forum: ROAP CAP organized the 2nd Meeting of the Regional Partner's Forum of International Enforcement Organizations on Combating Environment Crimes in Thailand in July 2006.

    ROAP CAP intensively followed up on the Desk Study on trans-boundary movement of ODS through data analysis with countries, also referring to the Article 7 data reports provided by NOUs to the Ozone Secretariat, and EIA's analysis of customs data available in the public domain like Global Trade Atlas and United Nations Commodity Trade Database. UNEP ROAP is encouraging these countries to check companies involved, licenses granted, quantities and codes used, so that the answer of the discrepancy will be found and a possible investigation could be initiated.

  • South-south cooperation between countries: Another highlight is the South-South Cooperation between countries. Countries with greater experience on Montreal Protocol implementation assist new Ozone Officers develop and implement Montreal Protocol phase-out measures. Further, cooperation on implementation of trade regulations is an important highlight of south-south cooperation. For example, a bilateral agreement established between Maldives and Sri Lanka concerning the trade in CFCs. This agreement allows Maldives to import acceptable limits of CFCs from Sri Lanka ensuring that Maldives is not at risk of non-compliance due to over-import. As a part of south-south support, Iran provided one refrigerant identifier to Afghanistan and India provided two to Bhutan.

  • Thematic meeting on CFC MDI phaseout: CFC MDI phaseout is an important issue that has been affecting countries in the region especially the five large CFC MDI manufacturing countries. ROAP CAP organized a Thematic Meeting on phaseout of CFCs in the Metered Doses Inhalers (MDI) sub-sector for the South Asia region in Sri Lanka, December 2006 and for South Asia and South-East Asia and the Pacific region in Langakwi in March 2008 to assist the countries in the network having CFC production and consumption in MDI sub-sector to develop transition strategies to phaseout use of CFC MDIs and to design and implement measures to reduce dependence on CFC MDIs as well as increase market penetration of alternatives. The meeting also discussed implications of CFC consumption in MDI manufacturing in the network countries. During this meeting, industry in the region along with the Governments agreed to "Langkawi Declaration" on close coordination and cooperation for phasingout CFC MDI phaseout.

  • Meeting on consultations relating to HCFC phaseout: In the 19th MOP, HCFC phaseout adjustments which would accelerate HCFC production and consumption phaseout have been agreed to by the Parties. Following this, ROAP CAP in cooperation with GTZ Germany organised a workshop in Langkawi, Malaysia in March 2008 as a part of the network meeting on HCFC phaseout focusing on policies and technology options in different end-use applications.

  • ROAP CAP through the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), China, organized and led a technical visit of MBTOC experts in May 2006 to observe field sites established by the Qinghuangdao Leading Scientific Company for a bio-alternative to methyl bromide

  • ROAP CAP with the Centre for Environment Education in India organized a Regional Media Workshop in May 2006 to cover Montreal Protocol issues highlighting the importance and relevance of ozone layer protection. Further, ROAP CAP also conducted review of the Regional Awareness Strategy and based on inputs received, devised an action plan for years 2008 and 2009.


Future Objectives

With almost six years of regionalized delivery experience and important milestone of 2010 phase out commitments looming on the horizon, there is a need to review CAP's assistance to countries on compliance issues with a view to design the plan of action for the next five years and beyond. The focus in the next two years would be on compliance with 2010 targets and assisting countries in gearing up to the challenge of HCFC freeze in 2013 and 10% consumption phaseout by 2015.

CFCs

The Parties will need to review phase out of additional 15% from their base-line production and consumption within 2 years (2008-2009). This challenging last mile needs careful attention and would need country-wise assessment of CFC consumption situation and implementation of phaseout measures to phaseout this 15% left-over consumption. The focus would be on phasingout remaining CFCs consumed in RAC sector through NPPs and TPMPs and in CFC MDI manufacturing countries, addressing CFC MDI phaseout needs.

Other Ozone Depleting Substances

For most Parties, in particular the Low-Volume Consuming Countries (LVCs), the past approaches have focused on Country Programmes/Refrigerant Management Plans (CP/RMP) as vehicles of CFC phase out primarily with less focus on other ODS. As many countries have recently discovered, the phase-out of other ODSs such as methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride (CTC) and methyl chloroform (TCA), could pose significant problems as well. Issues, such as the controlling of methyl bromide import with exemption to quarantine and pre-shipment applications, use of CTC as process agents and laboratory and analytical uses would need to be addressed in the TPMP. Further, plans for production closures in the countries in the region e.g., production phaseout plans for South Korea for halons, are important to know so that the import dependent countries can define policies aligned to such plans.


HCFCs Adjustments

The Decision taken during the 19th MOP (Decision XIX/6) to accelerate the phase out of consumption and production of HCFCs in Article 5 countries has major implications on the work ahead for the countries and CAP. CAP team needs to gear itself up to this challenging new work area. CAP has already received some guidance from the 2007 CAP Advisory Group meeting in Montreal on 22 September 2007 about this issue (e.g. reorient some existing CAP services to address HCFCs to a certain extent, and consider developing web pages linked to other existing information resources related to HCFCs). The Executive Committee during the 53rd Meeting has had elaborate consultations on this issue and guidance from such discussions would be used in developing CAP business plans in the future years. It is also recognized that some of these interventions have linkages with climate change (e.g., use of low HCFC emission technologies, energy efficiency opportunities for HCFC phaseout etc.).

Chemical Management

The last few years have seen the coming into force of chemical Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) and discussions at the international forum are encouraging developing synergies between these MEAs. Various Governing Council, MOP and COP decisions encourage such cooperation and mandate the Secretariats to explore ways of enhancing the cooperation with other Secretariats of the MEAs. The Regional Office is being called upon to facilitate efforts of the various chemical conventions and SAICM at the regional level. This will provide a good opportunity to integrate the Montreal Protocol activities with other chemical management activities for sustaining such activities beyond 2010. Informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) is one such initiative actively being promoted in the region to reduce illegal trade. Recent approval of the SIDA project on Regional Enforcement Networking for Asia and Pacific will provide a good opportunity to explore these synergies at the ground level. Moreover, MOP decisions on Green Customs Initiative and illegal trade (XIV/7, XVII/16, XVIII/12 and XIX/12) will provide another opportunity to link Montreal Protocol with broader chemical management issues.

Beyond 2010

Experiences from A2 countries have revealed that post phase out issues are very difficult to handle and need much advanced planning. For example issues like ODS waste disposal and management of ODS banks in equipment will gain criticality in the coming years. Besides, continuing increase on HCFC dependence is likely to pose challenges in establishing the base line for 2009-2010 and achieving the 2013 freeze in HCFC consumption and production. Montreal Protocol Parties would need to analyze and assess needs beyond 2010 so that timely responses and mechanisms could be developed and put in place. These are issues that CAP would need to address from now onwards within the framework of decisions that will be taken by the Parties pursuant to MOP Decision XVIII/36.

The CAP work plan has been prepared for 2008 based on:

  • he overall compliance framework 2007-2010 based on the above mentioned priorities;
  • Experiences gained in the past 6 years in CAP implementation;
  • Important milestones of the Protocol of 50% and 85% reduction having been reached and efforts initiated for the next milestone of 2010;
  • Non compliance and other decisions of the 19th Meeting of the Parties (16-21 September 2007 in Montreal) and previous Meetings of the Parties;
  • Guidance provided through ExCom Decision.52/7
  • Guidance from the Compliance Advisory Group meeting on 22 September 2007 in Montreal;
  • HCFC Adjustments (MOP Decision XIX/6)
  • Consultation with the network countries, Secretariats, implementing Agencies and bilateral partners during the network meeting in Bali (12-14 November 2007).

While CAP teams will place a special focus on countries in actual or potential non-compliance, they shall continue to offer assistance, in support of implementation of on-going and future phase out activities, through the networks, information exchange and policy advisory services. Specific country-by-country assistance proposed in 2008 can be seen at Annex II to the Business Plan for 2008. The assistance will be provided through supporting NOUs to mainstream ozone issues in the national policies, thematic expertise in the CAP team, network meetings, email contacts, facilitating south-south cooperation, programmatic budget, sub-regional dialogues, coordinated country visits and compliance missions. Drawing from the work plan, a tentative country visit plan for 2008 can be seen at Attachment II.
The following will be the priorities in 2008 for the ROAP CAP team.

Enhancing National Capacity Building for compliance:

1. Assist countries in actual or potential non-compliance as per the 19th Meeting of the Parties decisions and 39th Implementation Committee recommendations. The priority countries will be:

Compliance Decisions from 19th MOP:

A. Iran (MOP decision XIX/27) to implement the approved plan of action wherein Iran commits:
(i) To reducing their CTC consumption to no greater than:
- 11.6 ODP-tonnes in 2007;
- Zero ODP-tonnes in 2008, save for essential uses that may be authorized by the Parties;
(ii) To monitoring its existing system for licensing imports and exports of ozone-depleting substances, including import quotas;

Follow up on Plans of Action:

B. Bangladesh to implement the MDI transition strategy to phase out CFC use from the MDI sub sector (MOP decision XVIII/16 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/4) and Bangladesh for non-compliance with freeze in consumption of TCA (MOP decision XVII/27);
C. Pakistan (MOP decision XVIII/31 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/27) for non compliance with control measures for CTC
D. Fiji for non compliance with control measures for MB (MOP decision XVII/33 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/15);
E. Federated States of Micronesia for non compliance with control measures for CFC (MOP decision XVII/32 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/14);
F. Maldives for non compliance with control measures relating to CFCs (MOP decision XV/37 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/23);
G. Nepal for non compliance with control measures relating to CFCs (MOP decision XVI/27 and Implementation Committee recommendation 39/25)

In addition to the above, to facilitate compliance the following activities are proposed to be undertaken.

H. CAP 's high-level mission to Republic of Korea to understand Halon supply and demand scenario and provide official report on halon phaseout in Republic of Korea,
I. Visit to North Korea for the verification of ODS production and consumption in coordination with UNIDO,
J. Visit to India to understand the Methyl Bromide consumption controls in QPS applications

2. Assist A5 Parties on prompt data reporting as per the 15th and 16th Meeting of the Parties decision XV/14 (4) , XV/15 (1) and Executive Committee Decision 40/11 (b). The Decision XV/15 is further reiterated in MOP Decision XVI/17 (8-9);

3.
Assist countries to fully implement the reporting requirement under Decision VII/16 for destinations for all exports of all ODS and implementation of informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) in 2008 with the inclusion of HCFCs also;

4.
Assist Brunei and Nepal to ratify London and other Amendments and all other countries to ratify the remaining Amendments;

5. Assist Timor Leste to ratify the Protocol and its Amendments;

6. Assist Ozone Officers to mainstream ozone issues in the priorities of other Line Ministries at the national level through network meetings (like through thematic meeting on MB with national agriculture officers or the 2008 regional MDI thematic meeting with national health officials), workshops and country missions, as well as through encouraging national synergies/policies for chemical based MEAs;

7. Assist LVCs and Sri Lanka to develop transition strategies for phase out of CFC MDIs. In addition, implement transition strategies for CFC MDI phaseout for Bangladesh and Iran as part of approved project with UNDP and UNIDO respectively. CAP has also received a request from India and Pakistan to assist with the implementation of the non-investment component of their transition strategy where UNDP is the Lead Agency.

8. Implement an "early warning system" to inform the Parties of potential non-compliance situations to enable them to take corrective actions to gear up for 2010 control measures;

9. Strengthen the regional informal advisory group on compliance comprising of Implementing Agencies, Secretariats and bilaterals to provide coordinated compliance advise and assistance to countries;

10. Increase regional awareness for compliance through implementation of the regional awareness action plan. During 2008, the action plan 2003-2007 will be critically evaluated and an action plan for the critical period 2008-2010 will be developed with assistance from the Regional information Officer and a few media experts.

11. Address issues of illegal trade through awareness, information exchange, regional and sub regional cooperation between countries and enforcement organisations and integrated (covering several MEAs) training. Strengthen the operation of the "Sky Hole Patching" and formal structure for the Regional Partner's Forum to strengthen MOP Decision XVII/16, sub para 7 and MOP Decision XIX/12. 2008 will also be a critical year to implement the new Regional Enforcement Networking project funded by SIDA and integration of ODS enforcement work with UNODC Border Liaison project. The PEO will also develop an overall framework and strategy for enforcement for the Asia and Pacific region during 2008. This will complement the current workplan on issues related to enforcement.

Contacts

Mr Atul Bagai
Regional Network Coordinator
South Asia
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
10th floor, UN Building
Rajdamnern Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Phone: +662 288 1679
Fax: +662 280 3829
Email: bagai@un.org