Though SEAP countries' compliance with 100% CFC phase-out starting 1 January 2010 will not be ascertained until data reporting are done in 2011, the countries are confident in successfully achieving the target. Three countries (Fiji, Myanmar and Singapore) have already phased out CFC consumption while the rest have reduced their 2008 consumption beyond the 85 per cent target. Other ODS (halons, CTC and methyl chloroform) have also been drastically reduced or phased out.
However, with two main producers of CFC and major transit ports in the region, there are lingering risks of illicit trade of CFC that could undermine the effort of the countries to effectively implement the Montreal Protocol. The SEAP and South Asia Network, with bilateral support from Sweden to strengthen cooperation between Customs and Ozone officers at the regional and national levels, will continue its effort to monitor and prevent illegal trade of ODS in the region.
Furthermore, there is considerable stock of CFCs remaining in banks of refrigeration equipment that, without proper disposal management, could cause significant depletion of the ozone layer. Since CFCs in equipment are not considered as controlled substance, the disposal of CFCs was not considered a high priority issue for the SEAP countries in the past. However, many SEAP countries are now seriously considering measures to collect and dispose these CFCs. This would have double benefit of preventing further damage to the ozone layer and reducing global warming at the same time since these CFCs have high global warming potential.
Another remaining challenge is on the growing consumption of methyl bromide in Quarantine and Pre-shipment (QPS) applications. While methyl bromide use for QPS is currently exempted, there is a possibility that these uses could be subjected to future control by the Parties. This would also reduce the risk of diversion of QPS import to non-QPS application. The SEAP Network will continue to discuss the needs to improve control and monitor and promote reduction of methyl bromide use in QPS applications.
The biggest challenge for the SEAP countries would be on the advanced phase-out of HCFCs. HCFC consumption among all SEAP countries has significantly increased. Six out of the top 25 developing countries with the highest consumption of HCFCs are from the SEAP Network: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore due to their large base of air-conditioning manufacturers. The SEAP country's HCFC consumption is also larger than peak CFC consumption in the past when compared in metric tons.
All the SEAP countries have been proactively phasing out ozone depleting substances. The 2008 CFC consumption of many countries are already below the 85% reduction target. It is expected that all SEAP countries would be able to meet the 2007 target without major difficulties due to strong enforcement of licensing system, projects to convert from ODS to alternatives and activities to reduce its demand in servicing existing equipment.
During the past seventeen years, the Network has strengthened the capabilities and confidence of the Ozone Officers, and thereby accelerated the formulation of policies and regulations in the member countries. The support has promoted a faster ODS phase out by providing a mechanism through which the countries can share ideas, discuss and find solutions to common problems, and replicate each other's best programmes with increased confidence they will succeed.
Major achievements from the SEAP Network include: development and sharing of information sheet on official importers and exporters in each country; voluntary adoption of prior informed consent procedure to control the export of CFCs to countries in the region with Singapore taking a leading example; and sharing of information on ODS trade that led to bilateral cooperation to address discrepancy between importing and exporting countries. Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam had participated in the south-south cooperation on cross-border trade where the Ozone and Customs Officers agreed to share their trade information to improve the control of ODS trade between the countries and to prevent illegal trade.
One of the biggest achievements of the SEAP Network was the trust established between the Ozone Officers through close relationship developed during the network meetings over the past years. This has allowed the Ozone Officers to share sensitive information and help each other to meet the common goals of the Montreal Protocol.