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SEA Ozone Officers and Customs join hands to promote compliance and enforcement of Montreal Protocol and other chemical and waste MEAs

Luang Prabang, 6 April - To assist developing countries in their efforts to ensure compliance with the Montreal Protocol and to combat illegal trade in ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances), the Network Meeting of Ozone Officers in the Southeast Asia region (SEA) was held by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) in collaboration with the Pollution Control Department of Lao PDR in Luang Prabang, from 1-3 April 2014. This meeting was held in parallel with a Capacity Building Workshop of SEAP’s Customs Officers on illegal trade in chemicals and wastes and culminated on 4 April 2014 in a Joint Meeting of Ozone Officers and Customs Officers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam.

The objective of the Network Meeting was to promote effective implementation of HCFC Phase-out Management Plans (HPMPs), focusing on sharing of experiences and to review the policy and technical challenges necessary for countries to complete the phase-out of methyl bromide by 1 January 2015. The meeting also informed participants of the newly approved EU F-gas regulation and provided updates and discussion of the policy and technical developments from the recent Montreal Protocol and Executive Committee meetings. A number of other important issues were discussed such as: the issue of international standards in refrigeration and air-conditioning, maximizing climate benefits from HCFC phase-out, and incorporating alternative refrigerants into room air conditioner energy efficiency labeling systems.  

In his opening statement, Dr. Khamman Chanthalangsy, Chief-General of Governors Office and Deputy President of the Environmental Steering Committee, Luang Prabang Province, Lao,  mentioned that despite Luang Prabang not being a significant trade hub, his province however had participated in a number of activities under the Refrigerant Management Plan (RMP) and HPMP, such as hosting training workshops for servicing technicians from the northern region of Lao to monitor and control the import of ODS, and conducting the inspections of refrigerant composition using refrigerant identifiers.

“We will maintain cooperation with the National Ozone Unit to ensure that Lao PDR will be able to meet all remaining obligations under the Montreal Protocol i.e. 10% reduction in 2015, 35% reduction in 2020, 67.5% reduction in 2025, 97.5% reduction in 2030 and complete phase-out in 2040” said Ms. Keobang A. Keola, Director General, Pollution Control Department who co-chaired the meeting with UNEP Regional Network Coordinator for Southeast Asia, Mr. Shaofeng Hu.    

The parallel Customs workshop aimed at enhancing the capacity of frontline Customs Officers on prevention and control of illegal transboundary trafficking of ODS, other chemicals and wastes as a cost effective, efficient means to build synergies for Montreal Protocol compliance, to combat illegal trade of  ODS  and other chemicals and wastes, as well as strengthening cooperation between relevant government authorities.

The one-day Joint Meeting following the Network meeting and Customs workshop was attended by more than 50 Ozone and Customs Officers as well as representatives from UNEP, UNDP, UNIDO, the Ozone Secretariat and the World Bank. The meeting aimed to explore opportunities and options to further strengthening cooperation between National Ozone Units and Customs authorities on the implementation of the ODS import/export licensing/quota systems, prevention and control of illegal trade in ODS as well as chemicals and wastes.  The joint meeting  reviewed  the current situation and trends regarding illegal trade, analyzed the discrepancies in ODS trade data between importing/exporting countries, explored options for building synergies among chemical and waste MEAs (Multilateral Environmental Agreements), and discussed customs training needs and potential areas for further cooperation.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Shaofeng Hu, Regional Network Coordinator for Southeast Asia ,  Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (ROAP) Tel: +66 22881126; E-mail: shaofeng.hu@unep.org