Division of Technology, Industry and Economics

Customs & Enforcement

This page brings together a range of materials intended to support customs and enforcement officers in their work to implement national licensing systems for ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, to detect and prevent illegal trade in these chemicals, and to facilitate the legal trade.

Below you can find training materials and information resources specifically produced for customs and enforcement officers by the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme. Many of these are produced in cooperation with our partner organisations. You will also find a number of additional resources relevant to issues of trade in ozone depleting substances. Links to useful external sources, information tools and websites are also provided. You are encouraged you to consult this page regularly for the latest updates.

Latest Publications

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FACT SHEET: Informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) Supporting Compliance through prevention of illegal and unwanted trade in ozone depleting substances

In 2006, the UNEP DTIE OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), as part of its work in providing assistance to developing countries to fulfill their commitments under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, launched the ‘informal Prior-Informed Consent’ (iPIC) mechanism...

This factsheet gives an overview of IPIC and what transpired in 2015.

Read iPIC Report 2014
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International Standards in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning An introduction to their role in the context of the HCFC phase-out in developing countries

As a result of the ongoing phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, countries - particularly developing countries are in the process of introducing alternatives to these ozone depleting substances (ODS)...

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Phasing - out Methyl Bromide in Developing Countries A success story and its challenge

Threatened by the depletion of the ozone layer, the global community developed and signed the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and set up the Multilateral Fund to support developing countries to meet their commitments under the Montreal Protocol.

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Training Manual For Customs and Enforcement Officers Saving the ozone layer: Phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances in Developing Countries

While the information contained herein is believed to be accurate, it is of necessity presented in a summary and general fashion. The decision to implement one of the options presented in this document requires careful consideration of a wide range of situation-specific parameters, many of which may not be addressed by this document...

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UNEP Guide for National Ozone Officers

A key factor contributing to the remarkable success of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the ‘country-driven approach’ promoted by the Executive Committee of the Protocol's Multilateral Fund (MLF). This approach places National Ozone Units at the centre of the action to protect the ozone layer...

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OzonAction Publications Catalogue 2014 Supporting Compliance through prevention of illegal and unwanted trade in ozone depleting substances

Information on science, policies, and technologies forms the base of a knowledge society. Since 1991, the information clearinghouse of UNEP DTIE OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme has been helping developing countries to make informed decisions by providing quality-reviewed, need-based information services on technology support and capacity building...

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OzonAction Special Issue A Healthy Atmosphere: the Future We Want

As stated by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, “Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary responses. A generation ago, the world’s nations came together quickly and resolutely to protect the endangered Ozone Layer, initiating an inter-governmental process that blazed new trails.”

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HCFC Policy & Legislative Options A Guide for Developing Countries

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are ozone depleting substances (ODS) controlled by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer that are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning, foam blowing and solvent applications.

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Guidance on the Process for Selecting Alternatives to HCFC in Foams Sourcebook on technology options for safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system

At the Meeting of the Parties that fittingly took place in Montreal in October 2007 to celebrate the establishment of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer 20 years earlier, the Parties entered into an agreement which has taken the Protocol community into a new phase of activity.

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Alternatives to HCFCs in the Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Sector Practical Guidelines and Case Studies for Equipment Retrofits and Replacement

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are ozone depleting substances (ODS) controlled by the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning, foam blowing and solvent applications.

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OzonAction Communication Strategy For Global Compliance with the Montreal Protocol 2010

This 2010-2020 Communication Strategy will help the OzonAction Programme to take global compliance with the Montreal Protocol (MP) to the next level. The benefits of strong, early action on ozone layer protection outweigh the costs!

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Vital Ozone Graphics 2.0 Climate Link Resource kit for journalists

This second edition of "Vital Ozone Graphics" includes details on the latest decisions taken by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs and outlines the implications this has on the use of replacement chemicals. The Resource Kit also focuses on the linkages and interconnections between ozone depletion and climate change – and the remaining challenges posed by the considerable amounts of ozone depleting substances remaining in equipment around the world.

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Ozzy & Zoe go around the World An Implementation Manual for the Ozzy Ozone Campaign

While the Montreal Protocol has been a clear success due to the accelerated phaseout objectives for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) already achieved, we believe it can be enhanced. Several actions targeted for governments and civil society stakeholders, including children and youth awareness and educational activities, could improve the effectiveness of the international agreement and its national implementation and provide additional protection for the stratospheric ozone and climate.

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Utilisation securisée des fluides alternatifs aux HCFC en froid et climatisation (2016) Tour d’horizon à l’attention des pays en développement

Cet ouvrage fait un tour d’horizon de ces fluides alternatifs, de leurs caractéristiques générales et de leurs applications sous l’angle des questions de sécurité. Il donne aux Bureaux nationaux de l’ozone (BNO) des lignes directrices pour leur tâche de conseil et d’assistance aux parties prenantes nationales de leur pays pour les choix et la mise en application des réfrigérants alternatifs.

Read More: French | English

Minimising Quarantine and Pre-shipment (QPS) Uses of Methyl Bromide (2016) Tools for controlling, monitoring, and reporting

This booklet delivers on the management of data reporting of Methyl Bromide in Quarantine and Pre-Shipment applications and tracking MB use for this purpose. It is a useful reference tool for National Ozone Units, bio-security and plant quarantine officers, fumigating companies, students and other stakeholders, promoting transition to more environmentally friendly alternatives.

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Customs and Enforcement Materials

Training Manual for Customs Officers: Saving the Ozone Layer - Phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances in Developing Countries - Third Edition (2013)

Now in its third edition, this version takes into account the developments in international trade and provides new material to reflect changes in the Montreal Protocol, Harmonised System codes, licensing systems and other relevant information since its original publication in 2001 and its second edition in 2008.

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FACT SHEET: Free Trade Zones and Trade in ODS (2015)

Ozone depleting substances (ODS) controlled by the Montreal Protocol are susceptible to illegal trade due to the restrictions on their import and export in many countries and the continued high demand for many of these substances. As part of international trade many shipments of ODS pass through Free Trade Zones (FTZ) and a lack of proper oversight and controls in such zones can create an environment where illegal trade in ODS can proliferate. This can allow the import and export of ODS without proper licenses and not adhering to quotas set by countries as required under the Montreal Protocol.

This fact sheet gives an overview of what Free Trade Zones are and how they can be regulated.

Go to fact sheet:

English | Russian

E-Learning Module for Customs Officers

UNEP OzonAction and the World Customs Organization jointly developed an e-learning course in 2009 devoted to the enforcement of the Montreal Protocol, which regulates the international trade of Ozone Depleting Substances. Recently updated in 2015, this module is based on the contents of the UNEP Training Manual for Customs and Enforcement Officers (Third Edition) and reflects WCO's expertise in developing and delivering online training to customs officers worldwide. This collaboration was undertaken within the framework of an ongoing agreement between the two organisations to cooperate in capacity building of customs officers to facilitate legal trade in ODS and to fight illegal trade in those substances. This initiative is also under the auspices of the Green Customs Initiative, to which it is linked.

Download flyer

Enforcement Strategies for Combating the Illegal Trade in HCFCs and Methyl Bromide (2013)

This booklet provides guidance for establishing and implementing effective enforcement programs for preventing the illegal trade in HCFCs and methyl bromide. Drawing on lessons learned from earlier phase-outs, the booklet provides case studies, short examples and guidance from developed and developing countries. The booklet offers law enforcement officers numerous recommendations and highlights a variety of strategies, both simple and complex, that can be implemented with flexible approaches that maximize the efficient use of scarce human and financial resources.

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Risk Assessment of Illegal Trade In HCFCs (2011)

Despite significant progress in tackling illegal trade in ozone depleting substances over the past decade there is thought to be a significant threat in the near future of a dramatic increase in illegal trade in hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). There is, in general, a lack of awareness about the issue of illegal trade in HCFCs and the potential impact this may have on the HCFC phase-out.

This report provides a summary of recent cases of illegal trade and the policy measures in place to combat HCFC smuggling. By considering market conditions for HCFCs and drawing parallels with the context and methods used by smugglers which led to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) smuggling, the report provides an analysis of the risks of HCFC smuggling becoming entrenched and makes recommendations on how this illegal trade can be prevented.

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Customs and Enforcement officers - Monitoring trade in HCFCs - Information Note (2012)

The customs officers training programmes dealing with ozone depleting substances (ODS) controlled under the Montreal Protocol which have been conducted in developing countries were focused principally on monitoring and the control of trade in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Considering that CFCs have already been phased out (except for some exempted uses) customs officers now need to be more aware of shipments of other ODS, including hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Methyl Bromide.

This new information concerns new observations demonstrating the links between ozone layer depletion and climate change; the new approach taken by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol with regard to HCFC phaseout schedules; the forthcoming phaseout date for Methyl Bromide; new possibilities for ODS identification; and new methods of ODS smuggling.

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Customs and enforcement officers quick guide - Changes in the 2012 HS Nomenclature for HCFCs and certain other Ozone Depleting Substances

Since the last Harmonized System (HS) revision in 2007, trade patterns in ozone depleting substances have changed with the complete phase-out of CFCs in January 2010 (except for a few exempted uses) and the increased trade in HCFCs and HFCs as replacement chemicals. HCFCs will be phased-out by 2020 in developed and by 2030 in developing countries. Recognising this, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol requested the World Customs Organization (WCO) to revise the HS codes for HCFCs. Following this request, the Council of the WCO recommended to the Contracting Parties to the HS Convention to amend heading 29.03 of Chapter 29 with the objective of assigning specific 6-digit HS codes to the five most commonly used HCFCs, and at the same time deleting individual HS codes previously assigned to CFCs. The HS Contract Parties amended the HS code and it entered into force on 1 January 2012. As of that date, HCFCs and certain other ODS have been separately identified in the HS. This 4-page Quick Guide provides key information related to these new classifications and briefly explains the changes.

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Green Customs Guide (2008)

The Green Customs Guide provides information and guidance to Customs and other border control officers to assist in their efforts to monitor and facilitate the legal trade and to detect and prevent the illegal trade in environmentally sensitive commodities such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, endangered species and living modified organisms.

The Customs Guide explains the Green Customs Initiative and provides an overview of the relevant treaties and organisations that are included in this initiative. Information is provided on how trade is regulated and the responsibilities of Customs officers in implementing the various controls are described. Specialised terminology is explained and sources of further information and assistance is provided. The Guide is designed to be used as a part of a training curriculum for customs officers or as a stand-alone resource.

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Chinese | English | Spanish | Russian

Customs Poster (2016)

The updated poster serves as an easy reference for customs and enforcement officers as it provides a short checklist of what to do particularly when inspecting ODS shipment. It also carries the latest HS codes to facilitate screening of ODS. We suggest that the poster be displayed prominently, especially in border offices through which ODS shipments are known or suspected to pass/transit.

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English | French | Spanish

Customs Officers Quick Tool For Screening ODS

An easy reference source that can be posted and easily consulted in the offices of customs officials or at border offices. The Quick Tool highlights the controlled ozone depleting substances, HS codes, ODS producing countries, etc.

Go to publication:

English | French | Spanish

Illegal Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances: Is there a Hole in the Montreal Protocol? (2001)

This special supplement to the OzonAction Newsletter raises awareness about the problem of illegal trade in ozone depleting chemicals such as CFCs. Contributed articles from government, academic and NGO experts from developed and developing countries explore the complexities of illegal ODS trade and offer recommendations for actions to solve this problem.

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Customs Training - Generic slide presentation

A complete series of overhead slides that can be used during training workshops for customs officers on controlling and monitoring ODS. National trainers may modify certain slides to adapt it to the national or regional context (updated March 2014).

English | French | Spanish

Generic Customs Training Elements

These generic documents help facilitate the prepraration of training workshops for customs officers. The trainer and organisers of the workshop can adapt the proposed text to the national context.

  • Customs Training Concept Note En | Fr | Sp
  • Phase I training - 3-day agenda  En | Fr | Sp
  • Phase II training - 1-day agenda En | Fr | Sp
  • Phase I & II training - 5-day agenda  En | Fr | Sp
  • Agenda for briefing high level customs executives  En | Fr | Sp
  • Model Training Strategy for Enforcement Officers under the HPMP  En | Fr | Sp
  • Break out session  En | Fr | Sp
  • Break out session report form   En | Fr | Sp
  • Certificate of participation   En | Fr | Sp
  • Evaluation questionnaire  En | Fr | Sp
  • Case studies for customs inspectors   En | Fr | Sp

Nothing to Declare: Good Customs to Save the Ozone Layer

This video introduces customs officers to the reality of the illegal ODS trade and shows preventative measures that can be taken. The video is intended for use in training programmes and includes comprehensive listings of ODS, their container types and smuggling examples. Undercover footage and analysis by experts provide a thorough grounding for addressing this critically important environmental crime.

 English 1 & 2 | French 1 & 2 | Spanish 1 & 2

Further information on ODS trade issues

Informal Prior-Informed Consent (iPIC): Supporting compliance through prevention of illegal and unwanted trade in ozone depleting substances (2014)

In 2006, UNEP launched an initiative with a modest number of countries which enabled a mechanism of Informal Prior-Informed Consent (iPIC) to be adopted in order to better control trade in substances that are restricted under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Since then, the iPIC has become a global voluntary initiative for like-minded states who wish to strengthen the implementation of their national licensing system for ozone depleting substances. This short booklet aims to briefly describe the functioning and advantages of the iPIC system, to provide some information on results and successes from iPIC in 2014 and to encourage countries which are not yet members to join and to begin to reap the benefits of this initiative.

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Establishing an HCFC Import Quota System (2012)

Parties to the Montreal Protocol are obliged to follow the phase-out Schedule for Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) production and consumption which were agreed upon in 2007. Furthermore submissions from Article 5 countries to receive any funding for HCFC phase out beyond from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol will require confirmation that an enforceable national system of licensing and quotas for HCFC imports and, where applicable, production and exports is in place.

Since the first control measures for developing countries for HCFCs come into force on 1 January 2013, actions to ensure an effective licensing and quota system before this date are essential. This booklet provides the necessary information and practical guidance for developing countries to design and implement a workable and effective quota system that will contribute to ensuring the country's compliance with the Montreal Protocol HCFC phase-out schedule.

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Handbook for the Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - Ninth Edition (2012)

The eighth edition of the Handbook was published shortly after the Protocol, along with the Vienna Convention, achieved universal participation, by 196 Parties, on 16 September 2009 – the first treaties of any kind in the history of the United Nations system to achieve that aspiration.

This edition has been updated to include all relevant information from the last three years, 2009– 2011. Section 1 contains the text of the Montreal Protocol and a summary guide to its control measures. Section 2 is on decisions of the Meetings of the Parties. Section 3 presents information from the relevant annexes to the decisions. Section 4 is on the rules of procedure. In Section 5, the information on the evolution of the Montreal Protocol is presented. This valuable historical information on the original 1987 Montreal Protocol and the separate adjustments and amendments to the Protocol that were adopted by the Meetings of the Parties in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2007 is of interest in demonstrating how the ozone regime has evolved over time in line with developing scientific knowledge and technological developments. Finally, Section 6 contains updated sources of information and contact details for relevant organizations.

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iPic online

The online system provides iPIC (Informal Prior Informed Consent) participating countries with real-time, 24-hour, 7-days a week personalized access to key licensing system data in each of the participating countries.

The system provides a standardized and secured repository of iPIC data. iPIC-online is accessible on an invitation-only basis and only registered users (country focal points) of countries that have submitted an iPIC Information Sheet can have access to iPIC-online and to all the published sheets.

Go to iPic online

Trade Names of Chemicals containing Ozone Depleting Substances and their Alternatives

A worldwide database of the commercial trade names of chemical products containing ozone depleting chemicals -including HCFCs - controlled under the Montreal Protocol. This service is designed to help customs officials and National Ozone Units control imports and exports of these chemicals and prevent their illegal trade.

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Key links for Customs Officers

Ozone Secretariat

One of the most essential sources of information and data on the Montreal Protocol and ODS phase out. The links below are some of the information that National Ozone Units (NOU) and Customs Officers may need to consult regularly in the course of their work.

Go to Ozone Secretariat

The International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC) database

The ICSC online database enables users to access relevant and useful information on the safety aspects of any specific chemical they may eventually need to deal with or handle physically. The database can be searched by typing in the ICSC number, the CAS number or theChemical name. The safety cards are also available in other languages.

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External links and useful documents

Green Customs Initiative

The Green Customs Initiative is a partnership of international organisations working together to enhance the capacity of customs officers and and enforcement personnel to monitor and facilitate the legal trade and to detect and prevent the illegal trade in environmentally-sensitive commodities covered by relevant conventions and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).

Go to Green Customs Website

Online Customs Training module - Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)

This training was developed by the CEC Secretariat, with input by UNEP OzonAction and others. The CEC was established under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) to address environmental issues in North America from a continental perspective, with a particular focus on those arising in the context of liberalized trade. Available in French, English and Spanish.

Go to Online Customs Training module

Environmental Investigation Agency

Visit the EIA website for more information on ozone and climate issues.

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