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OzonAction Regional Ozone Network for Europe & Central Asia (ECA network)

Background

Regional Ozone Network for Europe & Central Asia 

The network includes 11 developing countries which are spread from Central Asia and Caucasus to the Balkans: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. It involves the countries with economies in transition (CEITs) in its meetings. The candidate countries Macedonia FYR, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are preparing the accession to the European Union. Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan intend to join the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. Neighboring countries include major trade partners such as China and the European Union, countries with economies in transition (CEIT countries) as well as Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, and the Syrian Arab Republic to the south. The operational languages of the network are English and Russian. 

Some facts and figures concerning the ECA network countries as of September 2014:

10 of 11 are in compliance with the Montreal Protocol phase-out schedules

All  reported ODS import/export licensing and HCFC import quota systems in place

All   ratified all Montreal Protocol amendments (since 2011)

All   reported Article 7 data for 2012 and  2013

All   reported Country Programme implementation data for 2013

All   reported zero methyl bromide consumption (since 2011)

10 of 11 have designated Montreal Protocol Customs focal points

8 of 11  updated their informal Prior Informed Consent data in 2013 or 2014

8 of 11  have national RAC associations in place

9 of 11  reported International Ozone Day activities

Similar efforts are undertaken by the 7 CEIT countries which include: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. These countries follow the more challenging phase-out schedules for developed countries e.g. 75% reduction of HCFC consumption from 2010 and 90% reduction of HCFC consumption from 2015. Thy are eligible for assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). All CEIT countries have operational import/export licensing systems in place to monitor and control trade of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). And most of them participate in the iPIC initiate and have designated Customs focal points as well.

Overall, all CEIT countries demonstrate a high commitment to comply with the Montreal Protocol provisions although some countries are facing compliance challenges:

- Azerbaijan in terms of its HCFC consumption and UNIDO assists the country in implementing a GEF-funded project to phase out its remaining HCFC consumption.

- Kazakhstan in terms of its HCFC and methyl bromide consumption and UNIDO is currently preparing a project on methyl bromide alternatives in agriculture and in the post-harvest sector and considering the preparation of a HCFC phase-out project to assist the country to return to compliance.

- Ukraine exceeded its allowable HCFC consumption since 2010 and is currently implementing its HCFC plan of action to return to compliance by 2015 with assistance of UNDP.

The priorities of the network will continue to evolve according to the needs of the network countries:

- Enabling National Ozone Units to efficiently implement their national HCFC phase-out management plans (HPMPs) and to meet the phase-out targets of the Montreal Protocol

- Monitoring of Montreal Protocol implementation in terms of compliance, consumption trends, data reporting, operation of import/export licensing and quota system, etc. This includes also the quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS) use of methyl bromide, which is increasing in a few countries.

- Strengthening national refrigeration & air-conditioning (RAC) associations as key actors in implementing HPMPs and to help overcome barriers to the introduction of ozone- and climate-friendly, energy efficient technologies

- Promoting training & certification (including e-learning) for RAC technicians and companies and in particular on the safe use of alternative ozone- & climate-friendly technologies which might use flammable, toxic or high-pressure refrigerants

- Promoting access to technology information, technology transfer & innovation to overcome barriers to the wide-spread market deployment of alternative ozone- & climate-friendly technologies

- Fostering the cooperation with the private sector including representatives of industry and national RAC associations, and with international stakeholders.

- Reviewing legislation and policy measures and the adoption of adoption of performance and safety standards applicable to the refrigeration & air-conditioning (RAC) sector

- Encouraging enforcement related initiatives such as the informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) iPIC initiative, analysis of differences in reported trade data, the ECA Ozone Protection Award for Customs and Enforcement Officers

Selected highlights of the ECA network in 2014 include the following:

Joint UNDP/UNIDO/UNEP meeting on the implications of joining the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, held in Minsk, March 2014: Delegations of the current members of the Customs Union and those from the prospective future members Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan discussed a set of action points on how to enforce the Montreal Protocol provisions in terms of mandatory reporting of imports, exports, production and destruction of ODS, mandatory national import/export licensing systems and trade restrictions with non-Parties. The delegates of the Eurasian Economic Commission explained the Customs Union legislation relevant for the Montreal Protocol implementation.

Ceremony of the ECA Ozone Protection Award (3rd edition) held in Sarajevo, May 2014: The award was provided to customs and law enforcement officers/organizations from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Cyprus, European Union, Georgia, Germany, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in May 2014. During the period from September 2012 to April 2014, they reported 133 seizures of 7,370 pieces of equipment and 9,513 refrigerant cylinders/tanks containing more than 467 tons of ODS or mixtures. Informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) consultations prior to the issuance of trade licenses avoided 67 unwanted/illegal shipments of more than 846 tons of ODS or mixtures. In addition, more than 175 tons of illegal trade in ODS was detected, which had taken place in the past. The 4th edition of the award has been launched during the RILO ECE meeting in Budapest in May 2014 and the award ceremony is scheduled for May 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Implementation of a regional strategy for ODS waste management and disposal in the ECA region: The UNIDO/UNEP pilot project  is funded by Multilateral Fund and aims at disposing waste containing ozone depleting substances (ODS) collected in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro. So far, 25 tons of waste has been collected and is awaiting disposal. The capacity building efforts under the project are expected to improve the waste collection and disposal systems and also ensure their sustainable operation.

The ECA network has evolved into a multi-stakeholder network involving a wide range and increasing number of national and international stakeholders. All of them have contributed to the ECA region’s compliance with Montreal Protocol targets. The credit and praise of this is widely shared. We congratulate and thank the high-level government officials and their national ozone teams, customs and other enforcement officers, refrigeration and air-conditioning experts, building planners and architects, private companies, academia, vocational schools, non-governmental organizations, public schools, media and the general public for the tremendous efforts and contributions.

Our special thanks are extended to all the resource persons from the Ozone Secretariat, the Multilateral Fund Secretariat, the implementing agencies and bilateral partners, our technical and policy experts from inside and outside the Montreal Protocol community as well as cooperating organizations such as IIR, AREA, ASHRAE, REHVA, UNCTAD, UNODC, WCO and EIA. All of them contributed their knowledge and shared their experiences often at their own costs and using their private time. We are also very grateful to UNDP and UNIDO who facilitated the participation of the CEIT countries in relevant activities.

Hundreds of Government officials and experts who participated in ECA network activities continue supporting the network and receiving our news through 7 dissemination lists which contain several hundreds of contacts. Additional outreach to this Montreal Protocol community in the ECA region is done through the ECA website and ECAcool webiste as well articles placed in regional journals or publications of our partner agencies.

ECA network team of UNEP OzonAction in Paris: Ms. Mugure Kibe, Mr. Jim Curlin, Ms. Benedictine Desbois, Ms. Jo Chona, Ms. Jemal Purliyeva, Mr. Halvart Koeppen, Ms. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Mr. Mikheil Tushishvili, Ms. Barbara Huber (from left to right)