Professor Reuben Olembo, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, welcoming representatives from Governments, United Nations organizations and environmental and industrial non-governmental organizations, stated that, if 1996 is any indication, the ozone layer has continued to deplete. The ozone layer will heal early only if the phase-out of all ozone-depleting substances is carried out as early as possible.
He enumerated six actions that have to be taken: First, early phase- out of methyl bromide by both the developing and developed countries. Secondly, developing countries must begin full implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Third, the Implementing Agencies of the Multilateral Fund have to work closely with Governments in developing countries and reverse the trend of increasing consumption of ozone-depleting substances. Fourth, countries with economies in transition must also implement the Montreal Protocol with the support of the Global Environment Facility. Fifth, a system should be put in place in all countries to prevent new ozone-depleting substances from being marketed in the future. And lastly, illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances which still continues, must be completely stopped.
On the agenda of the meeting of the Working Group were proposals by six Parties to adjust or amend the Montreal Protocol as follows: regarding methyl bromide - advance the phase-out date from 2010 to 2001 for developed countries and establish phase-out dates for developing countries; hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) - establish production controls and advance phase-out dates for the developed countries; carbon tetrachloride - establish more intermediate controls for developing countries; set production baselines for developing countries for Annex A and B substances; and for all countries - to combat illegal trade, implement a licensing system for import and export of new, used, reclaimed or recycled substances and ban imports of all used, reclaimed or recycled controlled substances from Parties that continue to produce new substances after 1999.
Other issues on the agenda were critical agricultural use of methyl bromide, metered-dose inhalers (MDIs, used for treatment of asthma and lung disease), MDI transition strategies, the non-compliance status of Latvia, Lithuania and the Russian Federation as reviewed by the Implementation Committee, and the control of exports to developing countries of used products and equipment containing controlled substances as proposed by the African Group.
There was no consensus among the participants of the Working Group regarding the establishment of phase-out dates of methyl bromide for developing countries. The Group of 77 and China on the one hand and two groups of countries on the other, made diverging statements on this issue. The result was the same for the proposal by the United States to advance the phase-out in the year 2001 in developed countries for methyl bromide. Proposals for control of trade with non-Parties, critical agricultural use and emergency use of methyl bromide gained wide support. Also, there was no consensus on the issue of tightening controls on HCFCs for developed countries. These issues will be further discussed at the Ninth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in September.
There was an overwhelming consensus regarding the proposals to establish an import and export licensing system for controlled substances to curb illegal trade. The meeting recommended the essential use exemptions for 1997 and 1998 for developed countries and developing country status for the Republic of Moldova.
Other proposals which emerged from the meeting for further consideration are as follows:
developed countries controlling exports of used products containing or designed solely to use ozone depleting substances;
discouraging development or promotion of new chemicals with ozone-depletion potential;
study to decommission halon systems and destruction of halons not needed;
developed countries not to market any more CFCs;
transitional strategies for CFC-free Metered-Dose Inhalers.
A Secretariat Draft of the revised formats for reporting data on controlled substances was distributed at the meeting for further comments by the Parties.
Attendees at the meeting were notified by the Canadian delegation that, as part of the coming 9th Meeting in Montreal, the Parties will be celebrating the Tenth Anniversary, which will take place on 16 September 1997, also designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
3-6 June 1997
Officials and Experts end session at UNEP headquarters
For more information: Mr. K. Madhava Sarma,
Mr. Michael Williams,
UNEP Information Officer,
Regional Office for Europe,
UNEP Information Note 1997/21