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UNEP initiates assistance to countries with economies in transititon to expedite their compliance with the Montreal Protocol

Nairobi, January 1999 - A major initiative was taken to assist Countries with Economies in Transition (CEITs) to enable them to be in compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Two Regional Workshops aimed towards this objective were concluded, one at Bratislava (9 to 11 December 1998) and the other one in Kiev (14-16 December 1998).

Thirty seven participants including the National Ozone Officers from twenty CEITs countries and their national ministerial counterparts dealing with the licensing of ODS, came together during these regional workshops to discuss how to improve their legal and institutional systems to control and monitor ODS consumption, in particular imports and exports. The participating countries were: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in Bratislava. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in Kiev.

Representatives from the European Union, UNEP's OzonAction Programme, UNEP's Ozone Secretariat, UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Environment Canada and Germany's GTZ, also attended the workshops.

The workshops are part of the project "Promoting Compliance with the Trade and Licensing Provisions of the Montreal Protocol in CEITs" funded by the Global Environment Facility and being implemented by the OzonAction Programme under the United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics.

The development of well designed and effectively working licensing systems will be a crucial step for these countries in their efforts to comply with the mandatory requirement of having an import/export licensing system adopted under the latest Amendment to the Protocol approved in Montreal in September 1997, and to properly report to the Ozone Secretariat on ODS consumption. These licensing systems will also be instrumental in facilitating compliance with the Montreal Protocol phase-out schedule for some of the countries which are in non-compliance.

The workshops were opened by Mr. Tamás Domeny, the Head of Office of the Ministry of Environment in Bratislava and by Mr. Vasyl Vasylchenko, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection in Kiev. He highlighted that: "Ukraine has already established a very useful ODS licensing system and is willing to actively co-operate with other countries and international organisations in the establishment and improvement of such systems in the region to achieve the common goal of phasing out ODS consumption and production."

Ms. Jaqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Director of the United Nations' Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics gave an opening statement for the project in Bratislava emphasizing that "CEITS have to put in place adequate control and monitoring systems for ODS, but setting these systems in place is not enough, they have to be properly implemented and enforced, to do this a close co-operation between government officials in charge of environment, industry and customs is needed. You are the actors, and you have to develop the political will, you have to be the 'movers and shakers ' that will make these changes happen".

At the end of the workshops each participating country presented a National Action Plan to establish or improve their National ODS Licensing System and the related policy and regulatory framework.

The project will continue with the implementation of the National Action plans at the national level and will finalize in October 1999 with two regional "Workshops on Training of Customs Officers on Implementing and Enforcing New Licensing Regulations and Policies".

At the end of the workshops the participating countries recommended, inter alia, the prompt development of ODS licensing systems in those countries that still lack them, the ratification by the participating countries of the London, Copenhagen and Montreal Amendments to the Montreal Protocol, the establishment of a regional network of Ozone Officers in order to exchange information and co-ordinate efforts and the establishment of institutional strengthening activities in the countries in order to facilitate and co-ordinate phase-out activities.

Ms. Hana Mesic's (focal point for Croatia) remark at the concluding session was: "We find that participating in the workshop was very useful: we now have an action plan for compliance and elements to proceed with the implementation of our country phase-out schedule. We now need to act ". Mr. Vadim Backoumov's (focal point for Russia) remark was: " This regional meeting will go a long way in co-ordinating our efforts to reach the goal of protecting the Ozone Layer".

About the Montreal Protocol The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the international environmental agreement that has galvanized global cooperation to protect the stratospheric ozone layer.

The Protocol was signed by 24 countries in 1987 and as of March 1997, has been ratified by 162 countries, or Parties to the Protocol. A number of ozone-depleting substances (chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and halons) have already been phased out in developed countries, except for about 10,000 tonnes used as essential uses.

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UNEP Information Note 1999/1

Tuesday 02 Feb 1999
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