The twenty-fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 24) begins today in Geneva, Switzerland. The preparatory segment will take place from Monday to Wednesday, and the high-level segment will convene on Thursday and Friday. Delegates are expected to consider, inter alia: ISSUES RELATED TO ARTICLE 2 OF THE PROTOCOL, INCLUDING ESSENTIAL-USE EXEMPTIONS FOR chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 2013, nominations for critical-use exemptions for 2014, and feedstock uses; additional information on alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODS); procedural issues related to the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) and its subsidiary bodies; an evaluation of the financial mechanism of the Protocol; and proposed amendments to the Protocol.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OZONE REGIME
Concerns that the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer could be at risk from CFCs and other anthropogenic substances first arose in the early 1970s. At that time, scientists warned that the release of these substances into the atmosphere could deplete the ozone layer, hindering its ability to prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching the Earth. This would adversely affect ocean ecosystems, agricultural productivity and animal populations, and harm humans through higher rates of skin cancers, cataracts and weakened immune systems. In response to this growing concern, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convened a conference in March 1977 that adopted a World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer and established a Coordinating Committee to guide future international action on ozone protection.
VIENNA CONVENTION: In May 1981, the UNEP Governing Council (GC) launched negotiations on an international agreement to protect the ozone layer and, in March 1985, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was adopted. The Convention called for cooperation on monitoring, research and data exchange but did not impose obligations to reduce the use of ODS. The Convention now has 197 parties.
MONTREAL PROTOCOL: In September 1987, efforts to negotiate binding obligations to reduce the use of ODS led to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Protocol introduced control measures for some CFCs and halons for developed countries (non-Article 5 parties). Developing countries (Article 5 parties) were granted a grace period allowing them to increase their ODS use before taking on commitments. The Protocol has 197 parties.
Since 1987, several amendments and adjustments to the Protocol have been adopted, adding new obligations and additional ODS, and adjusting existing control schedules. Amendments require ratification by a defined number of parties before they enter into force, while adjustments enter into force automatically.
LONDON AMENDMENT AND ADJUSTMENTS: The second Meeting of the Parties (MOP 2), which took place in London, UK, in 1990, tightened control schedules and agreed to add ten more CFCs to the list of ODS, as well as carbon tetrachloride (CTC) and methyl chloroform. To date, 197 parties have ratified the London Amendment. MOP-2 also established the Multilateral Fund (MLF), which meets the incremental costs incurred by Article 5 parties in implementing the Protocol’s control measures and finances clearinghouse functions, including technical assistance, information, training, and the MLF Secretariat costs. The Fund is replenished every three years and has received pledges of over US$2.8 billion since its inception.
COPENHAGEN AMENDMENT AND ADJUSTMENTS: At MOP 4, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1992, delegates tightened existing control schedules and added controls on methyl bromide, hydrobromofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). MOP 4 also agreed to enact non-compliance procedures and to establish an Implementation Committee (ImpCom). The ImpCom examines cases of possible non-compliance by parties and makes recommendations to the MOP aimed at securing full compliance. 197 parties have ratified the Copenhagen Amendment.
MONTREAL AMENDMENT AND ADJUSTMENTS: At MOP 9, held in Montreal, Canada, in 1997, delegates agreed to a new licensing system for the import and export of ODS, and tightening existing control schedules. They also agreed to ban trade in methyl bromide with non-parties to the Copenhagen Amendment. 192 parties have ratified the Montreal Amendment.
BEIJING AMENDMENT AND ADJUSTMENTS: At MOP 11, held in Beijing, China, in 1999, delegates agreed to controls on bromochloromethane and additional controls on HCFCs, and to reporting on methyl bromide for quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS) applications. 182 parties have ratified the Beijing Amendment.
MOP 15 AND FIRST EXTRAORDINARY MOP: MOP 15, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2003, resulted in decisions on issues including the implications of the entry into force of the Beijing Amendment. However, disagreements surfaced over exemptions allowing the use of methyl bromide beyond 2004 for critical uses where no technically or economically feasible alternatives were available. Delegates could not reach agreement and took the unprecedented step of calling for an “extraordinary” MOP. The first Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (ExMOP 1) took place in March 2004, in Montreal, Canada. Parties agreed to critical-use exemptions (CUEs) for methyl bromide for 2005, with the introduction of a “double-cap” concept distinguishing between old and new production of methyl bromide central to this compromise. Parties agreed to a cap on new production of 30% of parties’ 1991 baseline levels, meaning that where the capped amount was insufficient for approved critical uses in 2005, parties were required to use existing stockpiles.
MOP 16 AND EX-MOP 2: MOP 16 took place in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 2004. Parties did not complete work on methyl bromide exemptions for 2006 and decided to hold a second ExMOP. ExMOP 2 was held in July 2005, in Montreal, Canada. Parties agreed to supplementary levels of CUEs for 2006. Under this decision, parties also agreed that: CUEs allocated domestically that exceed levels permitted by the MOP must be drawn from existing stocks; methyl bromide stocks must be reported; and parties must “endeavor” to allocate CUEs to the particular use categories specified in the decision.
COP 7/MOP 17: MOP 17 was held jointly with the seventh Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention (COP 7) in Dakar, Senegal, in December 2005. Parties approved essential-use exemptions for 2006 and 2007, supplemental CUEs for 2006 and CUEs for 2007, and production and consumption of methyl bromide in non-Article 5 parties for laboratory and analytical critical uses. Other decisions included a US$470.4 million replenishment of the MLF for 2006-2008, and agreement on terms of reference for a feasibility study on developing a monitoring system for the transboundary movement of controlled ODS.
MOP 18: MOP 18 took place in New Delhi, India, from 30 October - 3 November 2006. Parties adopted decisions on, inter alia: future work following the Ozone Secretariat’s workshop on the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the TEAP; difficulties faced by some Article 5 parties manufacturing CFC-based metered dose inhalers (MDIs); treatment of stockpiled ODS relative to compliance; and a feasibility study on developing a system for monitoring the transboundary movement of ODS.
MOP 19: MOP 19 took place in Montreal, Canada, in September 2007. Delegates adopted decisions on: an accelerated phase-out of HCFCs; critical-use nominations for methyl bromide; and monitoring transboundary movements of, and illegal trade in, ODS. Parties also adopted an adjustment accelerating the phase out of HCFCs.
COP 8/MOP 20: MOP 20 was held jointly with COP 8 of the Vienna Convention in Doha, Qatar, in November 2008. Parties agreed to replenish the MLF with US$490 million for 2009-2011 and adopted decisions concerning, inter alia: the environmentally sound disposal of ODS; approval of 2009 and 2010 CUEs for methyl bromide; and compliance and reporting issues.
MOP 21: MOP 21 took place in Port Ghalib, Egypt, in November 2009 and adopted decisions on: alternatives to HCFCs; institutional strengthening; essential uses; environmentally sound management of ODS banks; methyl bromide; and data and compliance issues. Delegates considered, but did not agree to, a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia and Mauritius.
MOP 22: MOP 22 took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 8-12 November 2010 and adopted decisions on, inter alia: the terms of reference for the TEAP study on the MLF replenishment and for the evaluation of the financial mechanism; and assessment of technologies for ODS destruction. Delegates considered, but did not agree to, two proposals to amend the Montreal Protocol to address HFCs, one submitted by the US, Mexico and Canada, and another submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia.
COP 9/MOP 23: COP 9/MOP 23 took place in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2011 and adopted decisions on, inter alia, a US$450 million replenishment of the MLF for the 2012-2014 period; issues related to exemptions; updating the nomination process and recusal guidelines for the TEAP; the treatment of ODS to service ships; and additional information on alternatives. Delegates considered, but did not agree to, two proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol to address HFCs, one submitted by the US, Mexico and Canada, and another submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia.
CURRENT ODS CONTROL SCHEDULES: Under the amendments and adjustments to the Montreal Protocol, non-Article 5 parties were required to phase out production and consumption of: halons by 1994; CFCs, CTC, hydrobromochlorofluorocarbons and methyl chloroform by 1996; bromochloromethane by 2002; and methyl bromide by 2005. Article 5 parties were required to phase out production and consumption of hydrobromochlorofluorocarbons by 1996, bromochloromethane by 2002, and CFCs, halons and CTC by 2010. Article 5 parties must still phase out production and consumption of methyl chloroform and methyl bromide by 2015. Under the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs adopted at MOP 19, HCFC production and consumption by non-Article 5 parties was frozen in 2004 and is to be phased out by 2020, while in Article 5 parties, HCFC production and consumption is to be frozen by 2013 and phased out by 2030 (with interim targets prior to those dates, starting in 2015 for Article 5 parties). There are exemptions to these phase-outs to allow for certain uses lacking feasible alternatives.
OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP: The thirty-second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 32) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 23-27 July 2012. Delegates considered several issues arising from the 2012 Progress Report of the TEAP, including: a review of nominations of essential-use exemptions for 2013 and 2014; a review of nominations for methyl bromide CUEs for 2013 and 2014; and methyl bromide use for QPS. Parties also discussed the treatment of ODS used to service ships, a TEAP report on additional information on ODS alternatives, the evaluation of the Protocol’s financial mechanism, and TEAP nomination and operations processes. OEWG 32 also considered two proposals to amend the Montreal Protocol related to HFCs: the first by the US, Canada and Mexico; and another by the Federated States of Micronesia. Parties were unable to reach consensus on establishing a contact group on the proposals.
TEAP AND TOCs: Several Technical Options Committees (TOCs) met between February and April 2012 to further their work in the lead-up to MOP 24. The work of the TOCs and the related Task Force are included in the TEAP’s 2012 reports for consideration at MOP 24.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: The MLF Executive Committee held its sixty-sixth meeting from 16-20 April 2012 and its sixty-seventh meeting from 16-20 July 2012. Both sessions were held in Montreal, Canada. In both instances, the Committee approved investment projects and work programme activities including several national HCFC phase-out management plans.
IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE: The forty-eighth meeting of the ImpCom under the Non-Compliance Procedure convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 29-30 July 2012. The forty-ninth meeting met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8-9 November 2012. The ImpCom considered information provided by the MLF Secretariat on relevant decisions of the MLF Executive Committee and on activities carried out by implementing agencies, and issues related to non-compliance. MOP 24 will consider its recommendations.
Bureau Meeting: The Bureau of the Montreal Protocol MOP met in Geneva, Switzerland, on 10 November 2012. The Bureau considered the progress made in implementing the decisions of MOP23 and discussed the working documents and agenda for MOP24.
Seminar on Protecting our Atmosphere for Generations to Come Twenty-fifth anniversary of the Montreal Protocol: The seminar was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 10 November 2012, immediately prior to MOP24. Hosted by the Government of Switzerland, the seminar provided, inter alia, perspectives on experiences from implementing the Montreal Protocol and their usefulness in addressing other global challenges, the science behind the Protocol, and the policies needed to protect the atmosphere.