Daily report for 2 November 2022

34th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP34)

After convening in a short plenary session on Wednesday morning, delegates spent the day working in contact groups and bilateral consultations. With the high-level segment scheduled to begin on Thursday, Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) Co-Chair Martin Sirois (Canada) encouraged groups to work as efficiently as possible. He warned that, given the limited time left in the meeting, it was possible that some groups would have to be prioritized over others if significant work remained on Thursday.

Delegates reconvened in plenary on Wednesday evening to hear reports from the groups that had convened back-to-back throughout the day.  

Administrative Matters

Consideration of the membership of the Montreal Protocol Bodies for 2023: In the morning plenary session, OEWG Co-Chair Álvarez-Pérez requested the Secretariat to provide an update on nominations submitted since the start of MOP 34. The Secretariat reported that it had only received a nomination for the Executive Committee from the Western European and Others Group. Co-Chair Álvarez-Pérez urged parties to submit their nominations by the end of Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, the Secretariat reported that it had not received nominations from all regions and invited parties to submit the outstanding nominations by 8:00 am on Thursday. 

Safety Standards (Decision XXIX/11)

The EU introduced a conference room paper (CRP) on safety standards (UNEP/OzL.Pro.34/CRP.11), saying it: recalls the continued importance of ensuring safe market introduction, manufacturing, operation, maintenance, and handling of equipment with very low GWP refrigerants; takes note of the importance of being informed on the progress in updating standards, such as IEC standard 60335-2-40; and recalls decision XXIX/11 which requested the Secretariat to provide a tabular overview of relevant safety standards. She quoted its two operative paragraphs, which request the Secretariat to: “continue providing information on relevant safety standards as requested by Decision XXIX/11” and “include further relevant safety standards when notified by a party or a group of parties.”

Recalling that several parties had expressed interest in this CRP when the EU had foreshadowed it, Co-Chair Sirois encouraged these parties to approach the EU on the margins of the meeting to ask questions or suggest edits to the proposed CRP.

Strengthening the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel and its Technical Options Committees for the Phase-Down of HFCs and Other Future Challenges Related to the Montreal Protocol and the Climate

AUSTRALIA presented a proposal (UNEP/OzL.Pro.34/CRP.12) on behalf of the UK, Canada, and the US, saying it would take up one of the specific proposals that was made by the TEAP in its progress report to rename the Halon Technical Options Committee (TOC) the Fire Protection TOC. She said this would reflect its broader scope and galvanize the right expertise in its membership. Regarding the Rigid and Flexible Foams TOC and Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Heat Pumps (RACHP) TOC, she explained the draft decision would ask the TEAP to come forward with options for the configurations of those two committees that would take into account that the vast majority of HFCs are in the RACHP sector and the need to assist parties on implementation of the Kigali Amendment. Co-Chair Sirois indicated the contact group’s mandate would be to start working on this CRP.

Other Matters

Co-Chair Álvarez-Pérez noted a new CRP on Armenia’s proposal regarding co-opting seats on the Executive Committee (UNEP/OzL.Pro.34/CRP.8/Rev.1). ARMENIA explained that the CRP had been developed following bilateral consultations and, at the request of CANADA and UNITED STATES, clarified that her party is satisfied with the current number of seats on the Executive Committee. The CRP, which requests the Executive Committee to consider increasing funding for the participation of Article 5 countries in the Committee, will be forwarded to the high-level segment.

Contact and Informal Groups

On Wednesday morning, the plenary heard reports from the contact groups that had met since plenary closed on Tuesday afternoon. All groups requested additional time for deliberations. Co-Chair Sirois noted that most of Wednesday had been set aside for this purpose. He stressed the importance of making significant progress on Wednesday, saying that groups wanting time to meet in parallel to the high-level segment on Thursday or Friday would need to make a strong case that they were close to finishing their work.

Delegates reconvened in plenary on Wednesday evening. Co-Chair Sirois reported that all groups had again requested more time to work and said that every group would be given at least one additional hour. He reiterated, however, that this would be the last hour available for at least some of the groups.

Terms of reference for the study on replenishment of the Multilateral Fund: In the morning, co-facilitator Samuel Paré (Burkina Faso) reported that the group on the terms of reference for the study on replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) had met for a second time and worked on text. The group was subsequently closed to non-parties. On Wednesday evening, co-facilitator Cindy Newberg (US) reported that the contact group had worked through items in a “productive session” and given its co-facilitators “homework.” She requested additional time to work through text, but expressed confidence that issues could be resolved.

The African proposal on dumping: In the morning, co-facilitator Cornelius Rhein (European Union) reported that the group had made some progress in exchanging views but had not had time to begin engaging with the text. In the evening, he reported that the group had begun work on concrete provisions, highlighting that they had overcome major divergences. He said parties were committed to paving the way for the swift finalization of the CRP, which considers the dumping of new and used inefficient refrigeration and air conditioning appliances using ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Gaps in monitoring/carbon tetrachloride: Co-facilitator Michel Gauvin (Canada) reported on Wednesday morning that the group had heard Switzerland’s proposal, which invites parties to submit information about emissions related to carbon tetrachloride, and that initial reactions from parties indicated a willingness to engage.

Stocks and quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide: In the morning, the co-facilitators reported that the group had held constructive exchanges on Tuesday night. In the evening, co-facilitator Alain Wilmart (Belgium) reported that, despite constructive conversations, the last-minute introduction of textual brackets meant that the group needed more time for discussion.

Institutional processes: Co-facilitator Miruza Mohamed (Maldives) reported good progress in considering both CRPs, which request the TEAP to prepare a report on the destruction of HFC-23, and encourage parties to prevent further illegal trade in controlled substances, respectively. She requested more time and expressed confidence that the work could be concluded at MOP 34.

Restructuring of the TEAP: In the morning, co-facilitator Paul Krajnik (Austria) reported a productive exchange of views, including on how to either change the TEAP’s mandate and names of committees, or restructure the TEAP. He expressed appreciation for the information provided by the TEAP’s experts.

Budget Committee: On Wednesday evening, budget committee Chair Nicole Folliet (Canada) reported that after three constructive meetings, the group had reviewed both the zero nominal growth budget and the recommended budget for 2023. However, she said there are a few outstanding issues that need to be addressed and requested more time.

Energy efficiency: On Wednesday evening, co-facilitator Bitul Zulhasni (Indonesia) reported the contact group met for a second time to discuss CRP.4 (on requesting specific information and updates from the TEAP and Secretariat and encouraging certain actions by parties) and CRP.6 (on enabling enhanced access and facilitating the transition to energy-efficient and low- and zero-GWP technologies), with parties requesting clarifications from the proponent of CRP.6. She said they combined the two proposals into one working document and made good progress on the first operative paragraph. She requested more time for the group to work.

Critical-use exemptions for methyl bromide: In the evening, AUSTRALIA reported that while they had held consultations, there was not yet agreement on the requested critical-use exemptions for methyl bromide for 2023 and 2024.

HFC baselines: The NETHERLANDS reported on discussions wherein Cuba described its proposal. Parties requested an information-gathering exercise, and one party volunteered to facilitate a way forward. The group requested more time for discussion.

In the Corridors

After a lightning-quick morning plenary, the atmosphere of the building took on the quiet hum of hard work, with delegates either squirreled away in conference rooms for contact and informal groups or discussing CRPs bilaterally in the corridors.

Noting the number of issues to be resolved at the meeting was unprecedented, due to a backlog after two years of virtual meetings, one delegate opined that the terms of reference for the MLF Replenishment study and a resolution to the nominations for critical use exemptions of methyl bromide were the two “must-have” items by the meeting’s close. Other delegates expressed hope that consensus could be achieved on new HFC baselines for those parties who might be forced into involuntary noncompliance by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.