The opening of the 44th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (OEWG 44) in Bangkok, Thailand, marked the return to in-person meetings after two years. Delegates welcomed the chance to resolve outstanding issues held over from meetings convened virtually, including negotiations on replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF) for the period 2021-2023.
Megumi Seki, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, introduced the main issues for parties’ attention, including “lower and slower” activities during the global pandemic, and a large fund carryover from this period. She urged delegates to make as much progress as possible on negotiations, before the Meeting of the Parties convenes in Montreal, Canada, from 31 October to 4 November 2022. She noted that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.
Co-Chairs Martin Sirois (Canada) and Osvaldo Perez (Chile) briefed delegates on the tasks ahead, noting that the Fifth Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties (ExMOP5) will convene on Saturday afternoon to adopt a decision on replenishment.
In the morning, delegates considered the September 2021 report of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel on MLF replenishment (TEAP) (UNEP/OzL.Conv.12(II)/2/Add.1–UNEP/OzL.Pro.33/2/Add.1, annex I) and information on the scale of assessments, rates of exchange and average inflation rates for contributions by parties (UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/44/INF/3). They noted the need for stable and secure funding to support countries in meeting the targets for agreed phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in implementing the Kigali Amendment. OEWG-44 established a contact group to develop draft decisions on the 2021-2023 MLF replenishment period, and on a fixed exchange rate mechanism for the 2024-2026 period.
Regarding gaps in the global coverage of atmospheric monitoring of controlled substances and options for enhancing such monitoring (decision XXXIII/4), delegates heard initial findings from a pilot project funded by the EU. In response to questions from delegates about the basis for selecting the monitoring sites, the EU explained that assessing where emissions are likely to occur in future is key, mentioning southern Asia; the Middle East; Mexico and nearby locations; eastern Europe; and eastern Asia. He informed delegates that a conference room paper (CRP) will be circulated to request parties’ further advice and guidance.
In the afternoon, delegates considered institutional processes to strengthen the effective implementation and enforcement of the Montreal Protocol, in view of illegal consumption, production and trade in ozone-depleting substances. Some delegates considered the existing system to be sufficient and emphasized the need for mutual trust and cooperation. Others supported taking action to sustain the control measures agreed to under the Protocol, including reviewing implementation of licensing systems, in view of “significant deviations” of more than 10,000 tons of CFC-11 emissions in one year. The OEWG established an informal group to brainstorm approaches to strengthening implementation, which will seek to identify any convergence on issues requiring additional discussion.
At the end of the afternoon, delegates discussed a Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) report on decision XXXIII/5, on energy-efficient and low-global-warming-potential technologies and on measures to enhance and maintain energy efficiency during HFC transition in equipment.
The contact group on MLF replenishment began its work in the evening, co-chaired by Daniel López Vicuña (Mexico) and Ralph Brieskorn (Netherlands).