MOP-21 to the Montreal Protocol convened for its fourth day in Port Ghalib, Egypt, on Saturday, 7 November 2009.
In the morning, delegates attended the opening of the high level segment. Delegates then convened in plenary throughout the day to hear presentations by heads of delegations.
Contact groups on destruction, methyl bromide, high GWP alternatives, the MLF, and budget met throughout the day.
OPENING OF THE HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT
MOP-20 President Róbert Tóth (Hungary) thanked the governments for their tireless efforts to implement the treaty and looked forward to progress on HFC.
Marco González, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, delivered a message on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, saying that the Montreal Protocol’s collaboration with the International Plant Protection Convention and the UNFCCC showed the Protocol’s maturity and illuminated the variety of avenues available to tackle climate change.
Maged George, Minister for Environmental Affairs, Egypt, officially opened the high level segment, outlined Egypt’s efforts on ozone protection and emphasized the importance of international cooperation.
González congratulated parties on the universal ratification of the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol, noting it as the only treaty to achieve this accomplishment.
MOP-21 elected by acclamation Michael Church (Grenada) as President, and Patrick McInery (Australia), Kamran Lashari (Pakistan), and Ramadhan Kajembe (Kenya) as Vice Presidents, and Azra Rogović-Grubić as Rapporteur. President Church urged all delegations that have not submitted their credentials should do so as soon as possible.
STATUS OF RATIFICATION
President Church noted that on 16 September the ozone treaties became the first environmental treaties with universal ratification, and he urged all the parties that have not ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol to do so as soon as possible.
PRESENTATIONS BY ASSESSMENT PANELS
Environmental Effects Assessment Panel Co-chair Janet Bornman (Denmark) presented on environmental effects of ozone depletion and its interactions with climate change from the Panel’s Progress Report 2009, including status of ozone and UV radiation reaching Earth, and effects on human health, terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles, air quality and materials.
The TEAP Co-Chairs Lambert Kuijpers (Netherlands) and Stephen Anderson (US), updated delegates on the content of the TEAP report scheduled for completion at the end of 2010, and outlined the content of each TOC report.
PRESENTATION BY THE MULTILATERAL FUND
ExComm Chair Husamuddin Ahmadzai (Sweden) discussed the key achievements of the ExComm and its implementation agencies. He noted that the ExComm had been considering the technical and policy matters of addressing the climate and energy aspects of reducing ODS as called for in decision XIX/6. He described a potential special facility for additional income which might cover costs to maximize the climate and environmental benefits.
STATEMENTS BY HEADS OF DELEGATIONS
IRAN stressed the need for pharmaceutical grade CFCs for MDIs, and that viable alternatives for methyl bromide QPS must be identified. CUBA stressed that the Ozone and UNFCCC Secretariats should work together to enable developing countries to get the technical and financial assistance required. IRAQ highlighted the need for further consideration of alternatives for high ambient temperature countries. FIJI, also on behalf of the COOK ISLANDS and TONGA, stressed the need for continued institutional strengthening. Explaining that there are several challenges in phasing out HCFCs, INDIA urged the ExComm to resolve pending issues. MALAYSIA said that the debate on HFC phase-out was premature as alternatives did not exist in many applications. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC explained that while it did not support the North American proposal on HFCs, a broad review of HFCs was necessary. CANADA explained that HFC use is a consequence of HCFC phase-out and urged parties to rise to the challenge of phasing down HFCs.
CHINA highlighted the importance of the phase-out of HCFCs, called on the developed countries to provide adequate funds, and hoped this meeting would provide a signal to the Copenhagen conference to prioritize HFCs. The EU urged parties to continue to make efforts not only to protect the ozone layer, but also the climate, and favoured expeditious efforts to control HFCs, and achieve synergies with UNFCCC.
As the final party to the ozone treaties, TIMOR LESTE committed to working together with all the parties in achieving a more sustainable world. BURKINA FASO expressed his country’s dedication to phase out ODS and fight global warming. PAKISTAN highlighted the importance of scientific research in finding alternatives, financial resources and technical assistance.
The US emphasized that the MLF had been at the core of the Protocol’s success and said emerging challenges included how to use MLF as seed-money to obtain climate investments from other sources. SAUDI ARABIA expressed concerns about restrictions imposed on HFCs, which not long ago, had been considered as available alternatives for ODS. KUWAIT said deliberations appeared to have become disorientated by focusing on activities outside the scope of the Montreal Protocol, while HCFC phase-out is yet to be completed.
CROATIA highlighted that phasing out ODS has been progressing in line with the Montreal Protocol targets and noted the need to improve systems for the recovery, recycling and destruction of ODS in an economically viable way.
ANGOLA provided an overview of national programs aimed at eliminating ODS. UGANDA highlighted the challenge of controlling the use of second hand products and equipment whose functioning relies on ODS, and emphasized the need for technology transfer.
BANGLADESH said his country is still facing the escalating problem of need for CFCs for MDI. MADAGASCAR called on developed countries for financial support.
SERBIA supported the proposals to control HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. FSM stressed the importance and urgency for controlling HFCs and need to amend the Montreal Protocol to deal with the issue. The PHILIPPINES introduced its efforts and achievements in phasing out ODS, and supported phase-down of HFCs.
Reporting on his country’s progress in phasing out ODS, MALAWI pointed to a lack of alternatives to HCFCs and problems of access to destruction technologies. MOZAMBIQUE highlighted implementation difficulties in phasing out ODS and called for increased financial and technical support. YEMEN regretted slow progress on HCFC phase-out and called on the ExComm and the MLF to pay special attention to countries in high ambient air temperature regions. ZIMBABWE said facilities for the environmentally sound destruction of ODS banks should be available in all regions. ANDORRA outlined national activities to protect the ozone layer and supported the regulation of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
INDONESIA highlighted the need for financial and technical assistance to Article 5 countries and the importance of participation of local people in implementation. TAJIKISTAN outlined challenges faced by his country, including economic difficulties and illegal trade of ODS.
BUDGET COMMITTEE: Parties agreed to add an amount of up to US$400,000 to the budget to accommodate the activities under discussion by MOP-21 such as workshops and an ExMOP. A footnote was added to the budget to the effect that the additional funds are not available to be re-programmed to other activities. With this, the group agreed to the budget decision.
MULTILATERAL FUND: This contact group continued consideration of the draft decision on institutional strengthening. After extensive discussion, delegates reached agreement on both preambular and operative paragraphs. The draft decision includes three operative paragraphs on: urging the ExComm to extend financial support for institutional strengthening funding for Article 5 parties beyond 2010; to finalize consideration of funding for institutional strengthening projects as expeditiously as possible, taking into account current and emerging challenges; and recommends that the ExComm does not require that institutional strengthening funding be incorporated within funding for the HPMP only, but allows flexibility for an Article 5 party to do so if it so chooses.
DESTRUCTION OF ODS BANKS: The contact group met in the morning to further discuss CRP.6 submitted by Colombia. Discussions first focused on whether to request the ExComm to generate more information through further pilot projects. Several developed countries said this was not necessary as decision XX/7 did not limit the number of pilot projects. One party expressed concern that the HCFC phase-out already implied costs, and emphasized that compliance activities have priority. Several developing countries said the ExComm should not be requested to consider destruction projects only in low volume consuming countries, as proposed in the US decision (CRP.2), but in all Article 5 countries. Discussions then moved to whether the ExComm should be requested to elaborate a proposal on a general strategy of the Montreal Protocol for destruction and on the amounts of MLF resources that should be provided. Several developed countries said the goal of such a strategy was unclear and preferred a learning-by-doing approach. Delegates agreed to meet on Sunday morning in a final attempt to agree on a draft decision
HIGH GWP ALTERNATIVES: The contact group met in the afternoon and evening to discuss a merged version of the draft decision on HFCs (UNEP.OzL.Pro.21/3, XXI/[J]), although the title was changed to “High GWP Alternatives” to reflect a number of parties’ aversion to discussing HFCs. The draft synthesized the text forwarded from OEWG-29 and the US proposed language.
Delegates engaged in a protracted debate on whether HFCs exist within the ambit of Montreal Protocol or reside solely in the UNFCCC’s domain. A number of developing countries maintained the position not to pre-judge the Copenhagen discussions in December by considering HFCs at MOP-21. One of them related the UNFCCC as the parent of a “bad child,” saying the concerned neighbor, the Montreal Protocol, needs to ask “permission from the parent” before it could help, and refusing to ask permission would undermine confidence in the UNFCCC. A developed country retorted that “if a parent’s actions are the cause for a child’s misbehavior, shouldn’t the parent (the Montreal Protocol this time), examine their actions and see how to modify them to repair the damage.” One developed country made an emotional plea, reminding delegates they are here to help save the world and the largest current threat is climate change, which may be too large to be addressed solely through the UNFCCC. Others were more quantitative in their approach, citing previous decisions within the Montreal Protocol in which high GWP alternatives, notably HFCs, were discussed.
Behind the seemingly intractable positions, however, was a thread of agreement linking delegations. All parties agreed that concern exists over the projected growth of climate-forcing HFCs and said the UNFCCC should examine this. Delegates began clinging to this “lowest common denominator” in hopes of moving discussions forward on the draft decision, with one suggesting it be the cornerstone on which to build the draft decision.
METHYL BROMIDE: The group discussed the draft decision on CUEs for methyl bromide for 2010 and 2011 (CRP.5). Agreement was reached on the paragraph regarding reporting of stocks and other information, and delegates agreed to resolve the issue of quantities through bilateral consultations. The group also discussed the draft decision on QPS uses of MB (CRP.7) and reached consensus on many elements. Discussions will continue on Sunday.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As deliberations in the contact group on high GWP alternatives continued late into the evening, those wandering the corridors were speculating on the potential for any outcome on the issue. As observers mulled over a certain shift in power among parties in recent years, whispers of a draft declaration on the need to address HFCs also circulated. Some speculated that 50 to 100 parties may sign on, paving the way to reconsideration of the HFC issue at OEWG-30 and MOP-22.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of MOP-21 will be available on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 online at: http://enb.iisd.org/ozone.mop21