Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 19 No. 32
Thursday, 25 March 2004
WEDNESDAY, 24 MARCH 2004
Delegates met in Plenary to hear opening remarks,
address organizational matters and listen to a presentation on the
2004 Supplementary Report on critical-use nominations (CUNs) by the
Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP). Parties and
observers then made statements. In the afternoon, two contact groups
convened to discuss nominations for critical-use exemptions (CUEs),
and conditions for granting and reporting CUEs.
OPENING REMARKS: Noting that informal
consultations preceding the ExMOP contributed to promoting agreement
between Parties, ExMOP President Jiři Hlaváček (Czech Republic)
asked Parties to retain their determination to phase out
ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) while maintaining uses that are
critical or essential because of the absence of feasible
alternatives or substitutes.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer highlighted
aspects of the Montreal Protocol’s decision-making procedure central
to past achievements. He stressed the need to address, among others:
compliance issues; ODSs not listed in the Protocol; illegal trade;
and linkages with other processes, including the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change and the Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates approved
the provisional agenda (UNEP/OzL.Pro.ExMP/1/1) without amendment.
Jukka Uosukainen (Finland) and Oladapo Afolabi
(Nigeria), Co-Chairs of the open-ended informal consultations
immediately preceding the ExMOP, introduced their summary of the
consultations. Regarding the consultations’ conclusions on
conditions for granting CUEs, Co-Chair Uosukainen reported that
participants agreed to forward to the ExMOP the principles governing
the CUE process identified at the Buenos Aires informal
consultations. On elements for conditions for granting CUEs,
participants agreed to forward to the ExMOP the recommendation that
TEAP study the potential for harmful trade in surplus methyl
bromide. On nomination for CUEs, Co-Chair Afolabi said participants
generally supported multi-year exemptions for three years, with
several non-Article 5 Parties stressing the need for justification
through a scientifically-based management strategy. Regarding
consideration of the working procedures of the Methyl Bromide
Technical Options Committee (MBTOC) relating to the evaluation of
CUNs, Co-Chair Uosukainen noted general agreement on the need to
revitalize, strengthen, and reconstitute MBTOC, and said that the
ExMOP should agree on a process and timetable for revitalizing MBTOC.
On further specific interim reductions applicable to Article 5
Parties, Co-Chair Afolabi reported that several Parties supported
some interim reductions, but that agreement was not reached
regarding their timing or number.
TEAP PRESENTATION: Jonathan Banks, Co-Chair
of TEAP, presented TEAP’s 2004 Supplementary Report on CUNs. He said
that in reviewing CUNs, MBTOC supplemented the technical information
from Parties with its own expertise, expertise from other
nominations, and all available sources of information. When unable
to verify information based on its own expertise, MBTOC deferred to
the expertise of nominating Parties, giving them the "benefit of the
doubt." He noted that the MBTOC is seeking guidance from Parties on:
the definition of economic feasibility; the evaluation of multi-year
CUNs; CUNs that contribute to increases in methyl bromide use; CUNs
for using equal amounts of methyl bromide over several years;
dealing with the large number of small quantity CUNs; and phase-out
STATEMENTS BY PARTIES AND OBSERVERS:
BANGLADESH, JAPAN and JORDAN said that CUEs should be granted on an
annual basis. JAPAN called for flexibility in granting CUEs, warning
that a requirement that CUEs be lower in subsequent years would not
allow for adjustments based on emergency needs. GUATEMALA supported
CUEs to solve practical problems. On conditions for granting CUEs,
SWITZERLAND emphasized common but differentiated responsibility and
the need for a continuous decline in the amount of Parties’ CUE
requests. NORWAY, COSTA RICA and JAPAN asked that CUEs be minimized.
BRAZIL urged delegates to define clearer conditions for granting
future CUEs. INDIA expressed support for recommendations made by
MBTOC for approval of CUEs.
Regarding CUNs, INDIA expressed concern over the
total quantity submitted for exemptions. BRAZIL noted that the high
level of submitted CUNs challenges the exceptional nature of CUEs,
and may undermine the efforts by Article 5 Parties to phase out
UGANDA stressed the need for technical and
financial assistance for research, alternatives, public awareness,
and training activities. The PHILIPPINES suggested that elements
recognized in a decision on interim reductions include: accelerated
phase-out of controlled uses of methyl bromide with support by the
Multilateral Fund (MLF); the difficulties faced by Article 5 Parties
in phasing out methyl bromide due to the impact of ongoing
consumption in non Article 5 Parties; and a more flexible approach.
BRAZIL called on Parties to address the concerns of Article 5
SWITZERLAND stressed the importance of MBTOC
transparency. NORWAY emphasized the need for a clearer mandate for
TEAP in its future evaluations. JAPAN called for strengthening the
MBTOC. EGYPT and SENEGAL prioritized developing effective and
affordable alternatives to methyl bromide. JORDAN urged the MBTOC to
continue work on methyl bromide alternatives. GUATEMALA expressed
concern over the inability of Parties dependent on agriculture to
find feasible alternatives within specific timeframes.
BANGLADESH called on Parties to take steps
against unreported methyl bromide stockpiling, smuggling, and
dumping in developing countries. NIGERIA called on Parties to retain
the integrity of the Montreal Protocol. The NETHERLANDS, on behalf
of the EU, stressed the need to find cooperative solutions. TURKEY
outlined national measures undertaken in phasing out methyl bromide.
COLOMBIA highlighted its zero consumption of methyl bromide since
1997 without support from the MLF. AUSTRALIA sought, and later
received, confirmation from TEAP that TEAP did not change standard
application rates for hot gas methyl bromide applications in its
2004 Supplementary Report.
The CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY COMMISSION (CSC)
expressed its commitment to methyl bromide alternatives but said
that their use is not always feasible. Noting that the proposed CUEs
represent "too large a cut over too short a period," he asked
Parties to adjust the CUEs granted to the CSC in order to support a
transition to alternative fumigants. The US asked MBTOC to comment
on this request. MBTOC stated that transition speed represents a
barrier for many nominating Parties. He suggested that Parties adopt
a flexible approach to this issue, and that the CUE for CSC be
adjusted accordingly. The EC expressed concern over the MBTOC
response, argued that the original CUE should stand, and sought
clarification from MBTOC and TEAP. MBTOC announced that it would
meet with TEAP before responding.
Expressing concern over the size of CUEs sought
by the US and others, the NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL
requested that Parties protect the integrity of the Montreal
Protocol by requiring that Parties, inter alia: reduce the
use of methyl bromide as alternatives become available; report on
existing stockpiles; and provide updates of regulatory actions to
consider the latest health and safety data on methyl bromide. He
also called on Parties to reduce the size of CUE requests below 30%
and to refuse multi-year exemptions.
ExMOP President Hlaváček suggested that two
contact groups meet in the afternoon. Parties agreed that the first
contact group, co-chaired by Oladapo Afolabi (Nigeria) and Jukka
Uosukainen (Finland), discuss nominations for CUEs; and that the
second contact group, co-chaired by Pierre Pinault (Canada) and
Sergio Sanchez Martinez (Mexico), discuss conditions for granting
and reporting CUEs.
In the contact group on nominations for CUEs,
delegates discussed proposals by the United States (UNEP/OzL.Pro.ExMP/
CRP.6) and the European Community (UNEP/OzL.Pro.ExMP/ CRP.5). The US
proposal differentiates between two sets of numerical caps relevant
to CUEs: a cap for old production and a cap for new production.
Parties would be allowed a certain CUE for methyl bromide use, and
be given a cap on new production. Any shortfall between the amount
needed for critical uses and the amount allowed to be produced could
be offset by stockpiles. The proposal includes multi-year exemptions
for 2005-2007. For the years 2005, 2006, and 2007, the US proposed a
cap on production or consumption of 30%, 30%, and 28%, respectively,
of baseline level, while CUEs were proposed at 37%, 35%, and 33%.
The EC’s proposal builds upon discussions at the informal
consultations held in Buenos Aires. It allows critical uses at a
level approved by the ExMOP, but limits Parties to no more than 30%
of baseline levels for production and consumption for 2005. For 2006
and beyond, the EC proposal requires that the level of CUNs
requested by Parties be lower in each subsequent year. The proposal
also includes recommendations for a management strategy for methyl
bromide, and establishes an information exchange mechanism on
alternatives. Parties initiated discussions of the proposals by
clarifying relevant issues, including the required reductions, the
nature of the caps, and the quantities of available stockpiles.
In the contact group on conditions for granting
and reporting CUEs, delegates discussed conference room papers on
requirements for annual reporting, technical and financial
assistance for identifying methyl bromide alternatives, a proposed
TEAP clarification of exemptions for critical uses, and two draft
decisions submitted by the US and the EC, respectively, on
conditions for CUEs for non-Article 5 Parties (UNEP/OzL.Pro.ExMP/CRP.1-5).
IN THE CORRIDORS
As negotiations got off to a quick start, several
delegates noted the positive spirit of participants and commented
that informal consultations in Buenos Aires and Montreal had laid
the groundwork for efficient progress at the ExMOP. In particular,
they said they were pleasantly surprised by a statement made during
the open-ended informal consultations by a large non-Article 5 Party
regarding its strong commitment to the Protocol.
While the corridors were filled with careful
optimism about the meetingï¿½s outcome, some delegates expressed
concern about the direction of the meeting, in particular the
critical-use nomination review process led by the Methyl Bromide
Technical Options Committee (MBTOC). A few feared that efforts to
revitalize MBTOC may yet be derailed. Others remarked that it is
crucial that the revitalization of the MBTOC comprise a
clarification of its mandate and functions, so as to prevent
ambiguous interpretations and guarantee transparency in the process
of granting critical-use exemptions.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Plenary will convene at 10:00 am to
hear reports from the contact groupsï¿½ Co-Chairs and continue
discussing substantive issues and draft decisions on the agenda.
CONTACT GROUPS: The contact group on
conditions for granting and reporting CUEs will reconvene at 9:00 am
in the Plenary Hall to continue deliberation on a draft decision
submitted by the US. The contact group on nominations for CUEs will
reconvene at 9:00 am in Room 3 to continue its deliberations.
Contact groups on further specific interim reductions for Article 5
Parties and on the work procedures of MBTOC relating to the
evaluation of CUNs are also likely to be established.