The preparatory segment of the eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8) to the Vienna Convention and the twentieth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP-20) opened in Doha, Qatar on Sunday 16 November, 2008.
In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses and considered issues related to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. During the afternoon, delegates discussed the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund, reports by the TEAP and issues related to essential uses.
OPENING OF THE PREPARATORY SEGMENT
Preparatory Segment Co-Chair Mikkel Sørensen (Denmark) opened the session. Abdullah bin Mubarak bin Aaboud al-Midhadi, Minister of Environment, Qatar, welcomed participants and announced his country’s decision to donate all the computers used at the meeting to UNEP so it can continue to hold environmentally conscious, paper-free meetings.
Marco González, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, thanked the Government of Qatar for helping pioneer the use of electronic documentation in the UN system. González also urged support for: parties that have yet to phase out CFCs, halons and carbon tetrachloride (CTC) by 2010; a robust replenishment of Multilateral Fund; a decision on ODS destruction; and working to close the gap in satellite monitoring programmes.
Preparatory Segment Co-Chair Judy Beaumont (South Africa) addressed organizational matters. She also highlighted the importance of the replenishment task force, the fixed-exchange-rate mechanism, environmentally-sound disposal of ODS, the election of new office bearers for several committees, and the need for transparency. The agenda for the Preparatory Segment was adopted with the inclusion of proposals by Iraq, Nepal, Mexico, the US and a Qatari proposal to develop a Doha Declaration.
CONSIDERATION OF VIENNA CONVENTION AND COMBINED VIENNA CONVENTION AND MONTREAL PROTOCOL ISSUES
REPORT OF THE SEVENTH MEETING OF THE OZONE RESEARCH MANAGERS (ORM) OF THE PARTIES TO THE VIENNA CONVENTION: Michael Kurylo, Chairman of the Seventh ORM Meeting, stressed that ozone depletion and climate change are highly interconnected and that the complexities of ozone and climate science demand new measurement activities. He highlighted several recommendations from the report, including those on: increased research on ozone evolution and monitoring; emissions; banks; and evolution of ODS and substitutes, particularly in developing countries.
STATUS OF THE GENERAL TRUST FUND FOR FINANCING ACTIVITIES ON RESEARCH AND SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATIONS RELEVANT TO THE VIENNA CONVENTION: Megumi Seki, Ozone Secretariat, presented a report on the Vienna Convention Trust Fund, explaining that the Trust Fund, established in 2003, provides support to maintain existing World Meteorological Organization-Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO-GAW) satellites. She said the fund had received contributions of US$179,135.
Geir Braathen,WMO, reported on the Trust Fund activities outlining the ozone observing system of the WMO-GAW and WMO’s planned activities for 2009.
In the ensuing discussion, KUWAIT, questioned WMO regarding the possibility of installing an ozone monitoring system covering the Arab Gulf region. INDONESIA requested more support to increase its ozone monitoring capabilities.
CANADA reported on its continued support for ozone monitoring and expressed concern about the upcoming decommissioning of satellites, which might result in a gap in observation of the ozone layer, and called for funding to maintain a strong global monitoring system.
JORDAN requested funding for comprehensive monitoring to cover all regions, especially Western Asia which faces severe risks in regards to ozone depletion. SAUDI ARABIA noted that some Gulf countries still lack monitoring tools and supported increased monitoring at stratospheric and tropospheric levels. Noting several impacts of climate change on the southern hemisphere, ARGENTINA suggested building on synergies between work to protect the ozone layer and combating climate change.
FINANCIAL REPORTS AND BUDGETS OF THE TRUST FUNDS FOR THE VIENNA CONVENTION AND THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: Co-Chair Sørensen introduced the agenda item, and delegates agreed to follow the established practice of setting up a subcommittee to prepare a draft recommendation for consideration by parties. France, for the EUROPEAN UNION (EU), called on parties to pay contributions in full and on time.
STATUS OF RATIFICATION OF THE VIENNA CONVENTION, THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL AND THE AMENDMENTS TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: Co-Chair Beaumont reported on the ratification status of the Vienna Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the Amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Delegates agreed to amend the respective draft decision VIII/AA and XX/AA (UNEP/OzL.Conv.8/3 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.20/3) and forward it to the high level segment.
DISCUSSION OF MONTREAL PROTOCOL-RELATED ISSUES
REPLENISHMENT OF THE MULTILATERAL FUND FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: Presentation and consideration of the supplemental report of the TEAP Replenishment Task Force: TEAP members presented the report, and explained the total funding requirements for the period of 2009-2012 were in the range of US$399 million to US$630 million. The presenters outlined issues and costs related to inflation, cut-off dates, institutional strengthening, second conversions, cost-effectiveness factors, climate benefits and demonstration projects.
In the ensuing discussion delegates debated replenishment and the fixed-exchange-rate mechanism.
URUGUAY urged that when considering the Fund’s replenishment, delegates also consider synergies with the Kyoto Protocol in order not to “misstep” the goal of mitigating climate change.
The US noted its concern with, inter alia, unconstrained production and consumption of HCFC in Article 5 countries until the freeze year of 2013, and instead suggested balanced funding to ensure a steady decline in HCFCs.
CHINA underscored the need for sufficient financial support for institution building and for Article 5 countries to meet their HCFC phase-out schedules.
JAPAN suggested more focused discussion about the replenishment of the Fund. JORDAN highlighted the importance of financial strategies enabling parties to meet cut-off dates, and strengthening institutions. COLOMBIA urged that cut-off dates be flexible and take into account the interests and concerns of Article 5 countries. MOROCCO urged making sufficient funding available to Article 5 countries for destruction, conversion and re-conversion.
ARGENTINA emphasized the importance of financial support for Article 5 countries and of assuring that replacements have the least global warming potential. MALAYSIA said that the total funding estimated by TEAP may be insufficient for the costs of HCFC phase-out. The EU said discussions on whether to make the fixed-exchange-rate mechanism permanent would be useful.
Co-Chair Sørensen suggested, and delegates agreed, that the issue of replenishment be continued in a contact group co-chaired by Laura Berón (Argentina) and Jozef Buys (Belgium). In response to the high degree of interest, delegates agreed the contact group would begin its work as an open-ended group.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND DISPOSAL OF OZONE-DEPLETING SUBSTANCES: Delegates heard a report from the OEWG-28 contact group on ODS disposal explaining the group received comments from seven parties, which included a suggestion to take a step-by-step approach for destruction of ODS banks.
In the ensuing discussion, MEXICO highlighted its conference room paper (CRP) (UNEP/OzL.Pro.20/CRP.3) proposing to finance pilot projects for the destruction of contaminated CFC banks that have been accumulated and which cannot fit into existing banks. The US said it would put forward a CRP proposing a workshop to convene in 2009, for clarifying the goals of the process. The EC noted that they support a step-by-step approach, where the first goal would be to build on the ongoing work of the implementing agencies or Multilateral Fund, to develop practical experience with the bank management process.
UPDATE REPORTS BY THE TEAP: Delegates heard update reports by TEAP members. Regarding nominations for essential use exemptions for metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) requested by the Russian Federation and the EC for 2009, and the US for 2010, TEAP reluctantly agreed to recommend such essential use exemptions for the EC and the US with the understanding that no further nominations would be forthcoming from them. Regarding the Russian Federation’s request for an exemption for the use of CFC-113 for certain aerospace applications, a TEAP member reported that the amounts requested are declining as alternatives are being pursued.
TEAP members explained delays in the TEAP report on regional imbalances in availability of halon due to the limited availability of data and the scoping study on alternatives to HCFCs for mines and very high temperature conditions due to difficulties in collecting actual commercial product data.
Regarding the task force on CTC emissions, a TEAP member reported that although total production had been slowly declining, recent atmospheric measurements have remained high, resulting in the conclusion that there is a rapidly growing new source that has to be investigated further.
A TEAP member requested US$100,000 for TEAP’s 2008 budget for travel and meeting expenses; proposed Sergey Kopylov as the Co-Chair of the Halons Technical Options Committee (HTOC); and noted that positions are available for the Methyl Bromide Technical Options (MBTOC) Committee, HTOC and the Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heat Pumps Technical Options Committee (RTOC).
ISSUES RELATED TO ESSENTIAL USES: Use of CFC-113 in the aerospace industry in the Russian Federation: Co-Chair Sørensen noted that TEAP authorized the use of 130 tons of CFC-113 in the aerospace industry in the Russian Federation for 2009. The Russian Federation thanked TEAP for its work. The EC and the US requested further details about the TEAP visit to Russia, and a TEAP member explained how they determined the essential use exemption for CFC-113.
2009 and 2010 essential use nominations: Co-Chair Beaumont noted that the EC had reduced its request for MDI essential use exemptions from 38 to 22 tons of CFCs for 2009. The US reduced its request from 182 to 92 tons of CFCs for 2010. The US thanked the MTOC for its work, noted concerns over the MTOC’s suggestion of transitioning from epinephrine inhalers to an alternative in 2010, and looked forward to working with the EC on a joint CRP. The EC noted its support for working with the US.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As delegates gathered in the sun-baked city of Doha on Sunday, many drew parallels between the Montreal Protocol’s history as a trail-blazer in the world of multilateral environmental agreements and the new “paperless” nature of COP-8/MOP-20. While many were thrilled at the availability of laptops for the duration of the meeting – 900 in total – others seemed perplexed by the challenge of accessing the meeting’s dedicated Internet portal. The meeting’s IT service was in hot demand, but difficulties seemed to be ironed out by the afternoon.
As participants delved into the agenda, several commended the fast pace of progress on non-controversial issues. While other participants pointed to the negotiations on the Multilateral Fund’s replenishment as potentially sticky, a few said there was potential for delegates to meet in the middle. Others said that the next issue on the horizon was the future of HFCs. As countries move away from HCFCs, HFCs are an easy substitute—but existing HFCs have a high global warming potential.