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Volume 19 Number 92 - Friday, 16 November 2012
MOP-24 HIGHLIGHTS
Thursday, 15 November 2012

The high-level segment of MOP-24 opened on Thursday, 15 November 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland. In the morning, delegates met for the opening session of the high-level segment, while others joined contact and discussion groups on: alternatives to ODS; budget; QPS uses of methyl bromide; and evaluation of financial mechanisms.

Contact group discussions on alternatives to ODS, ODS policy information and funding climate benefits resumed in the afternoon. Both the preparatory segment plenary and the high-level segment plenary sessions reconvened in the afternoon.

In the evening, the Swiss Government hosted a reception. The contact group on TEAP procedures met following the reception.

HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT PLENARY SESSION

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Doris Leuthard, Head of Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland, cited reasons for celebrating the Montreal Protocol’s 25th anniversary, including that 98% of ODS have been phased-out. Leuthard said Switzerland supports the proposed HFC amendments. 

Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, highlighted principles of the Montreal Protocol, inter alia: a firm scientific foundation; the precautionary principle; CDR; cooperation; and an effective data system to monitor compliance. Gonzalez hoped these same principles will contribute to overcoming current challenges.  

Amina Mohamed, Deputy Executive Director (ED), UNEP, asked for a moment of silence for Angela Cropper, former UNEP Deputy ED and Special Advisor to the UNEP ED. Mohamed highlighted the spirit of cooperation between governments, civil society, academia, NGOs and the private sector in implementing the Protocol and stressed inter-generational responsibility. She underscored UNEP’s commitment to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol.

Syanga Abilio, MOP-23 President, said Article 5 Parties are taking initial steps towards the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs and lauded South Sudan for becoming a party to the Protocol.

Organizational matters: MOP-24 elected by acclamation Mahmood Alam (Pakistan) as President, Dmytro Mormul (Ukraine), Leslie Smith (Grenada) and Alain Wilmart (Belgium) as Vice Presidents, and Wilbur Simuusa (Zambia) as Rapporteur. Delegates also adopted the agenda (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/1).

Presentations by the assessment panels on the status of their work, including the latest developments: SAP: Paul Newman (US) presented a report on behalf of the SAP, including the status of the 2014 assessment report. He said the amount of time CTC remains in the atmosphere has been revised upwards from 35 to 50 years, which has narrowed, but not closed, the discrepancy between top-down and bottom-up emission estimates. He said R-316C is a powerful ODS and GHG.

EEAP: Nigel Paul (UK) described the EEAP’s work on examining the effects of ozone depletion and climate change on, inter alia, ultraviolet (UV) radiation in relation to human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, materials, and ODS and replacements. He highlighted a significant advance in understanding the relationship between UV radiation and key receptors, noting that UV can result in negative health effects but may have beneficial impacts on Vitamin D status.

TEAP: Lambert Kuijpers (the Netherlands) presented the key conclusions of the TEAP. He said 80% of the methyl bromide use in Article 5 parties has been phased out from the aggregate baseline, in advance of the 2015 deadline. Daniel Verdonik reported on the Halons TOC. He described an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) study on the use of halons in the aviation industry. He said there is little evidence that States, civil aviation and ozone offices work together and underscored that it is not yet possible to determine long-term halon needs.

Presentation by the MLF: Xiao Xuezhi (China) highlighted progress on assistance to developing countries for HCFC management plans (HPMPs). He said the MLF focused on ensuring funding for HPMPs in as many countries as possible and noted that 126 Article 5 countries now have the infrastructure to implement HCFC phase-out activities. He said the MLF has approved 101 additional projects, amounting to US$ 46 million. He outlined institutional efforts, including: UNDP’s activities on the viability of different climate-friendly alternatives to blowing agents; UNEP’s efforts on HCFC phase-outs, the UN Industrial Development Organization’s activities on ODS destruction; and the World Bank’s assistance to China in developing their HCFC phase-out for the production sector.

Statements by heads of delegation: In a video message, Queen Jetsun Pema of BHUTAN described efforts to encourage popular support to reduce ODS. MADAGASCAR urged continued financial support for the MLF to facilitate ODS reduction. CHINA highlighted three elements for the Protocol’s continued success: stable and sufficient funding; continued exempted uses of ODS; and strengthening cooperation for alternative technology.

The US stated that the Protocol has the institutions, experience and methodologies to address an HFC phase-out, stressing that this will support and assist the efforts of the UNFCCC. The EU called for further progress on: limiting CUE nominations for methyl bromide; and reducing methyl bromide use in QPS. ZAMBIA outlined efforts in phasing-out ODS, noting the assistance of the Ozone Action Programme and the MLF.

BOLIVIA noted the importance of establishing a licensing system in its phase-out of CFCs. JAPAN stated that HCFC phase-out needs to avoid high GWP alternatives. UKRAINE described UNDP and GEF support for HCFC phase-out and replacing CFC coolants. INDONESIA called for assistance in transitioning to new technologies. The HOLY SEE applauded the Protocol for involving all stakeholders in ODS phase-out. BURUNDI underscored its commitment and readiness to work with others to achieve international environmental goals.

FIJI welcomed trials on possible alternatives to methyl bromide. CAMBODIA highlighted events, seminars and meetings held to facilitate the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. ZIMBABWE noted the need for finding common approaches to address environmental challenges. NIGERIA highlighted the development of indigenous technologies to address ODS.

BRAZIL recommended additional financial support and information on ODS alternatives. JORDAN highlighted its participation in Ozone Day and its implementation of a national strategy to eliminate ODS in addition to the MLF. VENEZUELA noted remaining challenges to reduce HCFCs. IRAN mentioned three concerns: the adoption of a sound mechanism for ODS disposal; the management of HCFC phase-out; and the illegal trade in ODS.

KENYA supported scaling down and eventually phasing out HFCs and cooperation between the Protocol and the UNFCCC. UGANDA stressed the need for affordable ozone-friendly and climate-friendly alternatives. The MALDIVES called for parties to find climate-friendly alternatives, stressing that actions under the Protocol should not degrade the global climate system. She said every forum is the right forum to address these issues.

PREPARATORY SEGMENT PLENARY SESSION

Issues related to exemptions from Article 2 of the Montreal Protocol: Nominations for essential-use exemptions for 2013: CHINA requested more time for consultation, which Co-Chair Odat approved.

Nominations for critical-use exemptions for 2014: CANADA reported that discussions took place between the EU, Australia, Canada and the US on CUEs of methyl bromide (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.4). He requested more time for additional consultation, which was approved.

QPS issues: NORWAY presented the draft decision (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.11), noting, inter alia, the next OEWG could ask TEAP to analyze article 7 (Reporting of data). On methyl bromide, she invited Parties to provide voluntary information and establish procedures to monitor its use.

Additional information on alternatives to ODS: GRENADA stated that the group has made substantial progress, despite difficult negotiations on the draft decision XXIV/[E] (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/8). He asked for more time, which was approved.

Proposal on additional MLF funding for implementing the Protocol to maximize the climate benefit of the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs: CANADA said the co-conveners prepared a text that was available for review. INDIA said an informal group cannot reach consensus. Following discussion, Co-Chair Odat suggested India provide feedback or participate in the group.

OTHER MATTERS: Information on ODS Transition Policy Measures: The US reported on discussions, noting that simplified text had been agreed on (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.9). He requested time to finalize deliberations, which was agreed.

ALTERNATIVES TO ODS CONTACT GROUP

The contact group continued negotiating draft decision XXIV/[E] (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/8) throughout the day. The Co-Chairs presented a shortened compromise text, which parties accepted as a basis for further discussion. In text requesting TEAP to prepare a draft report for OEWG-33, INDIA suggested consulting with outside experts, “if necessary,” to update information on alternatives and technologies in various sectors. The US proposed a task force be established. A discussion ensued on whether to refer to the RAC sector, add foams, or say “RAC in particular.”

In text describing current and emerging alternatives to HCFCs and CFCs, taking into account their efficacy and other characteristics, INDIA, supported by ARGENTINA, bracketed CFCs. CHINA preferred using “ODS” throughout the text, to which delegates agreed. INDIA objected to mentioning alternatives “under development,” and, supported by BRAZIL, suggested referencing commonly available, technically proven and environmentally sound alternatives. BRAZIL proposed alternatives’ efficacy taking into account water use, waste disposal and flammability. Delegates accepted the paragraph.

After discussing whether to qualify alternatives as those identified, commercially available, close to market, emerging, or updated, the contact group agreed on “available.” It also agreed to a short paragraph from CANADA requesting TEAP to provide information on the likely time frames of the market entry of emerging alternatives. INDIA objected to the paragraph, which refers to international standards for flammable substances and trends in national standard setting while BRAZIL expressed doubt about standards set in other fora. CHINA supported it with minor changes. The Co-Chair asked India, China and Brazil to try to resolve this text.

INDIA and ARGENTINA opposed text asking TEAP to estimate the proportion of alternatives that can be avoided or eliminated, with India proposing text on “could have been avoided in non-Article 5 countries.” CANADA added reference to high GWP alternatives.

In text proposed by the EU encouraging parties to submit “available information,” INDIA proposed deletion of the paragraph while BRAZIL called for more time to reflect. Two final paragraphs were deleted: on encouraging parties to review domestic policies of enterprise access to alternatives; and on continuing giving effect to decision XIX/6.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR CLIMATE BENEFITS CONTACT GROUP

SWITZERLAND introduced the text, noting that it remains focused on minimizing environmental impacts, notably climate change. The EU and the US stressed the voluntary nature of the funding. COLOMBIA, supported by BRAZIL and CHINA, questioned if this funding could influence MLF replenishments. SWITZERLAND, the EU, and the US stated this will not happen. ITALY suggested voluntary contributions from other sources. COLOMBIA proposed text ensuring voluntary contributions do not weaken the MLF.

INFORMATION ON ODS TRANSITION POLICY MEASURES CONTACT GROUP

Delegates informally discussed the draft decision on information on ODS transition policy measures (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.9). The US introduced the text, noting that the aim is to avoid the transition from ODS to high GWP technologies, and that proposed reporting is voluntary. The EU added that the decision seeks to gather information on existing voluntary measures, legislation and policies. Several delegates said compiling information and showcasing experiences would be useful. A few expressed concerns about climate linkages. Noting that parties report on policies to the UNFCCC, one delegate said this decision should ensure that there is no overlap in reporting. Participants agreed to delete reference to HFCs.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As the high-level plenary opened to harmonious traditional Swiss music on Thursday morning, the mood in several contact groups remained discordant. Rather than moving closer to final decisions, progress was excruciatingly slow. One participant pointed to several delegations that seemed to be erecting “blockades,” preventing anything from moving forward. Another suggested that certain parties seemed to be “filibustering,” even on benign preambular text. A widespread complaint was that parties were indulging in long-winded explanations of their positions rather than engaging in work on draft text by suggesting concrete language. This situation led one party, during the high-level segment, to urge the international community to devise a system preventing “one or two countries from stopping the world from taking appropriate steps.” Many delegates expressed concern that some negotiators were oblivious of the high-level plenary and that the contact groups and bi-lateral informal consultations would likely continue into Friday, resulting in yet another late night session. According to a participant, some hope was placed on informal huddles on the margins of the Thursday night Swiss reception at the Intercontinental.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of MOP-24 will be available on Monday, 19 November 2012 online at: http://www.iisd.ca/ozone/mop24/

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Catherine Benson, Jennifer Lenhart, Kate Louw and Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Editors are Jessica Templeton, Ph.D., and Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and the Government of Australia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2012 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute – GISPRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Additional funding for the coverage of this meeting has been provided by the UN Environment Programme - Ozone Secretariat. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022, USA. The ENB Team at the Twenty-fourth meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer can be contacted by e-mail at <Kate@iisd.org>.
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