MOP25 reconvened for its third day on Wednesday, 23 October 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Following an early morning contact group on the terms of reference (TOR) for the 2015-2017 MLF replenishment, plenary resumed to hear updates on informal and contact group discussions regarding: additional funding for the MLF to maximize the climate benefit of the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs; the TOR for the 2015-2017 MLF replenishment; staffing issues at the Secretariat; CUE nominations for 2014 and 2015; the handbook on CUNs for methyl bromide; the final TEAP report on additional information on ODS alternatives; and proposed amendments to the Protocol.
Contact and discussion groups met throughout the afternoon and evening to discuss, inter alia: the proposed amendments to the Protocol; staffing issues; HCFC production facilities funding; additional MLF funding for maximizing the climate benefits of the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs; alternatives to ODS; and the TOR for the 2015-2017 MLF replenishment. Plenary reconvened in the evening to hear report backs on these deliberations.
Delegates agreed to forward two decisions to the HLS for consideration: the implementation of the Protocol with regard to SIDS; and EUE nominations for 2014 and 2015.
Plenary convened in the morning and evening to address outstanding agenda items.
ISSUES RELATED TO EXEMPTIONS FROM ARTICLES 2A–2I OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: EUE Nominations for 2014 and 2015: The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted that a consensus on the draft decision (UNEP/OzL.Pro.25/CRP.5) had been reached. It was forwarded to the HLS for further consideration.
CUE Nominations for 2014 and 2015: AUSTRALIA reported that while the group had met informally, further time was needed to reach an agreement.
Handbook on CUNs for Methyl Bromide: The EU noted that more time was needed to assess if the MBTOC had incorporated all the concerns raised by parties. He also reiterated that the process for finalizing the handbook should be as informal as possible.
FINAL REPORT BY THE TEAP ON ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON ALTERNATIVES TO ODS: Co-Chair McInerney introduced this item in the morning, saying that a draft decision had been forwarded from OEWG33. He also recalled the EU proposal (UNEP/OzL.Pro.25/CRP.4) introduced on Tuesday, 22 October, as a potential compromise. INDIA, with CUBA and SAUDI ARABIA, said that they did not consider the Montreal Protocol to be the correct forum in which to consider the EU’s proposal. NEW ZEALAND, Macedonia, for the REGIONAL OZONE NETWORK FOR EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, CAMEROON, AUSTRALIA and the FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA reiterated their support for further work to take place in a contact group.
MALAYSIA, with INDIA, SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, BRAZIL and CUBA preferred to not establish a contact group for considering the EU proposal in a formal setting.
SWITZERLAND noted that the EU proposal complements the draft decision from OEWG33, and would provide the TEAP with a clear mandate to obtain information that is lacking. AUSTRALIA added that the decision would allow a more informed discussion on HFCs. The US observed that, while the draft decision has no bearing on the proposed amendments, the two issues are inextricably linked. He underscored that parties had requested more information on ODS alternatives during discussions on proposed amendments to the Protocol.
Co-Chair McInerney said that the way forward would not satisfy all parties and called for a discussion on information needs.
INDIA said they are prepared to request the TEAP to provide an update on ODS alternatives, but not on HFCs. He said that only after developed countries phase out “so-called” high-GWP HFCs domestically should they return to talking about low-GWP alternatives in the Montreal Protocol. Noting that no realistic low-GWP alternatives are available, he said he could not agree to a discussion on the EU proposal.
Co-Chair McInerney urged delegates to exercise flexibility and said that as a starting point, parties could address the draft decision that was forwarded by OEWG33.
ISSUES RELATED TO FUNDING: Additional MLF Funding for Implementing the Montreal Protocol to Maximize the Climate Benefit of the Accelerated Phase-Out of HCFCs: CANADA reported that discussions during the contact group had focused on the purpose and objective of the proposal. Delegates also addressed the first paragraph of the decision. Additional time was requested to conclude deliberations.
Funding of Production Facilities for HCFCs: NORWAY said that parties were not able to reach an agreement. INDIA said that the lack of clarity on funding rules impinged on concrete action.
TOR for the Study on the 2015–2017 Replenishment of the MLF: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, as co-convener of the contact group, said that although the group has met a number of times, additional time is needed to reach an agreement.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL WITH REGARD TO SIDS: In the morning, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, as co-conveners, reported that in the previous evening’s discussion, consensus had been reached. The draft decision (UNEP/OzL.Pro.25/CRP.7) was forwarded to the HLS.
In the evening, Co-Chair Camargo highlighted a non-substantive revision to the draft decision. INDIA intervened saying that it could not agree to the decision being forwarded to the HLS due to a lack of clarity on the draft decision as his delegation had been unable to attend contact group discussions on the matter. SAINT LUCIA, US, the EU, NIGERIA, BRAZIL, AUSTRALIA, CANADA and others objected arguing that the “un-approval” of the draft decision meant a “process breakdown.” AUSTRALIA highlighted that when parties are unable to join the discussions for various reasons, they must abide by the deliberations that have taken place in their absence. Following several interventions requesting the approval of this item, Co-Chair Camargo informed delegates that the decision would be forwarded to the HLS for consideration.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: Co-Chair McInerney observed that parties had expressed a desire to move forward on this item and noted concerns regarding both the forum in and speed at which the item should be considered. He said that during OEWG33, a discussion group was formed, which was highly valued by participants and seen as constructive way to look at HFCs and provided an opportunity to unpack the issues. Mclnerney proposed re-forming the discussion group, which he said would consider outcomes from recent international fora, meet over the course of the next few days and report back to plenary, including on options to progress discussions in 2014. He said the outcomes of discussions would be reflected in the MOP25 meeting report.
OTHER MATTERS: Staffing Changes at the Ozone Secretariat: In the morning, Co-Chair McInerney asked the Ozone Secretariat to provide information on staffing. Marco González, Executive Secretary, said that Tina Birbili (Greece) will take up the position of Executive Secretary in November. SWITZERLAND asked for information on an appointment for the post of deputy Executive Secretary. González responded that the internal review process is complete and the final decision will be made by the UNEP Executive Director by the end of the year.
Reporting back on the contact group during afternoon plenary, DENMARK noted that while there was a perception that the Secretariat did not need further assistance on staffing, the group was unable to take a decision on this matter as Grenada, the proponent of the matter, was not able to attend the contact group discussion.
DISCUSSION AND CONTACT GROUPS
MANAGEMENT OF HFCS: Co-Facilitator Gudi Alkemade (the Netherlands) opened the meeting, highlighting the group’s mandate to discuss how to progress on the technical, financial and legal aspects of HFCs management. She invited parties to first consider how to make progress on the technical components of the management of HFCs.
On high-density populations and urban areas, the US mentioned the work of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other standard setting bodies and stressed the importance of safe alternatives. The EU called for focusing on, inter alia: the availability of alternatives for refrigerants; emission reduction by containment measures; and maintenance, skilled installation and training. He also highlighted the utility of district cooling in urban areas. INDIA noted that district cooling is not a priority in regions where basic needs have yet to be met.
On high ambient temperatures regions, CHINA supported further work by the TEAP on low-GWP alternatives. She highlighted hydrocarbon as a refrigerant which performed well, but noted differing opinions on this technology and the need to address service sector challenges. She emphasized that for high ambient temperature regions, hydrocarbon is viable, but only with a recognized standard. The US observed that high-GWP HFCs are less efficient in high ambient temperatures. CANADA supported China on international standards regarding the use of refrigerants, observing that barriers need to be addressed and further work is required.
The US presented a US Environmental Protection Agency preliminary analysis on reducing HFC consumption in the US, noting that there are many low-GWP alternatives. He added that the very act of amending the Protocol vis-à-vis HFCs would send a signal to the market that the world wants climate-friendly technologies.
ADDITIONAL MLF FUNDING FOR IMPLEMENTING THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL TO MAXIMIZE THE CLIMATE BENEFIT OF THE ACCELERATED PHASE-OUT OF HCFCS CONTACT GROUP: The contact group met to discuss the draft decision forwarded by OEWG33. Discussions focused on: how the decision might mobilize additional funding for the MLF; the length of the trial period; and the original TOR of the MLF.
IN THE CORRIDORS
On the final day of the preparatory segment, fatigue was beginning to set in and deliberations in contact groups and informal sessions proceeded slowly, some behind closed doors.
Consideration of amendments to the Montreal Protocol in the context of phasing down HFCs was “watered-down” into a discussion group debate of technical aspects related to HFCs management and the way forward. Hence, the prospect of an amendment in the near future began to look increasingly elusive for its supporters.
The impression of a “slow rhythm” was reinforced in the evening plenary, when some parties requested that the SIDS decision be reopened due to the “lack of substantive clarity.” Widespread expressions of disapproval were voiced as delegation after delegation stated their dismay at the blatant flouting of procedure. The decision was finally forwarded to the HLS, but many were left reflecting on whether true progress could really be made following the episode that had aggravated mistrust and suggested some parties are employing delaying tactics during negotiations.