Paris/Nairobi -- The 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer discussed various issues regarding the protection of the earth's fragile ozone layer, during the 34th Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties, conducted from 14 to 18 July in Paris, France.
The Parties considered the appropriate funding requirement for the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol for the 2015 - 2017 triennium. Since 1991, the Fund has provided over US$3 billion to support developing countries to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).
The Parties developed draft decisions on several issues, including on exemptions for various uses of ODSs: an extension of the global exemption for certain laboratory and analytical uses; a nomination for an essential-use exemption for chlorofluorocarbon-113 for aerospace applications in the Russian Federation; and an exemption for using carbon tetrachloride in testing water quality in China. The Parties also developed draft decisions on the import and export of used halons for civil aviation, monitoring trade in hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their substitutes, and emissions.
The Open-Ended Working Group also discussed alternatives to ozone-depleting substances in various sectors, current and future demand for those alternatives, their economic costs and implications, as well as the environmental benefits of avoiding alternatives to ODSs with high-global warming potential. The Parties sought from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol Parties information on four newly detected ODSs that are small but increasing in concentration in the atmosphere.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Parties also discussed proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are not ozone-depleting substances, but are global-warming gases.
The proposed amendments and other issues discussed at the Open-Ended Working Group will be further considered at the 26th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 26), which takes decisions. MOP 26 will be held jointly with the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer from 17 to 21 November 2014.
Side events during the Open-Ended Working Group focused on various issues related to ozone protection, including the progress achieved in phasing out methyl bromide for controlled uses in developing countries; the role of international standards in refrigeration and air-conditioning in the context of HCFC phase-out in developing countries; and the applications of natural refrigerant solutions in developed and developing countries.
The Open-Ended Working Group was preceded by a workshop on the management of HFCs, held on 11 and 12 July. The workshop involved independent facilitators and sessions on financial, legal, technical, policy and technology transfer issues associated with managing HFCs. It included expert panelists to provide an opportunity for focused and in-depth discussions to bring out the key concerns of all stakeholders, including industry associations from various regions. It was attended by more than 300 participants.