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MOP 27 of the Montreal Protocol Outlines a Roadmap for Negotiations on a HFC Amendment

Friday, 20 November 2015
The 27th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 27) was convened from 1 to 5 November 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It immediately followed the two-day resumed session of the 36th Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (OEWG 36) held from 29 to 30 October 2015. Over 500 participants attended the joint meeting, including governmental officials and representatives from UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations, scientific community, academia and the media. The cardinal objective of the joint meeting was to address the crucial issue of the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) management.

After six years of heated consultations, OEWG 36 agreed to establish a contact group with the mandate to discuss the feasibility and the ways of managing HFC. In the context of MOP 27, the contact group debated acrimoniously over a series of inter-connected challenges identified in the mandate adopted by the OEWG 36 Meeting. These challenges included inter alia: (i) recognizing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBD principle), (ii) allowing flexibility in implementation that would enable Article 5 countries (developing countries) to prioritize sectors for HFC phase-down and define their own national compliance strategies, (iii) maintaining the MLF as the financial mechanism under the Montreal Protocol and funding the second and third stage conversions,  (iv) enabling  activities for capacity building during the HFCs phase- down period and   (v) recognizing the need to exempt countries with high ambient temperature conditions where there are no available feasible alternatives for the use of HFCs.

Following protracted negotiations, the delegates decided to set out a ‘Dubai roadmap’ for negotiating an HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol during 2016. At a first stage, the Contracting Parties will hold extraordinary meetings with a view to resolving the identified challenges through generating solutions within the contact group. Later, the meetings will proceed with the consideration of the four 2015 proposals for an HFC amendment. At the end of the negotiation process, the Contracting Parties are expected to request the Ozone Secretariat to prepare a document consolidating the legal text of the four amendment proposals.

It is to be noted that HFCs are classified as greenhouse gases (GHGs) which are presently covered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Addressing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol would set a precedent for Article 5 country obligations vis-à-vis other GHGs. In this context, Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat pointed out: "Delegates are beginning to write the Protocol’s next phase by agreeing on a mandate for a contact group on HFC management".

Sources: IISD Reporting Services, UNEP News Centre
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