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Minister Edna Molewa participates in the negotiations to amend the Montreal Protocol

12 October 2016

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa will participate in the high level segment of the 28th session of Meeting of the Parties (MOP28) of Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) from 13 to 14 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The high level segment will also engage in the negotiations of the proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The successful negotiations and amendment of the Protocol will be the main output of the meeting in Kigali.

South Africa is a Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. The Protocol now has 196 parties, which is a universal membership. The Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It aims to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer.

HFCs are a group of man-made chemicals containing the elements carbon, hydrogen and fluorine. They are colourless, odourless and unreactive gases. The amendment, when agreed upon by the Parties, will achieve significant benefits in addressing climate change impacts thereby implementing the Parties Agreement.

In earlier meetings, the Parties agreed to language on finance, intellectual property, and linkages to HCFCs – ozone depleting substances are already being phased out under the Protocol. Progress was later made on narrowing the range of baseline and consumption freeze dates for developing countries; however, there remains significant divergence between countries on the climate ambition of the agreement.

In the pursuit of sustainable development and the National Development Plan, South Africa maintains it is imperative to explore all the options in addressing the impacts of HFC's. Since HFCs were introduced by the Montreal Protocol as an alternative for HCFCs, there is a moral obligation to address these substances under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol, which presents a step closer in achieving this objective.

Some of other matters that will feature in the MOP discussions include the updated and new information on alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP); the availability of recovered, recycled or reclaimed halons; the destruction of banks of ozone-depleting substances and the replenishment of the Multi-lateral Fund (MLF).

The destruction of banks of ozone-depleting substances is addressed by the provisions of the National Environmental Management Waste Act of 2008. In this regard, South Africa supports building on the acquired experience and knowledge base with respect to sustainable management in order to build capacity to address the issue of ODS banks, especially given their implications for climate change.

On the replenishment of the multilateral fund for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, Minister Molewa has welcomed the opportunity to consider the phase out of high global warming potential substances (including HFCs) in the replenishment of the MLF to enable compliance by developing countries. 

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Albi Modise
Cell: 082 490 2871