Minister Molewa’s statement on behalf of South Africa at the MOP28 to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

Kigali, Rwanda, 10 - 14 October 2016,


President of the MOP, Honorable Minister Biruta and your distinguished delegates,
Honourable Ministers,
UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim,
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
The Ozone Secretariat,
Various bodies of the Montreal Protocol,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

All protocol observed

On behalf of South Africa, we bring warm greetings and appreciate this privilege to speak at this momentous occasion.

The Republic of South Africa would like to extend her gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for the warm hospitality accorded to us and for the excellent hosting of this meeting in the beautiful city of Kigali. We would also like to commend the level of professionalism and excellence exhibited by the Secretariat in organizing this meeting and serving the Parties.

Distinguished delegates, once again, I would like to reiterate the unparalleled success of the Montreal Protocol, in particular through the significant phase-out of ozone-depleting substances that has been achieved hitherto. The Protocol should serve as an inspiration and a model for other Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

The Dubai Pathways on HFCs

We would like to applaud the Parties for finally coming to an agreement on the long outstanding matter relating to the proposed amendment of the Protocol to include non-ODS substances with a high global warming potential. After many years of intense negotiations, significant progress has been made with regard to the proposed amendment to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Dubai Pathway on HFCs is a key milestone in the history of the Montreal Protocol.

In this regard South Africa would further like to emphasize the importance of cooperative, coordinated and synergistic international environmental Governance, particularly within the realm of chemicals. This effort requires close cooperation and coordination between the Montreal Protocol and the UNFCCC as well as other chemicals and waste Multilateral Environmental Agreements which will improve the effectiveness of our sustainable development efforts. And this will enhance efficiency, cooperation, cut costs, and avoid duplication.

South Africa is in support of the baseline of 2020 - 2022, with the freeze date of 2024 and a 65% HCFC baseline component. As parties we need to work together to be able to agree on the most ambitious reduction steps and agree on all other aspects of the amendment. We are positive that this can be done in the next day and half.

Alternatives to HFCs

Significant progress has been made to amend the Montreal Protocol to include HFCs. We however know that there are some challenges that still needs to be resolved. These include questions relating to alternatives to HFCs and their costs. Issues relating to the availability of appropriate, cost-effective, technically proven, and environmentally sound alternatives still have to be answered comprehensively. Historically, the difficulties of not finding all alternatives for all applications never prevented this body in taking action to restore the ozone layer. We have been successful in many aspects. We urge the assessment panels to work further to find alternatives over time.

HCFC phase out

In South Africa, a process to inform phase-out strategies and action plans for HCFCs has been completed. The regulations on the management and phasing out of ozone depleting substances have been enacted and are being implemented. These regulations are an additional tool to ensure that South Africa remains in compliance with the requirements of the Montreal Protocol. We have been able to meet the target of reducing our HCFC consumption by 10% in 2015, and we are committed in making sure that we will meet all our targets.

Methyl bromide phase out

Methyl bromide phase-out program in the country is progressing effectively. In South Africa. We regularly monitor the consumption of Methyl Bromide through the quota allocation system, product stewardship, compliance inspections and licensing system. These measures have helped us to phase out Methyl Bromide in all applications that have alternatives. The control on consumption of both these substances is achieved through an active collaborative effort with the Ministry of Agriculture, South African Revenue Services and International Trade Administration Commission and Industry. Training programs for customs officials have also been undertaken to make sure that there are no illegal shipments that come to our country.

I need to underscore that although South Africa has applied for Critical Use Exemption for Methyl Bromide for 2017, earnest efforts have been undertaken to find alternatives. In this regard there have been applications received from the industry to register alternatives, and the Ministry of Agriculture is on the process of evaluating these applications. Even though we did not receive the full complement of our application, we are committed to implementing the Methyl Bromide Option Committee recommendations of relooking our dosage rates and frequency of fumigation. This we will do to show our commitment to the Protocol.

Climate benefits

We have the National Climate Change White Response Policy which is now followed by the Climate Change Bill, representing the South African Government’s vision for an effective climate change response and the long-term, just transition to a climate-resilient and lower-carbon economy and society. We have submitted our ambitious INDCs, and are finalising the ratification of the Paris Agreement ahead of COP22.

Through the Government Gazette published in January 2016, our Government communicated its intention to declare Green House Gases as priority air pollutants. Six Kyoto Protocol gases, including the synthetic gases, HFC being one of them, will be declared a priority, whereby a person falling within a specific category will be required to prepare and submit a pollution prevention plan under the National Environmental Management Act: Air Pollution Act of 2004.

The move to support the amendment of the Montreal Protocol is in line with our effort to support the Paris Agreement on climate change.In our efforts to address climate change, so far the total investment in adaptation increased from US$ 1.64 bn in 2010 to US$ 2.31 bn in 2015. South Africa established a South African Green Fund with an allocated US$ 110 million in the 2011 to 2013 budgets to support catalytic and demonstration green economy initiatives.

Financing and the MLF

We would like to appreciate the role that the Multilateral Fund has been playing in assisting Article 5 countries to meet their obligations under the Protocol. We urge the non-A5 Parties and other donors to contribute more resources that would be commensurate with the current responsibilities and the increased mandate of the Protocol to address HFCs, which have a high global warming potential and was originally falling under the scope of the UNFCCC.

Adequate and predictable financing is indispensable in transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy and society. It will enable and support the deployment of low carbon and adaptation technology as well as building the capacity to govern, regulate, install and operate these technologies.

As a responsible global citizen, South Africa is committed and are working within the Africa Group to contributing to a solution to the global threats posed by ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases emissions into the environment. We all owe a duty to the present and future generations to ensure sustainable development including througha strong and comprehensive phase down of HCFCs and GHGs, under the guiding principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

Ladies and gentlemen

I thankyou for your kind attention.

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