Launching the Europe And Central Asia (ECA) Montreal Protocol Award for Customs and Enforcement Officers 2019-2020 (fifth edition)

UN Environment Programme OzonAction, in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the Ozone Secretariat, is launching the fifth edition of the ECA Montreal Protocol Award for Customs and Enforcement Officers for the period 2019-2020.

The award recognizes the crucial role of customs & enforcement officers in implementing trade restrictions and bans for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Both groups of chemicals, which are controlled under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, are widely used as refrigerants and foam blowing agents in the refrigeration, air conditioning and foam blowing sectors.

HCFCs contribute to ozone layer depletion and global warming. They will gradually be phased out by 2030 and are already banned in the European Union. HCFC traders require annual import / export quota as well as import / export licenses for HCFC shipments.

HFCs contribute to global warming. They are controlled and will gradually be phased down by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. National legislation might already require establishment of import / export licenses for HFC shipments, and they are already restricted in the European Union.

The informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) system allows trade partners to confirm the legitimacy of an intended trade in controlled substances prior to issuing import / export licenses. More information on iPIC is available HERE


Tolerating illegal or unwanted trade in HCFCs / HFCs might undermine the success and credibility of the Montreal Protocol and lead to non-compliance.


The award aims to recognize and offer encouragement to customs and enforcement officers and their respective organizations for successful prevention of illegal or unwanted trade in HCFCs / HFCs. This also includes equipment or products containing or relying on the use of HCFCs / HFCs.

The award is expected to enhance regional and international cooperation and raise awareness of the customs and enforcement community. It will facilitate reporting on illegal trade to UN Environment Programme and the Ozone Secretariat, pursuant to paragraph 7 of decision XIV/7 of the parties to the Montreal Protocol and encourage trading partners to consistently apply iPIC prior to issuing export / import licenses for HCFCs / HFCs. It is expected that the award will thus contribute to enforcing the Montreal Protocol trade provisions and compliance.

Often, seizures of controlled substances, equipment and products containing or relying on controlled substances are not publicized because of a perception that they reflect negatively on the concerned countries. Providing recognition and visibility of customs and enforcement agents might change this perception and encourage the reporting on illegal trade cases and seizures. Publicizing the seizures, court cases and penalties can discourage potential smugglers.


Eligible nominees include customs and enforcement officers and / or their respective organizations who have been directly involved or instrumental in preventing illegal or unwanted trade in HCFCs / HFCs as well as equipment or products containing or relying on the use of HCFCs / HFCs.

Eligible enforcement actions include the detection of an illegal shipment and the subsequent seizure, detention or sending back of the disallowed goods, as well as successful iPIC consultation preventing the issuance of export / import licenses for illegal or unwanted shipments.

Enforcement actions are eligible if they have not been submitted to any other award schemes.

Geographical scope and time period

Eligible countries include those in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region including countries with economies in transition (CEIT countries) and Western European countries as well as their trading partners.

Eligible enforcement actions must have taken place during the period: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2020.


Completed nomination forms with detailed and comprehensive case descriptions and supporting photos and documents should be received by the UN Environment Programme as soon as possible but at the latest by: 31 January 2021.

Nominations and case descriptions should be as detailed and comprehensive as possible and accompanied by supporting photos and documents such as shipment papers, bill of lading, invoices, trade licences, proof of origin etc.

Nominations should be submitted in English or Russian. National Montreal Protocol focal points are encouraged to coordinate nominations from their respective countries. Self-nominations are encouraged.

Verification and outreach

 Nominations and case descriptions will be reviewed and verified by an expert panel with representatives of World Customs Organization, Ozone Secretariat and UN Environment Programme.

Validated cases will be compiled into a summary report and publicized on OzonAction’s dedicated award webpage. They will be publicised to the international Montreal Protocol and enforcement community.

 Award winners

Nominated customs and enforcement officers and / or their respective organizations whose cases have been validated will be awarded with certificates and medals of honor. The certificates will be signed by representatives of UN Environment Programme, World Customs Organization and the Ozone Secretariat.

The validation of the cases will require detailed and comprehensive case descriptions and supporting photos and documents. Cases involving smaller and bigger amounts of goods traded illegally are equally eligible. A regional award ceremony will be arranged in 2021 (subject to funding availability).

Informations here:

UN Environment Programme, OzonAction: 

World Customs Organization:

Ozone Secretariat:

The nomination forms in English and Russian are available from the ECA network page