National Ozone Officers from the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) – Cook Islands,
Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu – as well as representatives from the Government of Australia, a bilateral implementing agency, and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction came together virtually to discuss an action plan for the total phase-out of the remaining hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) consumption by 1 January 2030.
The PIC Regional Network of Ozone Officers has a unique implementation modality to phase-out consumption of HCFCs. Drawing from the experience gained under Stage I of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP), the regional approach has proven to be effective for the PICs where regional activities are often more efficient and cost-effective. It has also fostered collaboration and sharing of good practices among the National Ozone Officers and increased the visibility of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase-out work in the region.
The virtual thematic meeting on the implementation of Stage II of the PIC HPMP was organized by OzonAction’s Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) team for Asia and the Pacific on 25 February 2021 and was attended by 25 participants (12 women and 13 men) to jump-start project implementation as approved in November 2020 by the Executive Committee of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund. The meeting enabled participants to review the approved national and regional components, brainstorm on the approach to coordinate the implementation between PICs, Australia, and UNEP, taking into account the lessons learned from Stage I implementation, and on the delivery of the regional procurement component.
Mr. Shaofeng Hu, Senior Montreal Protocol Regional Coordinator, UNEP Compliance Assistance Programme, Asia and Pacific Office said, “Although the Stage II PIC HPMP is with regional features, the implementation of all the approved activities including both the regional and national is still to be country-driven with support from Australia and UNEP. Each country will be accountable for the regional HPMP, any delays in implementation in one country would have implications on the overall HPMP implementation. This virtual meeting enabled countries and implementing agencies to have a mutual understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the implementation, as well as the proper coordination approach.”
The participants discussed and agreed on a mechanism critical for maintaining effective and timely project implementation, including developing a work plan, tracking and monitoring project delivery, reporting, and maintaining regular communication. The work plan for the delivery of time-bound activities in 2021 was also addressed and agreed upon. The PIC National Ozone Officers shared their experiences from the HPMP Stage I implementation and provided feedback on how the HPMP Stage II could be implemented more effectively.
Ms. Tumau Neru, Principal Ozone Officer, Samoa, highlighted that “With collective collaboration and contribution from all 12 PICs, we reached a good understanding on the way to move forward for the stage II implementation. We see the importance that everyone must work together in light of the agreed work plan.”
Ms. Annie Gabriel, the representative of the Government of Australia, added that “Being the cooperating implementing agency, we are happy to see the early commitment and collaborative efforts of the PICs for the HPMP stage II implementation. We look forward to working with the PIC National Ozone Units and local industry to assist Refrigeration Air-Conditioning servicing technicians in meeting the challenges of handling HCFC alternative refrigerants, and to help in building stronger training facilities in the region.”
This virtual meeting is a part of the regional OzonAction CAP work plan for 2021 to support countries in meeting and sustaining their Montreal Protocol commitments.