06 Nov 2018 Editorial

National Ozone and Customs Officers in SADC region hold twinning workshop and Border Dialogues

JOHANNESBURG, 26 October 2018 - National Ozone and Customs Officers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region (Africa Anglophone Network) gathered at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24-26 October 2018, for a three-day Twinning Workshop and Border Dialogues. The workshop was organised by UN Environment OzonAction in collaboration with the Government of South Africa.

The workshop was officially opened by Mr Obed Baloyi, Chief Director, Chemical Management, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa. In his remarks, Mr Obedi emphasised the need for strengthening collaboration especially with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and he encouraged colleagues to proritise work on chemicals that is carried out in the regions. Mr Baloyi also honoured the late Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, for her selfless sacrifice and great support she offered to the Chemicals Management and Ozone team during her tenure at the Department of Environmental Affairs. She played an active role in the signing of both the Kigali and Paris Amendments. Her passing is a great loss to the Department as well as to the Nation.

Mrs Cecilia Njenga, Head of the UN Environment Office in South Africa gave her opening remarks in which she advised colleagues that they should all be aware of the high level of HCFC consumption in many countries. “There is, in many countries, continued import of HCFC-based equipment and high level of HCFC consumption in the servicing sector”. She requested participants in the workshop to review the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) policies to ensure that they are comprehensive, up-to-date, and that they have the objective of reducing this high demand.  Mrs. Njenga strongly recommended participants to properly implement and enforce their HCFC licensing and quota systems, as a priority.

Mrs. Memory Ndou from the South African Revenue Service within Customs and Excise Division, stressed that the cooperation and coordination of such workshops/activities is critical, to better manage and protect the environment, internationally, regionally and nationally. Improving, integrating and coordinating of border posts and related infrastructure are critical to deepening regional integration and developing transboundary projects. Existing legal instruments of cooperation should be optimally used and should be supported by an effective implementation of strategies. It is therefore important for SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries to strengthen coordination and bilateral engagement to fight against illegal trade of ODS. Furthermore, the accurate data becomes pivotal to all the countries.

The workshop was organised over three days with a varied agenda consisting of presentations and discussions to consider overall challenges in the region and good practices on ODS trade controls. The meeting also considered the management of seized and unwanted ODS, facilitating legal trade and combatting illegal trade of environmentally sensitive commodities and risk profiling techniques for combatting illegal trade.  A significant portion of the workshop was dedicated to sharing of enforcement mechanisms and cooperation activities. The final day of the workshop was dedicated to bilateral discussions, which allowed two trading partner countries, in a confidential setting, to exchange their import-export statistics and explore the differences in reported in import-export data.  A parallel session on ODS identification practical exercises with refrigerant identifiers and demonstration of OzonAction smartphone applications was also conducted.

The workshop was part of the 2018 work plan of UN Environment Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) to support countries in implementing their Montreal Protocol commitments.

Patrick Salifu
Montreal Protocol Regional Coordinator, Anglophone Africa
E-mail: [email protected]

Ezra Clark
Capacity Building Manager
E-mail: [email protected]