28 Aug 2019 News

Pacific Island Countries Identify Options for Enhancing Monitoring and Enforcement of Montreal Protocol Trade Controls

Koror, Palau, 16 August 2019 — Besides training of enforcement officers, what other practices are effective for monitoring and enforcing national laws and regulations relating to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and other ozone depleting substances (ODS)? Certainly these good practices can be adopted by the National Ozone Officers and Customs Officers of other countries and further extended to hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) trade control under the recently-adopted Kigali Amendment.  Thirty-eight Ozone Officers and Customs Officers from 12 countries as well as resource persons from the Australian government and the Multilateral Fund Secretariat attended the Twinning Workshop for the Pacific Island Countries (PIC) Ozone and Customs Officers on Strengthening Monitoring and Enforcement Mechanism for Ozone Depleting Substances and HFC Trade Control in Koror, Palau from 16-17 August 2019.  The workshop was jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), the Palau Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) and the Palau Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. This workshop is the second of its kind in the region, the previous one having been hosted by the Government of Tonga in 2014.

The two-day workshop was timely given the current discussions under the Montreal Protocol to further strengthening national monitoring, reporting, verification and enforcement (MRVE) systems. The participants discussed how National Ozone Units and Customs Departments can enhance enforcement based on the identified best practices for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, including the Kigali Amendment, and to explore solutions to accurately report HFC consumption while waiting for new customs codes to be issued.

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Mr. John Tarkong Jr., Director of Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, on behalf of the Government of Palau, welcomed all participants to the workshop. He emphasized the importance of the Kigali Amendment to avoid the increase in global temperature, and stated that “the workshop would be a useful forum for the Pacific Island Countries to learn from each other and to identify potential collaboration that they can forge to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement system.

Mr. Pipat Poopeerasupong, OzonAction's Montreal Protocol Officer, Asia and the Pacific, stated that, “Based on HCFC phase-out experiences, Article 5 countries including the Pacific Island Countries will face more challenges to phase-out HCFCs, while preparing themselves for HFC phase-down. This necessitates strengthening collaboration between the National Ozone Units and Customs Authorities on monitoring and enforcement of trade control not only at the border but also in the domestic markets - beyond the customs check point; establishment of reliable data reporting system; and strengthening prosecution mechanism.”

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The participants shared their experiences and challenges in border control enforcement, including a wide variety of case studies of seizures and prosecution of illegal trade of HCFCs and HCFC-based equipment.  The workshop also discussed the importance of verification of HCFC consumption, which would be useful for countries to identify loopholes and strengthen the current licensing and quota system.  Experiences on integrating risk profiling for ODS and HFC control was shared and discussed as a new initiative to strengthen the customs control in the region. The Ozone Officers and Customs Officers were encouraged to strengthen their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding, develop Standard Operating Procedures on the management of confiscated substances, and consider including customs brokers and other new partners to effectively control trade of ODS and HFCs.

As one of the key outcomes of the workshop, participants agreed and supported a proposal to amend the regional Harmonised System customs code under the “Pacific Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System 2017 (PACHS17),” to have regional sub-headings for single HFCs and mixtures containing HFCs based on the recommendation of the World Customs Organization as an interim solution, which will facilitate data reporting of HFCs and blends by substance.  The amendment proposal will be submitted to the Oceania Customs Organisation for review in September 2019.

This twinning workshop, which was supported by the Multilateral Fund, is part of the regional OzonAction CAP work plan for 2019 to support countries in meeting and sustaining their Montreal Protocol commitments.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Shaofeng Hu
Senior Regional Montreal Protocol Coordinator, OzonAction
UNEP Asia and Pacific Office
E-mail: [email protected]

Mr. Pipat Poopeerasupong
Montreal Protocol Officer, OzonAction
UNEP Asia and Pacific Office
E-mail: [email protected]