The forty-fifth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG45) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer met in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 to 7 July 2023 to consider issues related to ongoing efforts to protect the ozone layer including the implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol. Prior to the meeting, delegates attended a workshop on strengthening the effective implementation of the Montreal Protocol on 2 July 2023. While participants met in person, live streaming was available for online viewing.
Delegates faced a heavy agenda of issues to work through in preparation for the Thirty-Fifth Meeting of the Parties (MOP35) to the Montreal Protocol which is due to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23 to 27 October 2023. A key issue was the TEAP Task Force report on funding levels for the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the 2024-2026 triennium to support developing countries in their implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Estimates put the required funding at approximately USD 1 billion for the next triennium. This is the highest level ever estimated and is largely because of the simultaneous hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phase-down and phase out of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) to be implemented by developing countries during this period. Delegates agreed on the list of additional issues to request from the Task Force before MOP35, at which the parties are expected to agree on the actual amount of the replenishment. Outcomes of the workshop fed into discussions listing ideas on specific areas of work where action may be taken to further strengthen Montreal Protocol institutions, including combatting illegal trade of controlled substances, for further consideration.
Other key issues discussed during the Open-ended Working Group meeting included energy efficient and low- or zero-global-warming-potential technologies, exploring a shared approach between developed and developing countries to stop the illegal import and export of inefficient cooling equipment containing obsolete refrigerants, identification of gaps in the global coverage of atmospheric monitoring of controlled substances, proposed adjustments to allow for flexibility in setting the baseline for HFCs for developing countries to take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumption levels during those reference years, as well as the terms of reference for the 2026 quadrennial assessment of the Assessment Panels whose work has been an important pillar of the Montreal Protocol.
A major item in the agenda was the consideration of the 2022 quadrennial assessment reports presented by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP), Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) and the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) to the Montreal Protocol. In considering those reports containing a wealth of information, parties expressed interest in looking further into a number of issues including the rising emissions of HFCs, notably HFC-23 - all potent greenhouse gases – and ozone-depleting substances not controlled under the Montreal Protocol, uses of controlled substances as feedstocks, destruction technologies, very short-lived substances (VSLSs) including dichloromethane that have ozone depleting potential but are not controlled under the Protocol, stratospheric aerosol injection, and life-cycle refrigerant management.
In addition, the 2023 TEAP report covered critical-use exemptions of methyl bromide, quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide, the future availability of halons used by the civil aviation industry, ongoing emissions of carbon tetrachloride (CTC), possible restructuring of its technical options committees (TOCs) to make them more fit-for-purpose, and other future challenges related to the Montreal Protocol and the climate.
In the margins of the Open-ended Working Group meeting a total of 22 side events also took place.
Parties had in-person discussions of all the agenda items during plenary as well as bilaterally, informal discussions and more formal contact group meetings, but completion of the consideration of many issues will require further work inter-sessionally prior and during the Thirty-Fifth Meeting of the Parties later this year.
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Stephanie Haysmith, Communications & Public Information Officer, Ozone Secretariat