August 25, 2003
The Ministry of the Environment, the government of Mongolia and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized the Country Consultation & Stakeholders' Meeting for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (the Country Consultation Meeting) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on August 23 and 24, 2003 as part of the effort under the Strategic Plan Implementation Project to Promote Ratification of the Montreal Protocol in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The meeting was attended by stakeholders in Mongolia including Mr. Bolat, Vice Minister of Nature and Environment, officers of the National Ozone Unit, staff of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, customs officers, refrigerants importers, auto repair business operators, representatives of NGOs, and representatives of Japan, the People' s Republic of China and the UNEP. Lively exchanges of views and opinions were held on such issues as prevention of illegal trade and a national action plan for the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) of Mongolia. The meeting concluded with the issuance of a declaration that proposed the formulation of a new action plan.
Two workshops were organized on the illegal trade of ODSs and on the ODS phase-out plan during the meeting.
The workshop on prevention of illegal trade featured presentations by participants from UNEP, China, and the Customs Department of Mongolia, followed by discussions. Mongolia and China agreed to exchange information concerning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and CFC-containing products on a regular basis and ensure correct labeling, with the aim of preventing illegal import of ODSs into Mongolia.
In the workshop on the ODS phase-out plan of Mongolia, the representative of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan talked about the nation's efforts to improve relevant laws and regulations, underscoring the importance of dissemination and awareness-raising activities in the course of this process. Also presented were the latest developments in scientific research and studies on ozone layer protection, and examples of energetic efforts undertaken by NGOs in Japan.
Keynote addresses were delivered in the plenary session by Mr. Bolat, Mr. Shrestha, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific of UNEP, Mr. Liu Yi, General Director of Foreign Economic Cooperation Office of the State Environmental Protection Administration of China and Mr. Hamanaka, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment of Japan.
The participants shared the recognition that regional- and country-level cooperation is crucial--as are efforts at the international level--in addressing global issues such as protection of the ozone layer.
It was pointed out that although the implementation of the ODS phase-out plan of Mongolia has resulted in a steady reduction of ODSs, there still exist problems such as illegal trade and obstacles to elimination of ODS usage by small- and medium-sized businesses.
At the conclusion of the plenary sessions, a Chairman's Summary was issued. The summary included a recommendation on the National Action Plan for the ODS Phase-out of Mongolia, gist of which is as follows:
|(i)||Improving the capabilities of customs officers is an effective means of preventing illegal trade. Training for customs officers should therefore be continued.|
|(ii)||It is necessary to strengthen collaborative relationships with other stakeholders, such as police, for more rigorous law enforcement. To this end, specific actions will be taken in the future.|
|(iii)||Training of technicians in the recovery and recycling of CFCs should be continued and upgraded. Also, capacity-building programs should be provided to ensure more efficient CFC recovery and recycling.|
|(iv)||There is a need for international cooperation in the licensing, labeling and exchange of information on the use of CFCs in automobile air conditioning systems. Future efforts should be directed toward strengthening networks with the neighboring countries.|
|(v)||A Task Force comprised of customs and ozone officers from China, Mongolia and Russia will be created for the purpose of preventing illegal trade.|
|*||Chairman's Summary: Stakeholders & Country Consultation Meeting for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, in Mongolia|