Dr. Denis Lowe??

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

September 16, 2010

"Ozone layer protection: governance and compliance at their best"

Fellow Barbadians,

Once again it is an honour for me to address you in recognition of September 16, 2010 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and with the near certain knowledge that we are all fully aware of the importance of the Ozone Layer to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and life as we know it.

By now, you should also be aware that Barbados is a party to the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer and, by extension, is required to adopt measures to realize the phased reduction in the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (aka ODSs). Thus far the Protocol has achieved the elimination of over 98 per cent of historical levels of ozone-depleting substances globally.?? Effective 01 January 2010 the phase out of production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride and several other ODS’s became mandatory for Barbados and other developing country parties operating under Article 5 of the Protocol. ??The Ozone Secretariat has reported that the data submitted by parties to date suggests there is every reason to believe that the 2010 phase-out goals have been achieved by most Article 5 parties.

This year’s theme "Ozone layer protection: governance and compliance at their best" places sharp focus on the country level controls established to realize the objectives of the Montreal Protocol.?? Trade in refrigerant gases has been the main ODS phase out concern for Barbados. In this regard, over the years we have achieved compliance with our obligations under the Protocol largely through a voluntary regime established with the principal traders in refrigerant gases and with their effective engagement and participation as members of the National Ozone Committee. However, this is not sufficient as the Protocol requires parties to establish legal systems to govern trade in ODS’s in accordance with the internationally accepted phase-out targets and, more importantly, to circumvent the further expansion of the global illegal trading sector.

Barbados established compliance with this obligation with the inclusion of all substances subject to control by the Montreal Protocol in the Customs (List of Prohibited and Restricted Imports and Exports) (Amendment) Order 2010 which was published in the August 26 issue of the Official Gazette. ??What this means is that all substances for which the Protocol has established a 100% phase out date of 01 January 2010 or earlier are now prohibited from being imported into, or exported from Barbados. Trade in ODS chemicals on the restricted list is subject to the acquisition of an import/export license.

Even as we have now met the legal requirement of the Protocol, there still remains a substantial challenge before us and the global community.?? This challenge relates to the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants and minimising the growth in hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) demand.??

HCFCs were introduced as replacement for CFCs due to their lower destructive impact on the ozone layer.?? As ODS’s, they are subject to the control of the Protocol and are currently targeted for phase-out by 2030 in developing countries.?? Under our legislative regime HCFCs are currently included on the restricted import/export list and overtime will be subject to quota restrictions to realize our national phase-out obligations.

HFCs have emerged as non-ozone depleting replacements for CFC and HCFC gases and have gained substantial market share in the Refrigeration and Air conditioning sector as an appropriate response to the provisions of the Montreal Protocol.?? The issue with this trend however, is that while HFCs do not destroy the ozone layer, they are green house gases and can contribute to global warming.

In addition to the Montreal Protocol, the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, is also cognizant of Barbados’ obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), particularly with regards to undertaking actions to minimize our domestic emissions of green house gases to the atmosphere.?? With the foregoing, the medium term concern and challenge for Barbados relates not only to enforcing the provisions of the Order, but also to developing the correct policy mix to support the further development of the domestic refrigeration and air-conditioning sector, while being aware of the level of technological maturity within the industry to bring about the transition to acceptable non-ozone depleting refrigerants, and of our international environmental governance obligations.??

To achieve this, the Ministry will be relying on the good counsel of the National Ozone Committee, the ongoing support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the people of Barbados as key shareholders and active participants in our green economy pursuit and longer term sustainable development aspirations.

I thank you.

Author: Minister Dr. The Hon. Denis Lowe

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