OEWG36: Tough week of negotiations, no agreement except possible additional meetings

OEWG 36 spent much of its time focusing on moving the discussion on HFCs management forward.

The 36th meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Protocol of Montreal (OEWG 36) was held on 20 to 24 July 2015.



Last week, over 440 delegates representing governments, UN agencies, Montreal Protocol expert panels and committees, non-governmental organizations and industry met in Paris.



Following the Bangkok meeting in April 2015, it was decided to hold inter-sessional meetings to reach a draft agreement for development and finalization in July at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. 



These inter-sessional meetings involving a limited number of volunteer countries were held in Vienna and throughout the week at UNESCO. They addressed proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) submitted by North America, the Pacific islands, the European Union and India.



As the week started, delegates moved quickly through the agenda items to dedicate the majority of time to discussions on the proposed amendments.



Negotiations in the informal group on the feasibility and ways of managing HFCs ran late into the evening on Friday without reaching an agreement. However, delegates were still able to hold substantive discussions on the amendment proposals in order to clarify aspects of each proposal. Delegates agreed to hold an additional session of OEWG 36 prior to MOP 27, before meeting in Dubai in November.



Nevertheless, countries have clarified the differences in approach to the four amendments as well as general opposition from certain countries.



Intersessional" discussions continue



The IIR was also present to follow these discussions which may lead to an outcome before Dubai this November. The future agreement should also be subject to the parties negotiation on climate change in the context of COP21 to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. The IIR is gearing up to take part in all COP21 activities, starting with a stand, statements, and side events.



Ongoing parallel work addressing the most difficult issues



Accordingly, the PRAHA Project Steering Committee on the air conditioning in hot climates (high ambient temperature countries) met after the conference at UNESCO in view of holding a workshop at the ICR2015 in Yokohama this August. Following this, a presentation of the first results will take place at the Dubai conference on the Montreal Protocol.



Some stellar side events on HFCs, replacements, and safety



UNEP OzonAction 36th OEWG



The side event outlining ‘alternative refrigerants’ and relevant safety issues, ended with the launch of the new UNEP booklet “Safe Use of HCFC Alternatives in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning: An Overview for Developing Countries “.



ATMOsphere Network Paris 2015: Launch of the Natural Voice



During this event which focused on availability, energy efficiency and safety of natural refrigerants, shecco re-launched The Natural Voice (TNV), a global call for action supported by industry and other stakeholders, calling on national governments to recognize the virtues and viability of natural refrigerants.



Montreal Protocol - Achievements to Date and Challenges Ahead



The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been successful in meeting its goals in phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs). As a result, the abundance of ODSs in the atmosphere is declining and the ozone layer is expected to recover around the middle of this century.