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Customs Union holds ozone layer protection talks in Minsk

Delegations of the current members of the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and those of the prospective future members Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan drew up after 3 days of intensive discussions in the plenary and bilateral working groups  a set of recommendations and action points on how to enforce the provisions of the Montreal Protocol.


These referred in particular to mandatory reporting of imports, exports, production and destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), mandatory national import/export licensing systems for any type of ODS and trade restrictions with non-Parties.


During the meeting, the representative of the Ozone Secretariat (Nairobi) explained the Party’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol. A policy expert from the European Union (Warsaw) shared information on the specificities of the European Union as the only existing regional economic integration organization. And the coordinator of UNEP’s Regional Ozone Network for Europe & Central Asia (Paris) briefed on the status of illegal /unwanted trade in ODS in the region and presented the informal Prior Informed Consent Initiative (iPIC) a voluntary enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal / unwanted shipments at the stage of issuing trade licences.


Staff of the Turkish National Ozone Unit presented (remotely) their electronic system for monitoring ODS movements, as well as registering and licensing of traders, service companies and end-users in Turkey. Experts from UNDP (Bratislava) and UNIDO (Vienna) explained their projects and activities in the countries, and the delegation of the  Eurasian Economic Commission (Moscow) presented the Customs Union legislation relevant to implementing the Montreal Protocol.


Major efforts need to be undertaken to harmonize national legislation with the non-tariff regulations of the Customs Union, including import bans / restrictions for equipment and products containing or relying on ODS.


The import of such equipment and products to the Customs Union is already banned. Should the prospective member countries consider it premature to implement such import bans at the time of accession, they could request the Eurasian Economic Commission to consider an exemption during a well-defined transition period. However, this would require a mechanism to prevent the re-export of such equipment and products to the member countries that have developed country status (non-Article 5) under the Montreal Protocol.


For the meeting documents, including the agenda, concept note, list of participants, meeting highlights, as well as presentations, see: ContactGroupmeetingMinsk/tabid/133799/Default.aspx

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