Addressing African Countries

Addressing African Countries

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abujaDay was 18th August 2009. The place : rock city of Abuja.  Just about 140 days were left for the D-day of the Montreal Protocol. on 1st January 2010, the chloroflurocarbons , CFCs-, and halons would be asigned to the history books. I was addressing the meeting of government officials from 39 African countriews in charge of ozone layer protection. The had gathred there for making plans to address the last minute challenges that they risk and planning for the sustainable future in the world without CFCs.

Regional Network Meeting

French Speaking and English speaking Africa

Opening remarks by,

Mr. Rajendra SHENDE, Chief OzonAction Branch, UNEP/DTIE

17-20 August 2009, Abuja, Nigeria

Distinguished Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Environment Madam Hajiya Safiya Mohammed,

-Distinguished Officials of the Government of Nigeria,

-Distinguished Officials from the National Ozone Unit from Nigeria,

-Distinguished National Ozone Officers and my friends from the Network of National Ozone Officers,

-My dear colleagues from the Ozone Secretariat, the Multilateral Funds Secretariat and from Implementing Agencies:

At the outset, I would like to say thanks to the Government of Nigeria, particularly its Federal Ministry of Environment for agreeing to host this important consultation among the African Countries. These consultations are taking place at the time when the significant milestone in the history of the Montreal Protocol is just 140 days away. We have a date with the Montreal Protocol. That date of 1st January 2010 is our D-Day when man made chemicals i.e. CFCs, Halons and Carbon Tetra Chloride would be assigned to the History books. Our meeting would be the last consultations of French speaking and English speaking countries in Africa before that momentous date.

We have all come here through difficult travel itinerary and unexpected problems. Further we have lot of work to do in the four coming days, but I can tell from the start, that to be in Abuja , to be in Nigeria is like coming to the land of tranquillity when one can forget the past and look at the future. Yesterday, I was taking stroll with my colleagues from UNDP and MFS in the famous Millennium park of Abuja. I found that distant imposing rocks of Abuja that were at the back-drop of Millennium Park. They  are  symbols of African ability to go to the rock bottom of the problem  and their  rock like determination to solve it, be it social or be it environmental. Thank you, again for setting this meeting at this inspiring capital city of Nigeria and pleasant surrounding offered to us to carry out hard work for next few days.

Après deux décennies de mise en œuvre du Protocole de Montréal, les succès aux niveaux local et global de cet accord environnemental multilatéral ont été reconnus dans le monde entier. Ce succès n’aurait pas été possible sans la contribution de l’ensemble de la communauté internationale. Dans ce contexte, je souhaiterais souligner la contribution significative du continent africain au Protocole de Montréal, qui a été menée en Afrique malgré les nombreux autres défis urgents auxquels elle doit faire face.

Four months to go, for that historic date. None of us, Ozone Officers, or Implementing Agencies, would be here in Abuja if we are still not sure about how we can achieve that total phase-out. Most of you are just about to complete the implementation of what we call the Terminal Phase-out Plans. These plans if well coordinated will help us ensure that all countries represented here meet the critical target of 100% phase out of the major ODS. Activities of these Terminal Phase out Plans that would run through the year 2010 should be more for sustaining what we already achieved at the end of 2009 than achieving the achieving the remaining phase out .

Let’s use this meeting as a forum for you Ozone Officers to compare note on the measures taken in the past years and draw the lessons learnt and in a few specific case we may still be in position to readjust our action.

While we have our eyes on the 2010 phase out targets, we should remember that, the Montreal Protocol is still ongoing and other substances remain to be phased out.

We are now saying, we are almost done with the major part of the Ozone Depleting Substances, but as you are aware, the Montreal Protocol requires countries to also start freeze the consumption of HCFCs by 1st January, 2013 and some countries have already started restricting the importation of HCFCs to enable them meet the 2013 target. I call it the second phase of the Montreal Protocol.

It is also known that HCFCs have a high potential of global warming. Unlike for the CFCs where the phase out plans were only meant to address the Ozone Depleting potential, we now want to also consider the value added to the mitigation of the climate change. In phase out the HCFC we will also be counting how much global warming potential we will help reduce.

I would like to observe that Africa is the continent of multitude of challenges and diverse opportunities. HCFC phase out and destruction of unwanted ODS are yet another challenges that would give rise to opportunities to contribute to reducing the climate change.

Judging by the our experience in CFC phase out, there will be an influx in import of equipment using HCFCs towards African countries as other parts of the world will be grappling to get rid of there unwanted uses. This will surely increase to demand in HCFC making it difficult to many countries to meet there obligation. Most countries present here are enforcing their ODS Regulations which controls importation of ODS including HCFC. But I can assure you that regulations alone will not help if they are not backed up with a good and well funded and assisted phase-out Programme.

This justifies the support provided by the Implementing Agency to initiate HCFC phase out plans in your countries. This meeting should allow countries in the region to exchange views on the process for the development of their respective HCFC Management Plans.

L’expérience africaine du Protocole de Montréal n’est pas qu’un exemple de réussite mais une série de  de succès concrets mis en évidence aujourdui, avec chacun un thème spécifique. Un des elements qui va ajoute a bientot dans ces serie , sera etre le phase out de HCFCs et le benefice climatique qui va parvenir avec ca.

Ces réalisations et la contribution remarquable de l’Afrique seront  source d’inspiration pour d’autres régions dans non seulement pour leur effort de protection de la couche d’ozone mais aussi pour reduir le changement de climat.

To conclude, I would like once again to express my deep gratitude to the Government of Nigeria for the support extended through the National Ozone Unit; for hosting this meeting; and for the hospitality we are enjoying. I would like to acknowledge, in a special way, the efforts by the Government of Nigeria in the successful implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Due to such effort your country is today assured of being in full compliance with the requirements of the ozone treaties. Given the driving role your country plays in trade and economics within the Central and Western Africa region and even beyond, achieving compliance in Nigeria will, by extension, impact on the success in several African countries. The contribution made by Prof Ofalabi as member and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund has benefitted the world community I their pursuit to save the ozone layer. His tireless efforts have resulted into number of innovative projects including bilateral projects with Japan and UNEP on awareness and capacity building. UNEP is pleased to see that Mr. Bayero and his team are further strengthening the work in Nigeria.

I would like to wish successful consultations.

Thanks you all for your attention…

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