Convening in person for the first time in over two years, the 44th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (OEWG 44), concluded the negotiations on the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the 2021-2023 triennium, which had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Parties agreed on a budget of USD 540 million, including USD 475 million in new contributions.
The decision was adopted at the brief Fifth Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties (ExMOP 5) that was convened on 16 July specifically for that purpose, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) analysis of the meeting notes. OEWG 44 convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 11-16 July 2022.
Although the OEWG meeting yielded no draft decisions for consideration and adoption by the MOP, many welcomed the return to in-person meetings where issues are advanced, in the words of Co-Chair Osvaldo Alvarez, “not only in the meeting room, but also in the corridors and outside the meeting venue.”
The meeting also “made significant progress” in addressing “some very big issues around the Protocol’s future effectiveness and capacity to make synergistic contributions to addressing climate change.”
In addition to MLF replenishment, delegates focused on:
- terms of reference for a study of replenishment needs in the 2024-2026 triennium;
- energy efficiency and dumping;
- ongoing emissions of carbon tetrachloride (CTC); and
- restructuring of the technical options committees (TOCs) that are linked to the Protocol’s Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP).
The ENB summary of the meeting indicates that energy efficiency and phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been “key areas of implementation for parties since the adoption of the Kigali Amendment,” as per which developing countries will freeze HFC use in January 2024. ENB notes that the energy efficiency contact group discussed African countries’ concerns that introduction of tighter efficiency standards in developed countries “is already resulting in the transport of unwanted appliances to their shores.”
Parties forwarded four conference room papers to MOP 34 for further deliberation. The papers address:
- stocks and quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide;
- an EU proposal on identifying sources of emissions originating from industrial processes; and
- recognition of the achievements of Paul Jozef Crutzen, Mario José Molina, and Frank Sherwood Rowland, whose work on the ozone layer laid the foundation for multilateral cooperation.
The three scientists were awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1995.
In 2022, the Montreal Protocol celebrates its 35th anniversary. It is frequently said to be “the world’s most successful environmental treaty.”
MOP 34 will take place in Montreal, Canada, from 31 October to 4 November 2022. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of OEWG 44]