United Nations Environment Programme
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.
The two ozone treaties have been ratified by 197 states and the European Union making them the first universally ratified treaties in United Nations history.
The formation of the Ozone Officers Network for French-Speaking Africa was approved at the 12th Executive Committee Meeting in March 1994 (AFR/SEV/12/TAS/09). To-date this network comprises of 26 members: twenty two French-speaking (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Republic), Democratic Republic of Congo (D. R. C), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia), three Portuguese speaking African countries (Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome & Principe) and one Spanish speaking (Equatorial Guinea that became party to the Montreal Protocol in 2006).
Besides UNEP and its partner Implementing Agencies (UNIDO, UNDP and the World Bank), this network receives bilateral support from Canada, France and Switzerland.
To efficiently run the French-speaking network and organize network meetings based on the needs of the countries, the Regional Network Coordinator (RNC) based at UNEP Regional Office for Africa in Nairobi, is assisted by Regional Network Coordinator for English- speaking Africa, Regional Network Coordinator of the French- speaking Africa and the Methyl Bromide Officer. The team provides all the CAP services to the region.
More than a decade after its establishment, it is evident that the Ozone Officers in this network have matured to become more capable in coordinating the implementation of country programmes, refrigerant management plans, terminal phase out management plan , HCFCs management plan, institutional strengthening and other key projects.
In December 2011, UNEP, in collaboration with the World Customs Organization, created an e-learning module for Customs officers to assist in fulfilling their role in phasing out ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol. The ODS e-learning modules were made available online at the WCO e-learning platform; available in English, French, Russian and Spanish. A printable completion certificate is provided to successful 'users' at the end of the course.
All African countries are in compliance with Montreal Protocol. Some eliminated CFC use well ahead of the deadline, which shows political will and implementation capability.
There has been a strong commitment of the CAP team for training Customs officers in order to control illegal importation/exportation of refrigerants by demonstrating the use of refrigerant identifiers to check the quality of refrigerants that are being imported and control the quality of refrigerants being imported or exported.
Support has been provided by UNEP through the regional CAP for the enhancement of national competencies. As a result of networking, training for major stakeholders and technical advices, most countries are now confident in facing the remaining challenges for the coming years in securing total phase-out of main substances with limited funding for non-investment activities using national expertise. Indeed many NOUs have taken in assessing their country's status and identifying their future need.
Through the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) in Africa there has been enhanced public awareness and ozone layer depletion has continued to receive in-depth interest at international and national policy level.
South-South cooperation has also increased within the region. Many Ozone Officers are now being used as resource person/consultants by Implementing Agencies to assist neighboring countries with preparations and implementation of projects for phase-out.
The Africa French-speaking network will focus on the following issues: