United Nations Environment Programme
The OzonAction Branch in assisting developing countries to comply with their commitments under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, particularly those related to the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The alternatives to HCFCs include ‘ozone and climate friendly alternatives’ such as natural refrigerants - hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide; and lower global warming potential (GWP) HFCs, both saturated HFCs and unsaturated HFCs (HFOs). In many sectors and individual situations adoption of these alternatives is not completely straightforward, since they exhibit a range of specific properties such as flammability, toxicity and high working pressures which can limit their applicability and require special practices or approaches.
‘Standards’ can assist with process of application of these alternative refrigerants particularly in developing countries for enterprises that are not necessarily familiar with them and can be very useful tools to assist countries with the introduction of alternatives to ozone depleting substances and related technologies, especially from the point of view of their safe handling and preventing hazards. A ‘standard’ is a formal document developed by experts to ensure a certain uniform level of products and services. International, regional and national standards can provide an easily accessible mechanism and examples for nationally-applicable requirements which could be adapted/ adopted in countries for alternatives to HCFCs.
It is the responsibility of each country to set up appropriate national legal measures to comply with their commitments under the Montreal Protocol to phase out HCFCs and other ozone depleting substances. Standards can provide the framework and ‘insight’ as to how alternatives can be adopted with minimal disruption. A national consultation process may be required prior to adoption of a standard to ensure the national context is carefully evaluated in reference to existing standards and that the requirements of all relevant stakeholders are taken into consideration.
Historically in most developing countries the national ozone units (NOUs) have not been closely involved with the issue of standards. As alternatives are considered and adopted better engagement with these processes is becoming increasing important and OzonAction is providing assistance to NOUs to increase their understanding of the standardisation process in general and current standards in their particular national context.
Guidance is also being provided in OzonAction network meetings and information materials as to how to establish a dialogue with the relevant national standardisation bodies to ensure that the relevant standards are adopted and that these will be appropriate to the national context and support their efforts to phase-out HCFCs while adopting non-ozone depleting, low- GWP, energy-efficient alternatives.