The Oceania Customs Organization Secretariat (OCO) in conjunction with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) delivered Training Workshops under the auspicious of the Montreal Protocol relating to the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) for Customs officials and key stakeholders during September to December, 2010 for Tuvalu, Federated State of Micronesia and the Republic of Nauru.
The three-day training workshop specifically targeted key stakeholders like Customs, Environment, Quarantine, Health officials and the private sector to learn effective means of controlling and monitoring the legal trade of ODS and further discuss, formulate and implement policies and procedures that is consistent with the requirements of the Montreal Protocol.
The key topics provided and discussed in the workshop were:
- Environmental and human health consequences of ozone layer depletion,
- Relevance of ozone depletion to the roles of Customs Officials
- International response to ozone layer depletion, (iv) national obligation and phase out strategy,
- Identifying of ODS and equipment containing ODS,
- Issues relating to safe storage and handling of ODS,
- Enforcement, penalties and prevention of illegal trade,
- Regulatory framework for the national import/export licensing system,
- Prevention of illegal trade of ODS, and
- The role of customs and other stakeholders in implementing the import/export licensing system.
The training workshop provided detailed information on the requirement of the Montreal Protocol for parties like Tuvalu, FSM and Nauru to comply with and further guide participants in formulating strategies worth to consider for implementation at the national level. This included related provisions and guidance for the formation of a National Ozone Committee (NOU), enforcement, penalties, patterns of smuggling ODS, and other compliance measures needed in combating the illegal trade of ODS in these countries. Realistic scenarios of smuggling and smuggling methods were provided to participants to create awareness, enhance skills and knowledge in conducting trend analysis of smuggling and better prepare themselves of possible smuggling prospect of ODS in their respective countries.
The training workshop adopted an interactive participatory approach that provides the opportunity for participants to openly discuss matters that relates to effective implementation, monitoring and enforcing of the Montreal Protocol. As such, participants were divided into groups and respective representatives were given time to present on current issues and challenges faced in implementing and enforcing the ODS licensing system and make recommendations for consideration of implementing at the national level. These recommendations were agreed by participants and included in this report as the way forward in implementing the Montreal Protocol in their countries.
Given the mandatory requirement under the Montreal Protocol that all parties must have an effective licensing system, participants were urged to give serious considerations in discussing various options and measures for implementation that will enhance their capability in effectively controlling and monitoring ODS trading and importantly in combating the illegal trade of ODS at the border.
The participants were also encouraged to consider an option of adopting an integrated approach by forming a committee that comprises of key officials from customs, environment, quarantine, Health, Police and Justice Officials to begin discussing and formulating effective administrative strategies for implementation at the national level. They were further encouraged that following the formation of National Committee, recommendations of adopting a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be made to effectively implement the provisions of the Montreal Protocol.
The training workshop was funded by UNEP through SPREP as part of the Regional Implementation Strategy whereby customs officials from countries like Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and FSM are required to be trained on specific aspects relating to ODS and for countries to further consolidate their efforts in phasing out CFC and HCFC as required under Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol.