The ongoing Network Meeting of Ozone Officers in Port Vila presents an opportunity for Vanuatu to share its progress in phasing down hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in compliance with the Montreal Protocol, which aims to protect the ozone layer.
HCFCs are harmful gases commonly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment worldwide. Since joining the international treaty in 1994, Vanuatu has been obligated to regulate the consumption of these Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives to safeguard human health and the environment.
Director of Vanuatu’s Department of Environment, Touasi Tiwok, highlighted in her opening address that Vanuatu has stopped importing HCFC-22 since last year and is replacing old equipment with HFCs, which are less polluting. Additionally, large importing companies are complying with this requirement under legislation.
Vanuatu has also been training technicians annually to support the ODS phase-out. The Pacific Vocational Training Center offers Certificate IV for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) to assist companies with technician training and compliance with the Ozone Layer Protection Act.
Montreal Protocol Programme Management Officer, Pipat Poopeerasupong, expressed gratitude for co-hosting the meeting with Vanuatu’s Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, AREMA, and Australia Industry. The network’s 13 countries that ratified the Kigali Amendment must freeze HFC consumption from January 1, 2024.
Senior Programme Management Officer from the Multilateral Fund Secretariat, Ceclilia Mercado, revealed that 97% of all HCFCs have been phased out in the region. She encouraged creative thinking in developing robust national and regional strategies for reducing HFCs and complying with the Kigali Amendment.
Participation in Montreal Protocol meetings is crucial for National Ozone Units to stay updated on technology and policy developments relevant to implementation.