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 Convening of the 85th and the postponed 86th meetings

As a result of the evolution of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from the time it was declared a pandemic, the Executive Committee was unable to hold its 85th and 86th meetings as it had previously decided. However, cognizant of the importance of maintaining the operation of the Multilateral Fund, its members adopted a “dynamic” contingency plan, that was adjusted on several occasions, as required. The Executive Committee agreed that the extraordinary procedures that were put in place for conducting the 85th and 86th meetings were due to the exceptional circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and applied as a one-off measure only, without setting a precedent for the future operation of the Executive Committee.

Noting the prevailing constraints in holding in-person meetings due to the pandemic, in early August 2020 the Executive Committee adjusted its contingency plan to hold the deferred 85th meeting and the 86th meeting back-to-back in Montreal, from November 2020 to 8 to 12 March 2021. However, in considering the major challenges that all countries are facing and the travel and other logistical constraints, the proposed in-person meeting in early March 2021 will not be held.

The Executive Committee is currently considering the most viable option to continue its deliberations of the items of the agenda of the 86th meeting that were to be discussed in March 2021, with the aim of continue providing assistance and support to Article 5 parties in complying with their obligations under the Montreal Protocol. The Secretariat will communicate the procedure for convening the postponed 86th meeting once it has been agreed by the Executive Committee. 

Notwithstanding that the Executive Committee was unable to hold in-person meetings during 2020, it considered and approved funding for the majority of the projects and activities and several meeting documents submitted to the 85th and 86th meetings (listed under the “Meeting Documents” page of the Secretariat website).

The Secretariat will continue doing its utmost to reduce to a minimum the impact on the operation of the Multilateral Fund in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Multilateral Fund’s post-COVID-19 recovery response

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on people’s health and economic security around the world. The economic impact of lockdowns has left many developing countries vulnerable to further financial decline. Many of those countries are beneficiaries of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (referred to as Article 5 countries). Their continued efforts to restore the ozone layer, mitigate climate change and protect the environment are at risk.

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented adverse impact on the manufacturing and trade of a range of consumable products because of supply constraints and a fall in demand. Cooling applications are one example. Converting cooling applications to ozone- and climate- friendly technologies is a cornerstone of the work of the Multilateral Fund, which is expected to be temporarily undermined by the pandemic. Recovery will be slow, and it will take time before output and manufacturing can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels.

The Multilateral Fund recognizes the urgency of this moment and the role it can play in post-COVID-19 recovery measures to support the environmental protection efforts of Article 5 countries and to contribute to the economic sectors that rely on the substances needed for cooling applications like refrigeration and air-conditioning that are essential for human health and welfare.

In this context, the Multilateral Fund’s response involves immediate action to reinforce its role of providing financial and technical assistance to Article 5 countries to sustain the implementation of their phase-out activities under the Montreal Protocol and to contribute to economic recovery post-COVID-19. The Executive Committee has given a high priority to the continued operations of the Fund by establishing an effective intersessional approval process that has provided over US $35 million. The funds are being used for continued support to the national ozone units in implementing phase-out activities at the country level; for continued conversion of manufacturing lines, including refrigeration and air-conditioning manufacturing lines to low-to-zero global-warming-potential alternative technologies not relying on controlled substances; and for technical assistance to technicians so that they can apply better servicing practices and sustain their livelihood despite the downturn in the economy. This funding is expected to provide economic stimulus that will allow these small enterprises to remain in operation.

Much-needed international cooperation has continuously been provided through the Multilateral Fund to governments of Article 5 countries to support them in establishing policies that will support their recovery efforts, especially for sectors in which people’s livelihoods are directly affected by the pandemic. The bilateral and implementing agencies of the Fund continue to identify near-term priorities and approaches for capacity-building, information exchange and implementing training projects in these countries despite the challenges of travel restrictions. Their efforts have resulted in innovative virtual on-line solutions ensuring that countries continue to be assisted during this time.

The Multilateral Fund will continue its work to heal and restore the ozone layer, which is protecting the planet from the side effects of excessive ultraviolet radiation, despite the challenges of the new reality created by the pandemic.

 Tribute to Professor Paul J. Crutzen

Paul J. Crutzen passed away on 28 January 2021 at the age of 87.

Along with Dr. Mario Molina and Dr. Sherwood Rowland, Dr. Paul J. Crutzen shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for demonstrating the grave risk of chlorofluorocarbons to the depletion of the ozone layer. Dr. Crutzen’s scientific work, as an atmospheric chemist, focused on the impact of humans on the atmosphere, climate and Earth system. In 1970, Dr. Crutzen demonstrated the effects of atmospheric nitrogen oxides on ozone levels in the stratosphere. This discovery marked a fundamental breakthrough in understanding the chemistry of the ozone layer and inspired the publication in 1974 by Dr. Molina and Dr. Rowland of an article that identified a threat to the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons, resulting in the signing of an international treaty, Montreal Protocol, in 1987, which is also the first and only treaty ever to have been ratified by every nation on Earth.

Dr. Crutzen’s understanding that anthropogenic activities could seriously effect natural processes, became a hallmark of his future career. Dr. Crutzen also popularized the term Anthropocene to define the current geological era in which human activity is influencing the planet. His work continued to address issues relating to the extent and severity of the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change and the importance of timely recognition by society of these issues.

The Multilateral Fund expresses its deepest condolences to Dr. Crutzen’s family, recognizing Dr. Crutzen’s singular contributions to the Montreal Protocol, to the wellbeing of current and future generations, and to all living creatures. The Fund Secretariat reiterates that it will continue to do its utmost to assist all Article 5 countries to meet their commitments on all controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol.

 Welcome to the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol

The Fund is dedicated to reversing the deterioration of the Earth's ozone layer. It was established by a decision of the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (London, June 1990) and began its operation in 1991. The main objective of the Fund is to assist developing country parties to the Montreal Protocol whose annual level of consumption of the ozone depleting substances (ODS) chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons is less than 0.3 kilograms per capita to comply with the control measures of the Protocol. Currently, 147 of the 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol meet these criteria. They are referred to as Article 5 countries.

The Multilateral Fund is managed by an Executive Committee with equal membership from developed and developing countries. Since the inception of the Fund, the Executive Committee has held 84 meetings. The Fund Secretariat, located in Montreal, assists the Executive Committee in its tasks. Projects and activities supported by the Fund are implemented by four international implementing agencies.

As at December 2019, the contributions received by the Multilateral Fund from developed countries, or non-Article 5 countries, totalled over US$ 4.07 billion. The Fund has also received additional voluntary contributions amounting to US $25.5 million from a group of donor countries to finance fast-start activities for the implementation of the HFC phase-down.

To facilitate phase-out by Article 5 countries, the Executive Committee has approved 144 country programmes, 144 HCFC phase-out management plans and has funded the establishment and the operating costs of ozone offices in 145 Article 5 countries.

 

 Membership of the Executive Committee in 2021

 Developing countries (Article 5)

- Armenia
- Bahrain
- China
- Djibouti
- Paraguay
- Suriname
- Zimbabwe

Developed countries (non-Article 5)

- Australia
- Belgium
- Czechia
- Japan
- Switzerland
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland  
- United States of America

Chair and Vice-Chair

Mr. Alain Wilmart (Belgium) serves as Chair of the Executive Committee for one year beginning 1 January 2021. Mr.Hassan Mubarak (Bahrain) serves as Vice-Chair.

 

 Meetings of the Executive Committee in 2021

 Montreal Protocol meetings in 2021

See the Ozone Secretariat website for further details.
 
 

 Country programme data reporting

A web-based data entry system based on the country programme format for use by national ozone units is available at: www.multilateralfund.org/cpnew. If it is not possible to use the web-based form, country programme data should be submitted using the data reporting forms in Microsoft Excel format for the appropriate year, which can be downloaded from the Countries section of this website.

 News and announcements

  Guides for the preparation of project proposals 2/28/2020  
  Executive Committee Primer 2020 2/28/2020  
  Post-meeting summary of the 84th meeting of the Executive Committee 2/14/2020  
  Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Criteria of the Multilateral Fund (December 2019) 2/5/2020  
  Adjusted consolidated business plan of the Multilateral Fund 2020-2022 1/28/2020  
  Factsheets and final reports for demonstration projects on low-global-warming-potential alternatives to HCFC technologies 1/27/2020  
  Report of the eighty-fourth meeting of the Executive Committee 12/26/2019