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 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.

 The postponing of the 85th meeting

In light of the rapidly evolving outbreak of coronavirus, the Secretariat developed a contingency plan for conducting the 85th and 86th meetings of the Executive Committee (“contingency plan”) and sent it to members of the Executive Committee on 16 March 2020 for their consideration. After taking into consideration the responses received from Executive Committee members on the contingency plan, and further to a consultation with the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee, the Secretariat informed the Executive Committee on the procedure to be followed for the 85th and 86th meetings, inter alia:

(a) Postponing the 85th meeting (originally scheduled for 25 to 29 May 2020) until immediately after the 42nd meeting of the Open‑ended Working Group (OEWG), for a duration of four days, from 19 to 22 July 2020, in Montreal, Canada, on the understanding that the meeting might be further postponed or cancelled in light of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic;
(b) Implementing an intersessional approval process for certain reports and projects including a password-protected forum under the Secretariat’s meeting portal for the 85th meeting to collect comments and decisions from members, on an exceptional basis due to the COVID‑19 pandemic and without setting a precedent, for the 85th meeting;
(c) Including in the report of the 85th meeting relevant information and decisions resulting from the intersssional approval process; and
(d) Proposing in due course a way forward for holding its 85th and 86th meetings, in the event that the 85th meeting cannot be held from 19 to 22 July 2020.

As the International Civil Aviation Organization Conference Center, the venue of the postponed 85th meeting, is closed until at least August 2020, the meeting will not take place. Accordingly, the Secretariat is currently preparing a proposal for holding the 85th and 86th meetings in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee. Once the Committee agrees on a way forward, the Secretariat will communicate it to all meeting participants.

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

 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 2020

 Developing countries (Article 5)

- Bahrain
- Bangladesh
- Chile
- Djibouti
- India
- Rwanda
- Suriname

Developed countries (non-Article 5)

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

Chair and Vice-Chair

Ms. Juliet Kabera (Rwanda) serves as Chair of the Executive Committee for one year beginning 1 January 2020. Mr. Alain Wilmart (Belgium) serves as Vice-Chair.

 

 Meetings of the Executive Committee in 2020 and 2021

The 85th meeting has been postponed until immediately after the 42nd meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), and will be held from 19 to 22 July 2020 (Postponed. New dates to be confirmed).

The 86th meeting will be held from 2 to 6 November 2020.

The 87th meeting will be held from 28 June to 2 July 2021.

The 88th meeting will be held from 15 to 19 November 2021.

All these meetings will be held in Montreal, Canada.

 Montreal Protocol meetings in 2020

Montreal, Canada, 13 - 17 July 2020: 42nd Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 23 - 27 November 2020: Joint 12th Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and 32nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
 
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

  JO:Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, P5 8/7/2020  
  JO:Deputy Chief Officer, D1 6/23/2020  
  JO:Administrative Assistant, G5 6/18/2020  
  JO:Senior Finance and Budget Assistant, G7 6/9/2020  
  JO:Programme Management Officer, P3 6/4/2020  
  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