Remarks by Mr. Jeem Lippwe
(Deputy Permanent Representative)
25th Meeting of Parties of the Montreal Protocol
Bangkok, Thailand - 25 October 2013
Check Against Delivery
At the outset, I join other delegations in congratulating you on your election to the presidency of this meeting.
The Federated States of Micronesia is most pleased to take part in this twenty-fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol here in this beautiful city of Bangkok. We thank the Government and people of Thailand for their gracious hospitality and in hosting this important meeting. We also thank the Ozone Secretariat for the excellent meeting arrangements.
Our delegation arrived in Bangkok with high hopes for forward progress in the discussion of our proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs. Although, we would have liked to see these discussions take place more formally, my delegation thinks that we made good progress, especially with respect to sharing questions and concerns of a technical nature and ideas on how to address these.
We are encouraged by the positive tone and sophistication of the exchanges in the discussion group and we hope that these discussions can continue. Many Parties this week have highlighted the impressive record of success that the Montreal Protocol and its Multilateral Fund have when it comes to phasing down ozone depleting substances. These ozone depleting substances are chemicals used in the same sectors and for the same applications as HFCs.
Therefore, it's clear that the Montreal Protocol is the best place to accomplish a phase down of production and consumption of HFCs. We have the capability. We have the tools. We have history on our side.
Micronesia has listened with great interest to the concerns raised by some Parties about the availability of alternatives to HFCs, financial implications of a phase down, and other challenges. As a developing country Micronesia has its own concerns, but we think a formal contact group is the best place to handle these.
Mr. President, throughout 2013, world leaders have declared in various fora that the institutions and expertise of the Montreal Protocol should be used to phase down production and consumption of HFCs. They are looking to these Parties to take action and to produce potential solutions.
But, by demanding that alternatives be available first, we are getting to the point where this is actually inhibiting the development of those alternatives.
Industry, research organizations and others are ready to move forward with their own research and development of alternatives, and will do so when they get the signal that these are needed. Formation of a formal contact group and a decision about a way forward will send a clear signal. If we do this, we are going to see the range of options for alternatives out there expand substantially.
The good news is - there is time for A5 countries-with support from all Parties-to look around and find the best alternatives and to craft solutions to their individual and regional challenges. The bad news is that HFC production and consumption is already on the rise and HFCs are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in a number of countries.
Worse yet, its effects on our climate and those of us who live on the coast lines and in island communities can no longer be ignored. The impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, as we speak, are happening right before our eyes. Villages are being inundated sea-level rise and storm surges.
So, it's NOT too soon for us to start taking concrete steps toward solving the problem of the growth of production and consumption of HFCs. The HFC Management Discussion Group outlined several ways forward that Micronesia supports, including: (1) to organize an extraordinary or extra session, between the Open-Ended Working Group and the MOP to allow more time for discussions to address concerns of Parties, (2) to request TEAP, in the replenishment study, to provide estimates of the costs and environmental benefits of phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, taking into account the circumstances of A5 parties, and (3) to organize a joint UNFCCC/Montreal Protocol workshop to address issues of mutual concern.
While we respect that a number of Parties were not quite ready to formalize our discussion at MOP25, and, if this made them more comfortable and willing to participate, then it was the right course. However, as a reflection of the fruitful discussions we have had this year and all the progress that has been made, let us all return to our next meeting with the intent to engage more formally.
I would be remised if I do not extend the appreciation of my delegation to our outgoing Executive Secretary, Mr. Marco Gonzales, for his many years of excellent and dedicated service to our Organization. We wish him well in his future endeavours.
Last but not least, Mr. President, the Pacific makes up more than one-fifth of the Asia group. The Pacific has come of age at the United Nations and they want to play their full part and assume their rights and responsibilities. It is with such in mind that I would kindly ask the Montreal Protocol Secretariat to start reflecting the name "Group of Asia and Pacific Small Island Developing States", "Asia-Pacific" for short, in all its official documents, including notices of group meetings, as is widely done at the U.N. headquarters in New York and at other U.N. fora.
I thank you Mr. President.