In the face of overwhelming evidence, Governments across the world have not only acknowledged that climate change is a serious threat to mankind’s very existence, but they have also launched several programmes towards reversing its damaging effects. One of the ways in which world leaders sought to address this worrying environmental issue is by signing onto the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and also the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. The treaty was originally signed in 1987 and substantially amended in 1990 and 1992. The Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete the ozone in the stratosphere are to be phased out
by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform). Scientific theory and evidence suggest that, once emitted to the atmosphere, these compounds could
significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation. Since August 12, 1993, Guyana has been a signatory to the two initiatives.
The country is classified as an Article 5 country under the Protocol. This means that its annual per capita consumption and production of ozone depleting substances is less than 0.3 kg. Since Guyana does not manufacture or export these products, the extent of Guyana’s use is confined generally to the refrigeration and air conditioning sector. Hence, over the years, training and capacity building efforts and resources have been concentrated in this area.
But to ensure that the nation continues to play its part in the fight to protect the ozone layer, the National Ozone Action Unit (NOAU), within the Hydrometeorological Service has been tasked with monitoring the local consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).
With funding from the Multilateral Fund and assistance from United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), Guyana has made significant progress in meeting its Montreal Protocol obligations. Under the National Ozone Action Unit, the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Project and Institutional Strengthening Project (ISP) are currently being executed.
Since its inception, the National Ozone Action Unit has worked closely with technical institutions to ensure that emerging technicians have the skills and tools necessary to ensure that Guyana remains compliant with international obligations.
The continuous training and provision of resources to technicians is a clear signal of Government’s longterm commitment towards environmental protection and unrelenting efforts to combat the impacts of global
warming and climate change.
Some of the major beneficiaries of these training and resources have been the many technical institutions and technicians across Guyana – and without exception, the Government Technical Institutes and GuySuCo Training Centre. It is of the belief that efforts to combat climate change
must take on an integrated approach that incorporates all sectors – not only forestry, but education, industry, agriculture, etc.
The Institutional Strengthening Project (ISP) is an agreement between UNEP and the Ministry of Agriculture – Hydrometeorological Service to lend support to the National Ozone Action Unit in completing tasks and meeting the objectives under the HPMP and Trade Order.
Objectives under the ISP are;
• Monitoring and reporting of HCFC imports in Guyana to the Multilateral Fund
• Executing and reporting activities completed under the Project It is important to meet these objectives in order to achieve the following outputs;
• Strengthening and sustaining the capacity of the NOAU and other stakeholders to effectively monitor imports of ODS in order to maintain compliance with the Montreal Protocol
• Continuous enforcement of ODS regulations and licensing systems to control and monitor imports of ODS
• Effective communication and awareness activities to educate consumers to convert to ozone-friendly products.