Cook Islands joined other Pacific Islands colleagues to attend the regional network meeting of national ozone officers under the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances, in Samoa last month.
The Protocol was designed to protect the ozone layer by controlling ozone depleting substances and is now also controlling substances that contribute to climate change with high global warming potential. These regional network meetings are crucial for Pacific Island Countries (PIC) to share needs, challenges and success stories of national implementation of Montreal Protocol activities and compliance to the Protocol.
This meeting had a special focus on the crucial role customs plays in keeping illegal ozone depleting substances (ODS) out of PIC countries. Customs officers and national ozone officers from each PIC shared some common challenges in terms of customs control and data sharing, as well as ways to progress forward to maintain compliance under the Montreal Protocol. NES appreciates the border control by customs to regulate ODS imports and protect our ozone layer.
The Cook Islands national ozone unit, along with our PIC counterparts, will conduct a national data survey to get a clear picture of the quantity and utilization of hydrofluorocarbons (controlled substance) currently within the country. The data collected is intended to inform the development of a more effective national energy efficiency policy, cooling strategy and Protocol implementation plan.