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Customs Officers receives training in the use of refrigerant identifiers

Thursday October 24th, 2019, St. George’s Grenada:  The National Ozone Unit (NOU) in collaboration with the Grenada Customs and Excise Division has organized a Consultation for importers of refrigerants, customs brokers, trade officials and the Inland Revenue Division (IRD), to discuss a revision to the World Customs Organization (WCO), Harmonized System (HS) codes for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

According to National Ozone Officer, Mr. Leslie Smith, this level of consultation is necessary and timely since the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and its entry into force on January 1st, 2019 requires Grenada to report on consumption of each HFC individually. However, data collection and the implementation of an important and export licensing system  would present a challenge, as the most recent HS Nomenclature 2017 Edition,  does not include individual codes  for HFCs. The next HS edition which will include HS codes for the most commonly traded HFCs and mixtures, will only enter into force in 2022.

Grenada and other early ratifiers of the Kigali Amendment are therefore encouraged to take early innovative and proactive measures at the national level to address this situation. The WCO recommends that countries may insert relevant new additional subheadings in their statistical nomenclature. Countries are therefore recommended to expeditiously insert additional sub-divisions for the HFCs and HFC containing blends to facilitate the collection and comparison of data on the international movement of HFCs and HFC blends controlled under the Montreal Protocol

The consultation would examine this issue thoroughly. During the consultation, the National Ozone Unit will inform the participants on the implications that this could have for Grenada in meeting its reporting requirements under the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol and future import control measures to be implemented for the importation of HFC refrigerants and their blends. The Customs & Excise Division would also have an opportunity to present for the first time, proposed subheadings, as well as, new breakout codes to be established for the classification of HFCs and their blends.

The consultation is planned for Thursday October 31st, at the National Cricket Stadium from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

The recovery of the ozone layer over Antarctica cannot be taken for granted
and requires constant vigilance. That’s the message from Dr Jonathan Shanklin, one of the scientists who first documented the annual thinning of the protective gas in the 1980s.

This year’s “hole” in the stratosphere high above the White Continent is the
smallest in three decades. It’s welcome, says Dr Shanklin, but we should really only view it as an anomaly. The better than expected levels of ozone have been attributed to a sudden warming at high altitudes, which can occasionally happen. This has worked to stymie the chemical reactions that usually destroy ozone 15-30km above the planet. “To see whether international treaties are working or not, you need to look at the long term,” Dr Shanklin told BBC News.

“A quick glance this year might lead you to think we’ve fixed the ozone hole. We haven’t. And although things are improving, there are still some countries out there who are manufacturing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the chemicals that have been responsible for the problem. We cannot be complacent.” Dr Shanklin, along with Joe Farman and Brian Gardiner, first alerted the world in 1985 that a deep thinning was occurring in the ozone layer above Antarctica each spring.

Ozone filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. The team’s discovery, confirming the theoretical predictions of others, led to the Montreal Protocol. This international treaty phased out most of the chlorine- and bromine containing chemicals involved in ozone depletion. At the time, these substances were being used widely as refrigerants, cleaning agents, and as the propellants in aerosol cans.

Source: OzoNews, Volume XIX, 15 October 2019 issue.

Thursday October 24th, 2019, St. George’s, Grenada. The National Ozone Unit in collaboration with the local GIZ office, will host a Strategic Planning Workshop for a Regional Consortium to address several  common issues facing the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry in the Caribbean.

The two-day workshop is planned for Tuesday October 29th to Wednesday October 30th, at the TA MArryshow Community College (TAMCC). This workshop is part of the Caribbean Cooling Initiative (C-COOL) and is organised by UN Environment, United 4 Efficiency (U4E).  The workshop would be conducted for representatives of training institutions and/or a senior Refrigeration and Air conditioning (RAC) industry association personnel from each of the five partner countries, (the Bahamas, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia) and Grenada.

Among the many expected outcomes of the workshop are:

  • To identify a pathway toward establishing a common HVAC-R training curriculum throughout the region
  • To consider opportunities for encouraging new students to enter the field
  • To explore how to make HVAC-R a licensed profession
  • To discuss ways to establish a consortium of HVAC-R technician training institutes that fosters a regular exchange of best practices and lessons learned while minimizing duplication of effort
  • To share information on lessons learned from each participating country
  • To identify common challenges and barriers to the uptake of low GWP alternatives and discuss strategic activities to overcome them.

According to the organizers, the workshop should yield a range of findings, including those that can be put into action by the participants in the near-term, and others that may be aspirational for the future and may require additional outside funding and support.

Grenada has been chosen as the venue because of the country’s advanced development and application of alternative climate friendly solutions in the RAC industry and the establishment of a regional training center for natural refrigerants at TAMCC. This center was established to train and develop the capacity of HVAC technicians in the Caribbean region and to collaborate on capacity building and information sharing.

St. George’s, Grenada, Tuesday October 8th, 2019: As Grenada prepares for the new refrigerant reality, the National Ozone Unit (NOU) continues to engage all stakeholders to renew their commitment and to strengthen the cooperation in the global fight to rid the planet of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and fluorinated gases (F-gases) with high global warming potential, used in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector.

A major stakeholder of the NOU is the Customs and Excise Division in the Ministry of Finance. As part of the co-operation between Customs and the NOU, Customs  Officers assist in ozone layer protection with monitoring and control of trade in refrigerants, data collection, public awareness and education, implementation of licensing and quota system, examination and testing of refrigerants at the various ports of entry, among other duties. National Ozone Officer, Mr. Leslie Smith, continues to lament, that the Grenada Customs and Excise Department plays a major role in assisting Grenada in successfully meeting and sustaining its obligations under the Montreal Protocol.

At the recently concluded Joint Thematic Network Meeting for Ozone Officers and Customs Officers held in Suriname, from October 6th- 7th, 2019, a number of important issues relating to customs roles in the successful implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol were discussed.

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Mr. Rene Parkes, Grenada Customs

Grenada was represented at the meeting by Systems Administrator (for he ASYCUDA System), Mr. Rene Parkes. Mr. Parkes works very closely with the National Ozone Unit and has been one of the NOU certified Montreal Protocol trainers for customs officers since 2005. Mr. Parkes was actively engaged in the meeting and delivered several presentations. He informed the meeting of the various activities undertaken by the local customs division in support of the obligations of the NOU under the Montreal Protocol, such as, Customs roles in Risk Management, Monitoring, Reporting, Verification and Enforcement systems and the implementation of the e-licensing systems for importation of refrigerants in Grenada.  Grenada is one of few countries in the region tat has an e-licensing system in place for importation of refrigerants. Ozone Layer Protection is one of the integral training components in the Customs training manual for junior officers. 

The Grenada Customs Division is also assisting the NOU in the establishment of break out codes for the classification of HFCs to aid in the country’s data reporting requirements under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for the phase-down of HFCs.

A stakeholder consultation involving importers of refrigerants, customs brokers, trade officials and the Inland Revenue Department has been scheduled for October 29th, 2019 to present and discuss the proposed break-out codes to be established for classifying HFCs for customs declaration.

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Mr. Parkes in Working Group Session

 

Monday October 7th, 2019: The National Ozone Unit, Grenada, as part of its co-operation with the GIZ Proklima  and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is the beneficiary of overseas training for local refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC)  technicians.  This initiative is undertaken through the capacity development component of “A Sustainable and Climate-friendly, Phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances  (SPODS)” project that is funded by the Europeans Commission.

Two (2) RAC technicians left the island on Saturday October 5th, 2019 to attend the GIZ Proklima, Cool Training in Germany. The Cool Training is an international training series for RAC technicians that focuses on the safe application of Natural Refrigerant technologies. The two RAC technicians participating in the training are Mr. Glenn Forsyth, maintenance manger at the Maurice Bishop International Airport and Mr. Nicol Benjamin, supervisor at the Appliance Department at Jonas Browne and Hubbard’s (G’da) Limited. Mr. Forsyth is also the an executive member of the Grenada Refrigeration Air-conditioning and Ventilating Association (GRAVA). Both technicians have over 20 years experience each, in the RAC sector in Grenada. This brings to eleven (11) the number of Grenadian technicians who  attended the Cool Training in Germany, since 2016.

The objective of the Cool Training is to provide comprehensive knowledge and to develop the capacity of RAC technicians in the operation  and maintenance of cooling technologies using natural refrigerants. The training focuses on the safe application of propane (R290), Carbon dioxide (R744) in commercial refrigeration and an introduction to ammonia (R717) in refrigeration systems. It also heavily emphasizes hands-on practical sessions which makes up 70% of the training. Some of the areas that is included in the Cool Training include:

  • safety and environmental requirements
  • recovery of gases and replacement using R290 refrigerants
  • installation procedures for natural refrigerants
  • Brazing, pipe connection and joining
  • Leak detection and repair

The training also includes field tours to innovative German enterprises, such as natural refrigerant producers, RAC component manufacturers and refrigerant plants.

The National Ozone Unit has taken as a policy decision to leap-frog the high global warming potential (GWP) into ultra low GWP alternatives such as natural refrigerants. This decision is in line with Grenada’s obligations as a signatory to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for the phase-down of HFCs. The beneficiaries are expected to share the knowledge with other local technicians on their return to Grenada.

 

October 2, 2019, St. George’s, Grenada: The key stakeholders in the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector in Grenada  participated in a Stakeholder Consultation at the Grenada Bureau of Standards on Wednesday October 2nd, 2019, to discuss gaps identified in the sector and to identify strategic goals and activities to overcome these gaps. This initiative is part of “A Sustainable and Climate-friendly, Phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances” (SPODS) project that  is undertaken by the National Ozone Unit (NOU) in the Energy Division of the Ministry of Public Utilities and Energy.

Stakeholder Consultation

Participants in Working Groups

Participants at the consultation represented a broad cross section of the RAC stakeholders in Grenada, including, importers, technicians, Customs divisions, the Grenada Bureau of Standards, Academia and the Grenada Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Ventilating Association (GRAVA).

During the consultation, remarks were delivered by the National Ozone Officer, Mr. Leslie Smith, updating the stakeholders on the latest developments related to the Montreal Protocol and Grenada’s new obligations under the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol.  Project consultant, Dr. John Telesford also presented the key findings of a recent survey conducted and highlighted the current refrigerant consumption trends. Three working groups were set up to discuss the findings of the survey, particularly focusing on the key gaps identified. A number of strategic goals and activities to overcome these gaps were discussed in the working groups. Among the broad areas examined by the working groups were:

  • Refrigerants and Technology transfer;
  • Market Considerations
  • Capacity building, training and equipment upgrade
  • Public Awareness and education
  • Policy, legal and regulatory framework
  • Codes and Standards

Each working group presented brief reports on the outcome of their work.  Several activities were proposed including: the development of fiscal incentive schemes to promote the uptake of low GWP alternatives, import restriction of equipment reliant on ozone depleting and high GWP refrigerants, licensing of technicians, review of training curriculum for training institutions, promulgation of RAC legislation, development of a communication strategy and the provision of equipment and training to meet the emerging technologies requirement. The proposals presented by the working groups will be collated and included in the final report to the NOU, by the consultant.

 

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