Welcome to the latest issue of our newsletter. As the world leaders gathered at the COP28, the importance of climate action was at the forefront. The deliberations gave us a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement. It brings the need for urgency of climate action by all.
With Climate Action as one of its priority areas, UNIDO promotes sustainable industrialization. The Montreal Protocol division works tirelessly in that direction—enabling member states to adopt climate friendly policies.
In this issue, we speak to Rana Ghoneim, Chief of UNIDO’s Energy Systems and Industrial Decarbonization Unit. As the lead of the recently concluded International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum (IVECF), Rana explains that the event offered solutions for a sustainable future, which UNIDO took forward to COP28.
UNIDO assisted Cameroon to get the first ever Kigali Implementation Plan approved by the Multilateral Fund (MLF). Our team has prepared more such plans for various countries and submitted them for approval. In the interview section, we speak with Hyacinth Mboh, National Ozone Officer Cameroon who shares his insights, experiences, challenges and lessons learnt in preparing the Kigali Implementation Plan.
Our feature story explains how by using Propane as a natural refrigerant in a cold chain in Ecuador helped reduce energy consumption. It was one of the three UNIDO projects to win the ASHRAE-UNEP Ozone Action Awards 2023.
Test your knowledge in the quiz section prepared by Amna Saqub and have a look at our notice board. It features our main events—our team was a part of the ‘Solutions Talk’ segment held during the UNIDO 20th General Conference. Ole Nielsen, Chief of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol division explained the UNEP-ASHRAE award-winning project from Brazil that used natural refrigerants. Other reports include Türkiye setting up three Refrigerant Reclamation Centres– the first such centres for HFCs and HCFCs in the country.
Your MPD Team
On the recently concluded International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum (IVECF) and the importance of integrating energy efficiency measures to reduce CO2 emissions.
On the approval of the first-ever Kigali Implementation Plan for Cameroon by the Multilateral Fund.
Writes on the use of natural refrigerants from a UNIDO project in Ecuador. This project helped improve energy efficiency and won ASHRAE-UNEP Innovation Award 2023.
The Vienna Energy Forum has transitioned to the newly formed International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum (IVECF). Congratulations on planning and leading the major successful event. Who were the other partners involved in this event? What were the main outcomes?
The transition happened keeping in mind the changing realities and the newer challenges we face today. UNIDO’s leadership, led by our Director General, Gerd Müller has emphasized the inter-linkages between energy and climate change. Energy cannot be fully detached from climate issues and action. To address the challenges of climate change, there is a greater need to transition towards clean and sustainable energy sources. Owing to this, there is a growing realization that Climate and energy policies are two sides of the same coin and this forum helped tackle both issues together. The IVECF is an attempt to find solutions to today’s energy and climate question under UNIDO’s motto “Progress by Innovation.”
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria, the Austrian Development Agency, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), jointly organized the IVECF.
There were plenaries and sessions along with side events on various themes. Numerous partners are involved in the events. IVECF attracted global opinion leaders and decision makers and enabled the leaders to find solutions. It supported the development of innovative partnerships and viable solutions, especially in the Sustainable Development Goals 7, (Affordable and clean energy), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Investment) and 13 (Climate Action). There are many cross cutting areas—a sustainable industrial development needs not only affordable and clean energy for accelerated development, but it should also address the environmental challenges at the same time. IVECF was planned keeping in mind these important synergies.
What was the focus of the event? What are the outcomes?
The event brought across a wide range of specialists, scientists, policy makers, academics, private sector, donor agencies and many other stakeholders. There were 2,300 participants from 145 countries, and we sought to send a strong signal on the transformation needed across various sectors to align with energy and climate goals.
The event’s goal was on finding solutions to the pressing challenges we face. There was an opportunity to look at where we stand in terms of achievement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The recent mid-term review of the SDGs has highlighted the importance of accelerated action by all to keep up with the objectives. The IVECF focused on five thematic areas:
• Energy systems transformation • Decarbonizing the built environment • Powering agri-food systems • Advancing green industrialization and sustainable energy value chains • Nature-based infrastructure
The event laid a special emphasis on the African continent. It is a continent of promise and great potential. Even though Africa emits some of the lowest levels of CO2, it has a disproportionate impact. The effects of climate change—food security, energy supply, desertification, agriculture, migration and urbanization are felt in many regions of Africa.
This highlight on Africa helps us find solutions to some of the energy and climate challenges facing the continent and enable all stakeholders, especially African policy makers, private sector and others to work towards solutions.
How does energy efficiency fit into the energy agenda? How could this synergy help us to address the climate challenges we face?
Energy efficiency is very much an integral part of the IVECF. Designing energy efficient technologies and introducing them has been an ongoing process. Many countries have put in regulations so that it leads to efficient use of energy, in line with the international treaties like the Paris Agreement. The designing of energy efficient technologies in industries not only saves costs, but it also helps in reducing the CO2 emissions—a vital part in our fight against climate change.
Energy efficient technologies not only are needed in domestic appliances we use in our day to day life, but also in MSMEs and large industries. Adopting energy efficient technology and management practices have the capacity to slash operational costs, boost productivity, and improve energy security. An industry can immediately slash 15 percent of its energy usage by adopting energy efficiency measures.
UNIDO promotes decarbonization of heavy industries, which are carbon intensive—steel and cement are responsible for 7 to 8 percent of the energy-related emissions each—making them an integral part of our focus in our fight against climate change.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculates that with the right energy efficiency policies in place, we can achieve more than 40 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to reach international climate goals using cost-effective technologies, which are already available.
Youth and Women played a major role in this event. How were the special workshops and sessions, aimed to elicit the voice of the youth and women?
There was a great emphasis on hearing the voice of the youth and women. We wanted to encourage the youth to find creative solutions to the challenges we face. There were ‘policy dialogues’ between the youth representatives and the Vienna city youth committee. We had a working group and sought the ‘youth outcomes’ with many open-ended solutions.
As part of the IVECF Solutions Week, we observed the ‘Youth Solution Days’ from 30 October – 1 November and mobilized numerous young women and men to use innovative technologies and drive the energy transition forward by building their skills and competences.
Concerning women, the panels at IVECF were planned, keeping the gender parity in mind, in line with UNIDOs policy. We emphasized on quality as well as quantity. In 2021, the Vienna Energy Forum Virtual Series launched a call to action to empower women to accelerate the clean energy transition.
This call for action led to the creation of the Gender and Energy Compact, a global, multi-stakeholder coalition. The aim of the compact is to catalyze action towards gender equality and women’s empowerment to accelerate a just, inclusive and sustainable energy transition. As of today, 10 champion countries and over 75 partners have committed to enhance gender equality and empower women.
Rana Ghoneim participating in a session at the IVCEF
How does the work of Montreal Protocol fit into the overall focus of the event?
In the area of climate action, the Montreal Protocol has been an example of a successful, global joint collaboration. It has a systematic and detailed regulatory mechanism. It is estimated that a global implementation of the requirements of the Kigali Amendment will lead to a decrease of 0.5 degree C by the end of this century. Adding energy efficiency measures to this can greatly accelerate and even double the impact. The Multilateral Fund (MLF) has listed out the priorities for future direction and energy efficiency is among them. There are many linkages to the cooling sector and providing sustainable industrialization and cooling facilities is among the works of the Montreal Protocol. The IVECF Is aligned with the priorities of UNIDO: sustainable supply chains, climate action and ending hunger. In all these areas, the work of Montreal Protocol has cross linkages and impact—whether developing cold chains using natural and climate friendly refrigerants, phasing out HFCs, decarbonization, promoting clean cooling in domestic as well as industrial sectors–leading to green industrialization.Sending a strong signal of the transformation needed across various sectors to align with energy and climate goals, here are the main messages #IVECForum23 is sending to #COP28:
Cameroon became the first country to get the Kigali Implementation Plans approved by the Executive Committee of the Montreal Protocol in June 2023. When did UNIDO examine the potential of Cameroon as capable of submitting the plan and how did it all began?
The process began during the time we started the exchange of ideas with UNIDO over the last few years. During these exchanges, we came to realize the biggest problems facing the country—challenges in having the right data; having correct policy instruments in place; having an impact on the consumption patterns; without any checks in system; among others. For example, while the import of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) into Cameroon had no restrictions, the Hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFCs) were strictly controlled. There was no quota system for the HFCs. There was an urgent need for the right policies to be in place.
There were issues to be addressed both from the policy side: the regulations, quota system, licencing system and the enforcement mechanism; as well as the consumption side: the enterprises, and the importers, etc.
Can you explain the KIP preparation? How did the national office support the process?
We saw the potential of Cameroon based on the similar things we had done before in the area of climate action. This gave us the needed energy to process the issues in Cameroon—looking at the country’s priorities, overall development goals where both the domestic and commercial sector was involved. A workshop conducted in Douala with all the stakeholders led us to a direction we should pursue. After our later meeting and deliberations with UNIDO officials, we became confident to talk more about the scientific processes and the points to ponder were shortlisted.
Based on the data collected on the consumption patterns, we could estimate where the priorities in our preparation could be. We mapped the consumption of each sector—from domestic, commercial to the firefighting sector. This gave us a clear picture of the consumption patterns in the country and helped us prioritize.
With the active support of the government, we initiated the process and thanks to the specialists’ team that was a part of the National Ozone Unit, the data collection was possible. We presented different scenarios based on the data collected, to the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre who was always supportive and was aware of the situation. Then we looked at each priority area in finer detail–the policy regulation for that sector and implementation, the issues concerning safety, etc.
Gender comprises of an important component of the plan. How do you plan to ensure more representation of women in the sector?
One of the important issues that came up in our priority areas was the inclusion of gender. We needed to look at the long-term goals of the country—to have more representation of women in the sector. We wanted to encourage women’s participation in the planning process. We incorporated gender sensitization activities involving gender trainers. We work with schools and our specialists are involved in curricula development in the area of technical education pertaining the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) sector. We are recruiting women as trainers and encouraging investors to bring women into the field. We are also considering scholarship schemes for girl students in Cameroon to pursue education in the RAC sector, like the Charity Mbapek Scholarship in Nigeria–to build a strong pool of women technicians in the country.
How did you manage the challenge of data availability? Did Cameroon maintain any database(s) that made preparing the KIP easier?
It was quite challenging to clearly demarcate the consumption patterns across various sectors—whether domestic, residential or the industrial.
We had a list of approved importers—who were in most cases, the same actors involved in various sectors. We also had a flexible line and we tied our limit to 28 importers. We had extensive consultations with various stakeholder institutions based on our earlier work. This was very helpful to help us understand the distribution of the baseline values within various sectors. We were also in touch with the experts for the exact requirements for the KIP during the preparation process. All these factors have helped us come out with a final baseline.
Some may express the doubts on the accuracy of the values. However, the process was very transparent and one could examine our data.
What were the steps involved in the preparation of the KIPs—from the conception to the final approval? How did you prioritise the different areas?
The main steps in our KIP reparation process were:
What were the comparative advantages in Cameroon for KIP? What challenges did you face and how did you address them?
The comparative advantages were that Cameroon’s national unit had worked on projects earlier and the team was aware of the challenges and the advantages. Complemented to this was experienced international experts like Bassam Elassaad who brought in their insights and knowledge. The Ministry of Environment was supportive and the numerous training sessions for the technicians helped us to get accurate data. Our plan was also pioneering and visionary that it incorporated the gender aspect. Due emphasis was given to train more female technicians and have considerable representation in the planning and programming aspects. All these were some of the advantages.
The challenges faced were mainly in exact classification of the usage data under each sector. For example, the mobile air-conditioning sector (MAC) the country witnessed 50-80 percent leakages. We focused on the recovery actions so that the MAC sector could plug the leakages as much as possible, to achieve the target. If one looks at the structure of our project, policy enforcement remains a key issue. In the management of refrigerants, there are also national issues like safety, security, energy efficiency and gender–issues we sought to address in our plan.
We also face challenges on how to direct the market towards the gases with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) because they are scarce and expensive. If the global Community can find a solution on how these products could reach and be promoted on the African continent, it can go a great way in attaining compliance.
The issue of refrigerant management in the country is incomplete without mentioning the synergies. We now have to address not only the R-22 gas, but also seven other chemicals. There are numerous blends and we need strong policies and their enforcement mechanism to comply with the requirements. There is also a need for the harmonization of laws. With the new equipment entering the market, there is a need for establishing a Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) through the national standards and quality control agency. This will also lead to the standardization of the labelling systems.
We have prepared plans for various sectors and the stakeholders and the parties involved are ready to support. Since many sectors are involved, we need to face big challenges. The effects will be felt everywhere. Our plan was also ambitious in the sense that we started on an early quota system. Aiming to freeze our consumption levels by 2024-25 gives the indications of the seriousness on our part.
What are the key lessons learned from this process and what are your recommendations for the countries that are now developing their KIP proposals?
Some important lessons learnt from our experience are as follows.
Suggestions to other countries:
We are willing to provide any further inputs and suggestions based on our experiences, to the countries if they need. I wish them the best in their pursuit of sustainable policies and climate actions.More: UNIDO video on Kigali Implementation Plan (KIP) Cameroon:
Transition to natural refrigeration gases: in pursuit of net zero
As there is a growing awareness on the climate challenges the world faces, various means of addressing the challenges are being explored. In the field of refrigeration and air-conditioning, natural refrigerant gases were used in the early days. However, the advent of synthetic refrigerants addressed issues like flammability, corrosion, etc. With the discovery of the disastrous impact on the Ozone layer, synthetic refrigerants like the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) were gradually phased out under the Montreal Protocol Treaty.
The subsequent usage of Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants were found to be contributing to global warming. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol seeks to phase-down the use of HFCs by 85% by 2045. As more countries ratify the Kigali Amendment, it becomes imperative to reduce their HFC consumption and seek environmental friendly alternatives. Propane is one of the natural hydrocarbon refrigerant, which is environment friendly and sought by the air conditioning and refrigeration sector.
One such UNIDO’s project in Ecuador, which improved energy efficiency of a cold storage by replacing the refrigerant system using natural refrigerant, had helped decrease the total equivalent CO2 emissions. This was chosen for the 2023 ASHRAE-UNEP OzonAction Lower-Global Warming Potential (GWP) Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Innovation Awards. Three of UNIDO’s projects, including two other projects in Brazil were among the four projects that won under the Commercial/Industrial Applications category.
Given by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction, the annual award recognizes the innovations in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) sector. The award promotes innovative design, research and practice by recognizing people who have developed or implemented innovative technological concepts and applied them in developing countries to promote lower GWP refrigerants.
The project, launched by UNIDO in 2019 in Cotopaxi Province in Ecuador replaced the existing refrigerant system (HCFC-22) with a propane-based system. The facility is used to store flowers meant for export—prolonging their freshness for a longer period.
Demonstrating the use of natural refrigerants at the UNIDO’s cold chain project site in Ecuador.
Since Propane is a flammable refrigerant, the project team ensured that proper precautions were in place. They helped provide inputs for creating regulations on flammable refrigerants and perform a flammability risk assessment. This was done in line with the refrigeration safety standard (EN-378) and to mitigate risks.
“Owing to this project, there is improved energy efficiency—a reduction in energy consumption by more 45%, resulting in a 41% decrease of Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions,” explained Rodrigo Serpa, Project Manager at UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division. The project was replicated by the producer several times phasing out an average of 32 kg of HCFC-22 per store room.
“As we assist our member states in addressing the climate challenges, UNIDO continues to be on the forefront of climate action—by capacity building, technology transfer and promoting natural refrigerants as alternatives thereby enabling progress by innovation.” Serpa added.
“This project is another example of how we introduced natural refrigerants as a sustainable alternative to fluorinated refrigerants,” said Ole Nielsen, Chief of UNIDOs Montreal Protocol division.
The information presented in this newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views of UNIDO. Links to external websites are included solely to provide additional information and do not imply any official endorsement of the opinions, ideas, data, or products presented.
© 2023 UNIDO Montreal Protocol