The call was made while marking the release of a “Unified Guiding Regulation for the Control of Substances that Deplete Ozone Layer in the GCC Countries.
“The unified GCC guidelines have been issued as per international regulations for protection of ozone layer, the earth’s protective shield, within the framework of the Vienna Convention,” said the GCC Secretariat here yesterday.
The GCC has also renewed its call to adopt necessary measures to contain the use of ozone depleting substances in accordance with the timeline set forth by the Montreal Protocol and its subsequent amendments.
The new guidelines called for the imposing of penalties on business entities, which import or deal with equipment using ozone-harming substances, and the monitoring of halons used in fire extinguishing systems.
The guidelines have also stressed the need to exchange new information and research materials between the Gulf countries, while renewing call to phase out CFCs, harmful gases and chemicals that been contributing to the depletion of ozone layer.
Referring to the new unified guidelines, the GCC Secretariat said, in a statement, that there is a need to intensify efforts on the part of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to contain harmful substances like CFCs.
According to a report, the world production of CFCs would stop in 2010, the timeline set by the international accords. “As Saudi Arabia falls under the developing nation category, there are still a few more years left before all imports of CFCs would be banned under the Montreal Protocol,” said the report.
The Saudi government has already banned any new equipment using CFCs. The problem is with the old systems that are still running on CFCs. The effort is to convince the users that it should not be costly for them to change, and moreover, they would be protecting the environment, said the report. This initiative to monitor and curb illegal trade in harmful substances and chemicals that damage the ozone layer has already started to see positive results in the Gulf states.
Spelling out the salient features of the regulations contained in the guideline, the GCC Secretariat said that the unified guidelines contain 26 articles with a preface. The GCC unified guiding regulations fully comply with the provisions of all major environmental accords including the Montreal Protocol, the London amendment (1990), the Copenhagen amendment (1992), the Montreal amendment (1996), and the Beijing amendment (1999).
The unified regulation, which have been prepared in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for West Asia, have already been approved by the Supreme Council, which is composed of the heads of the six Gulf governments.
The GCC Secretariat said that it is pleased to present the regulation so that the Gulf states may benefit from this guiding regulation and may, in turn, develop their own national regulations and laws for early implementation.