Donors commit funds to close Russia’s CFC factories

The efforts to protect the ozone layer received a major boost when ten donor countries, meeting in Moscow on October 7, committed US$ 19 million to assist in the closure of the Russian Federation's production facilities for chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and halons by the year 2000.

The funds, the result of a special initiative from The World Bank, will be used to compensate the producers of these ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and will supplement $US 10 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which has been made available to assist Russia in meeting its obligations under the Montreal Protocol.

Congratulating the Russian Federation, The World Bank and GEF for making the closure of CFC production facilities a time- bound and practical proposition, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, said, “This measure will phase-out half of the production capacity for CFCs and Halons in the world. I applaud this initiative and look forward to full implementation of the Montreal Protocol.”

The Russian Federation today produces about 9 percent of the world production of CFCs and consumes about 6.5 percent. More importantly, the production capacity is almost half of the current world capacity. Russia was to have phased out its production and consumption of ODS by the end of 1996. However, its political and economic transition delayed the phase out and Russia sought the help of the international community.

The GEF (administered by UNEP, The World Bank and the UN Development Programme) has sanctioned US$ 60 millions to change the technologies of the consumer industry in Russia to ozone friendly substitutes. The closure of the production sector was considered essential to stop the flow of CFCs to the industrialized countries – the so called “CFC smuggling”.

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