Addressing approximation of Georgian law on F-gases and ODS to the EU law under the Association Agreement of Georgia (Clima East expert facility)

The Final workshop of the Clima East Expert Facility Assignment (CEEF2015-056-GE) ‘Approximation of Georgian law on F-gases and ODS to the EU law under the Association Agreement of Georgia’ took place in Tbilisi on 3rd February and was attended by stakeholders concerned with the implementation of relevant provisions into Georgian law.

The workshop started with a short presentation on the Clima East Expert Facility and projects delivered through the Expert Facility in Clima East Partner countries during project’s lifetime. This was delivered by Dr Marzena Chodor, Clima East Key Expert who supervised the CEEF2015-056-GE project.

This presentation was followed by a detailed introduction to the CEEF2015-056-GE project, focusing on background information and a description of the national circumstances of Georgia by Mr. Irakli Samkharadze, the local expert who participated in the project. Mr. Samkharadze pointed out that Georgia did not have any special, one single legislative act on climate change and instead, a number of sectoral laws and regulatory measures dealt with mitigation and adaptation policy issues. He also mentioned that Georgia was also a signatory to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer since 1996. As an Article 5 country Georgia has had its obligation to phase-out ozone depleting substances, reducing its HCFC consumption by 2020 by 35%. Mr. Samkhradze recalled his role in the project, which was to support the expert team with regard to information gathering and an analysis of the existing legislation and regulations, and contribute to expert team work on proposals for amendments to the existing body of legislation and/or proposals of new legal and regulatory measures for implementing the provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer and Regulation (EC) No 842/2006on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases as defined in the Association Agreement.

The project was to provide also recommendations on institutional set-up for the implementation and oversight of the aforementioned legal provisions, including the setting up and operation of the designated competent authorities in charge of both regulations. A number of meetings with relevant stakeholders were organized and interviews conducted in the initial phase of the project. This allowed the team to form the views how best to approach the task of the approximation envisaged in the Association Agreement.

This presentation was followed by a detailed presentation on the findings and recommendations of the project on the F-gases which was delivered by Mrs. Barbara Gschrey, one of the International Experts responsible. Mrs. Gschrey in her presentation outlined one by one her recommendations on how to implement the relevant articles or the EU F-gases regulation, followed by the annexes. All the annexes have to be transposed, except for Annexes V, VI (relevant for phase down) and VIII (which is not relevant for Georgia).

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Mr. Irakli Samkharadze. The questions referred, among others, to the approximate cost of setting up the relevant structure, necessary number of staff, etc. A rough cost estimate was included in the project recommendations but this did not take into account details and future developments.

The participants discussed also the relationship between the 2014 regulation and the 2006 regulation. 2014 regulation was taken as a basis for the proposed approximation by the expert team, rather than the 2006 regulation mentioned in the Association Agreement and this was explained in the report in detail. In some places the old regulation was not replaced by the new regulation. The experts mentioned the principle of dynamic approximation, which they recommended so that changes could be made to reflect new developments in legislation, in the EU, as well as in the international context.

In the second half of the workshop, Mr. Winfried Schwarz, the 2nd International Expert, presented the outcome of the project on the ODS approximation. Georgia has never produced any ODS but the legal approximation on ODS was seen in the Association Agreement as a provision protecting the country for the future. Annex XIII to the AA has set approximation/transposition timelines. Going through each of the transposed articles, Mr Schwarz explained the significance of their implementation in the Georgian law. Article 6 prohibiting ODS in products can be transposed from 2020 as in the EU law. It was noted that import quotas for products can be hard to manage as a big challenge for customs. Direct transposition of Articles 7, 8, 10, 12 was recommended, whereas other articles would be adjusted. For example, under Art. 14 transfers of rights to import/ produce shall be notified in the Regulation to Commission, whereas in the case of Georgia this will be done to the Competent Authority in Georgia.

The final reports of the assignment are currently being translated into Georgian, and some adjustments to the translated versions will be made to ensure the consistency. It was also agreed that the presentations will be translated and distributed to all the stakeholders in Georgian, as well as in English.

Given a similar project was delivered under Clima East Expert Facility to Moldova Ministry for Environment, an exchange of information with Moldova was suggested in the course of the discussion as useful with regard to sharing information on practical issues such as the approximate costs and how to overcome problems with MRV. The participants mentioned that this could be a follow up workshop, perhaps in the framework of another project, with stakeholder’s involvement and experience shared/lessons learned with other countries.