Protocol prattles

AN INITIATIVE adopted by Kamal Nath, Union minister of environment and forests, to mobilise developing countries to checkmate the move to modify the 1992 London amendment of the Montreal Protocol on phasing out ozone depleting substances (ODS), labels the deeper objective of developed countries to stake out markets for their substitute technology industries and multinational corporations as a "blatantly partisan attempt".

Mooted at the May 8-12 Nairobi meet, the proposed amendment to Article 5.1 attempts to give developed countries total export monopoly to developing countries which lack choloroflourocarbon (CFC) and hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC) industries.

On the eve of the July 26-28, 1995 meeting at Montreal, Nath wrote 3 sets of letters addressed to developed countries, developing countries and ODS-importing developing countries, criticising the move by rich countries to suit their objectives.

"By restrictively reinterpreting the definition of the words 'basic domestic needs', the rich countries claim that the exports from developing countries have a negative impact on phasing out controlled substances in developing countries," states Kamal Nath, adding that the claim was absurd.

For large and medium sector indus tries, in 1994 India submitted the replacement cost as us $2 billion. This was approved by the Montreal Protocol executive. But the actual flow of funds will depend on the basis of individual projects submitted, as most industries are in the private sector. India had signed the Protocol on September 17, 1992.

Industry sources say that the draft amendment in respect of the supply of controlled substances to meet basic domestic needs of Article 5 countries, would have far reaching adverse implications for them. On his part, Kamal Nath has urged the c-77 countries to issue a joint statement meant as a counter-proposal to the proposed amendment. "Redefining the concept of basic domestic needs is not only unjust, but limits the choice of the developing countries. cFc producing Article 5 countries must be allowed full benefit of the residual consumption of the non-producers," he stated.