Launch of the global Montreal protocol award for customs and enforcement officers

Launch of the global Montreal protocol award for customs and enforcement officers

UN Environment OzonAction, in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the Ozone Secretariat, is launching the global Montreal Protocol award for customs and enforcement officers.

The award recognizes the crucial role of customs & enforcement officers in implementing trade restrictions and bans for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Both groups of chemicals are widely used as refrigerants and foam blowing agents.

HCFCs contribute to ozone layer depletion and global warming. They will gradually be phased out by 2030 and are already banned in the European Union. HCFC traders require annual import / export quota as well as import / export licenses for HCFC shipments.

HFCs contribute to global warming. They will be controlled and gradually phased down by the parties to the Montreal Protocol once the Kigali Amendment enters into force for them. National legislation might already require import / export licenses for HFC shipments and they are already restricted in the European Union.

The informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) system allows trade partners to confirm the legitimacy of an intended trade prior to issuing import / export licenses. More information on iPIC is available from:

Tolerating illegal or unwanted trade in HCFCs / HFCs would undermine the success of the Montreal Protocol and might lead to non-compliance.


The award aims to provide recognition and encouragement to customs and enforcement officers and their respective organizations for successful prevention of illegal or unwanted trade of HCFCs / HFCs. This also includes equipment or products containing or relying on the use of HCFCs / HFCs.

The award is expected to enhance regional and international cooperation and awareness of the customs and enforcement community. It will facilitate reporting on illegal trade to UN Environment and the Ozone Secretariat, pursuant to paragraph 7 of decision XIV/7 of the parties to the Montreal Protocol and encourage trade partners to consistently apply iPIC prior to issuing trade licenses for HCFCs / HFCs. Thus, it will contribute to enforcing the Montreal Protocol trade provisions and compliance.

Often, seizures are not publicized because of a perception that they reflect negatively on the concerned countries. Providing recognition and visibility might change this perception and encourage the reporting on illegal trade cases and seizures. Publicizing the seizures, court cases and penalties with the names of convicted companies and persons involved can discourage potential smugglers.


Eligible nominees include customs and enforcement officers or their respective organizations who successfully prevented illegal or unwanted trade in HCFCs / HFCs as well as equipment or products containing or relying on the use of HCFCs / HFCs.

Eligible enforcement actions include the detection of an illegal shipment and the subsequent seizure or rejection or a successful iPIC consultation preventing the issuance of export / import licenses for illegal or unwanted shipments.

Enforcement actions are eligible as long as they have not been submitted to any other past or current award schemes.


Completed nomination forms with detailed case descriptions and photos should be received by the UN Environment regional focal points as soon as possible but at the latest by: 31 December 2018.

Detailed contacts of the UN Environment OzonAction regional focal points are available from:

Africa (English-speaking):
Africa (French-speaking):
Europe and Central Asia:
Latin America:
West Asia:
South Asia, South-East Asia Pacific, Pacific Island Countries:

Nominations and case descriptions should preferably be submitted in English but other UN languages will be accepted (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish).
Montreal Protocol focal points are encouraged to coordinate nominations from their respective countries. Self-nominations are welcome.

Verification and outreach

Nominations and case descriptions will be reviewed and verified by an expert panel established by UN Environment.

Verified cases will be compiled into a summary report, publicized on OzonAction’s dedicated award webpage and informed to the Ozone Secretariat. They will be presented at the side event of the Meeting of the Parties and regional network meetings, and widely outreached to the international Montreal Protocol and enforcement community e.g. WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Officers and Environet.

Award winners

All nominated customs and enforcement officers and / or their respective organizations whose cases have been verified will be awarded with certificates and medals of honour. The certificates will be signed by representatives of UN Environment OzonAction, World Customs Organization and the Ozone Secretariat.

The award certificates and medals will be handed over during national or regional award ceremonies depending on regional specificities. Selected winners might be invited to present their cases at the side event of the Meeting of the Parties and regional network meetings subject to fund availability.


Ms. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Head of OzonAction
UN Environment, Economy Division

UN Environment OzonAction:
World Customs Organization:
Ozone Secretariat:

Download normination form in English