United Nations
Environment and Human Settlements Division

Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

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PROTOCOL TO THE 1979 CONVENTION ON LONG-RANGE TRANSBOUNDARY AIR POLLUTION CONCERNING THE CONTROL OF EMISSIONS OF VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS OR THEIR TRANSBOUNDARY FLUXES


Preamble
Article 1 DEFINITIONS
Article 2 BASIC OBLIGATIONS
Article 3 FURTHER MEASURES
Article 4 EXCHANGE OF TECHNOLOGY
Article 5 RESEARCH AND MONITORING TO BE UNDERTAKEN
Article 6 REVIEW PROCESS
Article 7 NATIONAL PROGRAMMES, POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
Article 8 INFORMATION EXCHANGE AND ANNUAL REPORTING
Article 9 CALCULATIONS
Article 10 ANNEXES
Article 11 AMENDMENTS TO THE PROTOCOL
Article 12 SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
Article 13 SIGNATURE
Article 14 RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL AND ACCESSION
Article 15 DEPOSITARY
Article 16 ENTRY INTO FORCE
Article 17 WITHDRAWAL
Article 18 AUTHENTIC TEXTS
Annexes
Designated tropospheric ozone management areas (TOMAs)
Control measures for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from stationary sources
Control measures for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from on-road motor vehicles
Classification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) based on their photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP)

The Parties,

Determined to implement the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution,

Concerned that present emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the resulting secondary photochemical oxidant products are causing damage, in exposed parts of Europe and North America, to natural resources of vital environmental and economic importance and, under certain exposure conditions, have harmful effects on human health,

Noting that under the Protocol concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes, adopted in Sofia on 31 October 1988, there is already agreement to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen,

Recognizing the contribution of VOCs and nitrogen oxides to the formation of tropospheric ozone,

Recognizing also that VOCs, nitrogen oxides and resulting ozone are transported across international boundaries, affecting air quality in neighbouring States,

Aware that the mechanism of photochemical oxidant creation is such that the reduction of emissions of VOCs is necessary in order to reduce the incidence of photochemical oxidants,

Further aware that methane and carbon monoxide emitted by human activities are present at background levels in the air over the ECE region and contribute to the formation of episodic peak ozone levels; that, in addition, their global-scale oxidation in the presence of nitrogen oxides contributes to the formation of the background levels of tropospheric ozone upon which photochemical episodes are superimposed; and that methane is expected to become the subject of control actions in other forums,

Recalling that the Executive Body for the Convention identified at its sixth session the need to control emissions of VOCs or their transboundary fluxes, as well as to control the incidence of photochemical oxidants, and the need for Parties that had already reduced these emissions to maintain and review their emission standards for VOCs,

Acknowledging the measures already taken by some Parties which have had the effect of reducing their national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides and VOCs,

Noting that some Parties have set air quality standards and/or objectives for tropospheric ozone and that standards for tropospheric ozone concentrations have been set by the World Health Organization and other competent bodies,

Determined to take effective action to control and reduce national annual emissions of VOCs or the transboundary fluxes of VOCs and the resulting secondary photochemical oxidant products, in particular by applying appropriate national or international emission standards to new mobile and new stationary sources and retrofitting existing major stationary sources, and also by limiting the content of components in products for industrial and domestic use that have the potential to emit VOCs,

Conscious that volatile organic compounds differ greatly from each other in their reactivity and in their potential to create tropospheric ozone and other photochemical oxidants and that, for any individual compounds, potential may vary from time to time and from place to place depending on meteorological and other factors,

Recognizing that such differences and variations should be taken into consideration if action to control and reduce emissions and transboundary fluxes of VOCs is to be as effective as possible in minimizing the formation of tropospheric ozone and other photochemical oxidants,

Taking into consideration existing scientific and technical data on emissions, atmospheric movements and effects on the environment of VOCs and photochemical oxidants, as well as on control technologies,

Recognizing that scientific and technical knowledge of these matters is developing and that it will be necessary to take such developments into account when reviewing the operation of the present Protocol and deciding on further action,

Noting that the elaboration of an approach based on critical levels is aimed at the establishment of an effect-oriented scientific basis to be taken into account when reviewing the operation of the present Protocol, and at deciding on further internationally agreed measures to limit and reduce emissions of VOCs or the transboundary fluxes of VOCs and photochemical oxidants,

Have agreed as follows:

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Article 1

DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of the present Protocol,

1. "Convention'' means the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, adopted in Geneva on 13 November 1979;

2. "EMEP'' means the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe;

3. "Executive Body'' means the Executive Body for the Convention constituted under article 10, paragraph 1, of the Convention;

4. "Geographical scope of EMEP'' means the area defined in article 1, paragraph 4, of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), adopted in Geneva on 28 September 1984;

5. "Tropospheric ozone management area'' (TOMA) means an area specified in annex I under conditions laid down in article 2, paragraph 2 (b);

6. "Parties'' means, unless the context otherwise requires, the Parties to the present Protocol;

7. "Commission'' means the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe;

8. "Critical levels'' means concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere for a specified exposure time below which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials do not occur according to present knowledge;

9. "Volatile organic compounds'', or "VOCs'', means, unless otherwise specified, all organic compounds of anthropogenic nature, other than methane, that are capable of producing photochemical oxidants by reactions with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight;

10. "Major source category'' means any category of sources which emit air pollutants in the form of VOCs, including the categories described in annexes II and III, and which contribute at least 1 per cent of the total national emissions of VOCs on an annual basis, as measured or calculated in the first calendar year after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, and every fourth year thereafter;

11. "New stationary source'' means any stationary source of which the construction or substantial modification is commenced after the expiry of two years from the date of entry into force of the present Protocol;

12. "New mobile source'' means any on-road motor vehicle which is manufactured after the expiry of two years from the date of entry into force of the present Protocol;

13. "Photochemical ozone creation potential'' (POCP) means the potential of an individual VOC, relative to that of other VOCs, to form ozone by reaction with oxides of nitrogen in the presence of sunlight, as described in annex IV.

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Article 2

BASIC OBLIGATIONS

1. The Parties shall control and reduce their emissions of VOCs in order to reduce their transboundary fluxes and the fluxes of the resulting secondary photochemical oxidant products so as to protect human health and the environment from adverse effects.

2. Each Party shall, in order to meet the requirements of paragraph 1 above, control and reduce its national annual emissions of VOCs or their transboundary fluxes in any one of the following ways to be specified upon signature:

(a) It shall, as soon as possible and as a first step, take effective measures to reduce its national annual emissions of VOCs by at least 30 per cent by the year 1999, using 1988 levels as a basis or any other annual level during the period 1984 to 1990, which it may specify upon signature of or accession to the present Protocol; or

(b) Where its annual emissions contribute to tropospheric ozone concentrations in areas under the jurisdiction of one or more other Parties, and such emissions originate only from areas under its jurisdiction that are specified as TOMAs in annex I, it shall, as soon as possible and as a first step, take effective measures to:

(i) Reduce its annual emissions of VOCs from the areas so specified by at least 30 per cent by the year 1999, using 1988 levels as a basis or any other annual level during the period 1984-1990, which it may specify upon signature of or accession to the present Protocol; and

(ii) Ensure that its total national annual emissions of VOCs by the year 1999 do not exceed the 1988 levels; or

(c) Where its national annual emissions of VOCs were in 1988 lower than 500,000 tonnes and 20 kg/inhabitant and 5 tonnes/km2, it shall, as soon as possible and as a first step, take effective measures to ensure at least that at the latest by the year 1999 its national annual emissions of VOCs do not exceed the 1988 levels.

3.

(a) Furthermore, no later than two years after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, each Party shall:

(i) Apply appropriate national or international emission standards to new stationary sources based on the best available technologies which are economically feasible, taking into consideration annex II;

(ii) Apply national or international measures to products that contain solvents and promote the use of products that are low in or do not contain VOCs, taking into consideration annex II, including the labelling of products specifying their VOC content;

(iii) Apply appropriate national or international emission standards to new mobile sources based on the best available technologies which are economically feasible, taking into consideration annex III; and

(iv) Foster public participation in emission control programmes through public announcements, encouraging the best use of all modes of transportation and promoting traffic management schemes.

(b) Furthermore, no later than five years after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, in those areas in which national or international tropospheric ozone standards are exceeded or where transboundary fluxes originate or are expected to originate, each Party shall:

(i) Apply the best available technologies that are economically feasible to existing stationary sources in major source categories, taking into consideration annex II;

(ii) Apply techniques to reduce VOC emissions from petrol distribution and motor vehicle refuelling operations, and to reduce volatility of petrol, taking into consideration annexes II and III.

4. In carrying out their obligations under this article, Parties are invited to give highest priority to reduction and control of emissions of substances with the greatest POCP, taking into consideration the information contained in annex IV.

5. In implementing the present Protocol, and in particular any product substitution measures, Parties shall take appropriate steps to ensure that toxic and carcinogenic VOCs, and those that harm the stratospheric ozone layer, are not substituted for other VOCs.

6. The Parties shall, as a second step, commence negotiations, no later than six months after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, on further steps to reduce national annual emissions of volatile organic compounds or transboundary fluxes of such emissions and their resulting secondary photochemical oxidant products, taking into account the best available scientific and technological developments, scientifically determined critical levels and internationally accepted target levels, the role of nitrogen oxides in the formation of photochemical oxidants and other elements resulting from the work programme undertaken under article 5.

7. To this end, the Parties shall cooperate in order to establish:

(a) More detailed information on the individual VOCs and their POCP values;

(b) Critical levels for photochemical oxidants;

(c) Reductions in national annual emissions or transboundary fluxes of VOCs and their resulting secondary photochemical oxidant products, especially as required to achieve agreed objectives based on critical levels;

(d) Control strategies, such as economic instruments, to obtain overall cost-effectiveness to achieve agreed objectives;

(e) Measures and a timetable commencing no later than 1 January 2000 for achieving such reductions.

8. In the course of these negotiations, the Parties shall consider whether it would be appropriate for the purposes specified in paragraph 1 to supplement such further steps with measures to reduce methane.

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Article 3

FURTHER MEASURES

1. Measures required by the present Protocol shall not relieve Parties from their other obligations to take measures to reduce total gaseous emissions that may contribute significantly to climate change, to the formation of tropospheric background ozone or to the depletion of stratospheric ozone, or that are toxic or carcinogenic.

2. Parties may take more stringent measures than those required by the present Protocol.

3. The Parties shall establish a mechanism for monitoring compliance with the present Protocol. As a first step based on information provided pursuant to article 8 or other information, any Party which has reason to believe that another Party is acting or has acted in a manner inconsistent with its obligations under this Protocol may inform the Executive Body to that effect and, simultaneously, the Parties concerned. At the request of any Party, the matter may be taken up at the next meeting of the Executive Body.

Article 4

EXCHANGE OF TECHNOLOGY

1. The Parties shall, consistent with their national laws, regulations and practices, facilitate the exchange of technology to reduce emissions of VOCs, particularly through the promotion of:

(a) The commercial exchange of available technology;

(b) Direct industrial contacts and cooperation, including joint ventures;

(c) The exchange of information and experience;

(d) The provision of technical assistance.

2. In promoting the activities specified in paragraph 1 of this article, the Parties shall create favourable conditions by facilitating contacts and cooperation among appropriate organizations and individuals in the private and public sectors that are capable of providing technology, design and engineering services, equipment or finance.

3. The Parties shall, no later than six months after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, commence consideration of procedures to create more favourable conditions for the exchange of technology to reduce emissions of VOCs.

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Article 5

RESEARCH AND MONITORING TO BE UNDERTAKEN

The Parties shall give high priority to research and monitoring related to the development and application of methods to achieve national or international tropospheric ozone standards and other goals to protect human health and the environment. The Parties shall, in particular, through national or international research programmes, in the work-plan of the Executive Body and through other cooperative programmes within the framework of the Convention, seek to:

(a) Identify and quantify effects of emissions of VOCs, both anthropogenic and biogenic, and photochemical oxidants on human health, the environment and materials;

(b) Determine the geographical distribution of sensitive areas;

(c) Develop emission and air quality monitoring and model calculations including methodologies for the calculation of emissions, taking into account, as far as possible, the different VOC species, both anthropogenic and biogenic, and their reactivity, to quantify the long-range transport of VOCs, both anthropogenic and biogenic, and related pollutants involved in the formation of photochemical oxidants;

(d) Improve estimates of the performance and costs of technologies for control of emissions of VOCs and record the development of improved and new technologies;

(e) Develop, within the context of the approach based on critical levels, methods to integrate scientific, technical and economic data in order to determine appropriate rational strategies for limiting VOC emissions and obtain overall cost-effectiveness to achieve agreed objectives;

(f) Improve the accuracy of inventories of emissions of VOCs, both anthropogenic and biogenic, and harmonize the methods of their calculation or estimation;

(g) Improve their understanding of the chemical processes involved in the creation of photochemical oxidants;

(h) Identify possible measures to reduce emissions of methane.

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Article 6

REVIEW PROCESS

1. The Parties shall regularly review the present Protocol, taking into account the best available scientific substantiation and technological development.

2. The first review shall take place no later than one year after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol.

Article 7

NATIONAL PROGRAMMES, POLICIES AND STRATEGIES

The Parties shall develop without undue delay national programmes, policies and strategies to implement the obligations under the present Protocol that shall serve as a means of controlling and reducing emissions of VOCs or their transboundary fluxes.

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Article 8

INFORMATION EXCHANGE AND ANNUAL REPORTING

1. The Parties shall exchange information by notifying the Executive Body of the national programmes, policies and strategies that they develop in accordance with article 7, and by reporting to it progress achieved under, and any changes to, those programmes, policies and strategies. In the first year after entry into force of this Protocol, each Party shall report on the level of emissions of VOCs in its territory and any TOMA in its territory, by total and, to the extent feasible, by sector of origin and by individual VOC, according to guidelines to be specified by the Executive Body for 1988 or any other year taken as the base year for article 2.2 and on the basis upon which these levels have been calculated.

2. Furthermore each Party shall report annually:

(a) On the matters specified in paragraph 1 for the previous calendar year, and on any revision which may be necessary to the reports already made for earlier years;

(b) On progress in applying national or international emission standards and the control techniques required under article 2, paragraph 3;

(c) On measures taken to facilitate the exchange of technology.

3. In addition, Parties within the geographical scope of EMEP shall report, at intervals to be specified by the Executive Body, information on VOC emissions by sector of origin, with a spatial resolution, to be specified by the Executive Body, appropriate for purposes of modelling the formation and transport of secondary photochemical oxidant products.

4. Such information shall, as far as possible, be submitted in accordance with a uniform reporting framework.

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Article 9

CALCULATIONS

EMEP shall, utilizing appropriate models and measurements, provide to the annual meetings of the Executive Body relevant information on the long-range transport of ozone in Europe. In areas outside the geographical scope of EMEP, models appropriate to the particular circumstances of Parties to the Convention therein shall be used.

Article 10

ANNEXES

The annexes to the present Protocol shall form an integral part of the Protocol. Annex I is mandatory while annexes II, III and IV are recommendatory.

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Article 11

AMENDMENTS TO THE PROTOCOL

1. Any Party may propose amendments to the present Protocol.

2. Proposed amendments shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Commission, who shall communicate them to all Parties. The Executive Body shall discuss the proposed amendments at its next annual meeting, provided that those proposals have been circulated by the Executive Secretary to the Parties at least 90 days in advance.

3. Amendments to the Protocol, other than amendments to its annexes, shall be adopted by consensus of the Parties present at a meeting of the Executive Body, and shall enter into force for the Parties which have accepted them on the ninetieth day after the date on which two thirds of the Parties have deposited their instruments of acceptance thereof. Amendments shall enter into force for any Party which has accepted them after two thirds of the Parties have deposited their instruments of acceptance of the amendment, on the ninetieth day after the date on which that Party deposited its instrument of acceptance of the amendments.

4. Amendments to the annexes shall be adopted by consensus of the Parties present at a meeting of the Executive Body and shall become effective 30 days after the date on which they have been communicated, in accordance with paragraph 5 of this article.

5. Amendments under paragraphs 3 and 4 of this article shall, as soon as possible after their adoption, be communicated by the Executive Secretary to all Parties.

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Article 12

SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES

If a dispute arises between two or more Parties as to the interpretation or application of the present Protocol, they shall seek a solution by negotiation or by any other method of dispute settlement acceptable to the parties to the dispute.

Article 13

SIGNATURE

1. The present Protocol shall be open for signature at Geneva from 18 November 1991 until 22 November 1991 inclusive, then at the United Nations Headquarters in New York until 22 May 1992, by the States members of the Commission as well as States having consultative status with the Commission, pursuant to paragraph 8 of Economic and Social Council resolution 36 (IV) of 28 March 1947, and by regional economic integration organizations, constituted by sovereign States members of the Commission, which have competence in respect of the negotiation, conclusion and application of international agreements in matters covered by the Protocol, provided that the States and organizations concerned are Parties to the Convention.

2. In matters within their competence, such regional economic integration organizations shall, on their own behalf, exercise the rights and fulfil the responsibilities which the present Protocol attributes to their member States. In such cases, the member States of these organizations shall not be entitled to exercise such rights individually.

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Article 14

RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL AND ACCESSION

1. The present Protocol shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by Signatories.

2. The present Protocol shall be open for accession as from 22 May 1992 by the States and organizations referred to in article 13, paragraph 1.

Article 15

DEPOSITARY

The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who will perform the functions of Depositary.

Article 16

ENTRY INTO FORCE

1. The present Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date on which the sixteenth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

2. For each State and organization referred to in article 13, paragraph 1, which ratifies, accepts or approves the present Protocol or accedes thereto after the deposit of the sixteenth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, the Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit by such Party of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Article 17

WITHDRAWAL

At any time after five years from the date on which the present Protocol has come into force with respect to a Party, that Party may withdraw from it by giving written notification to the Depositary. Any such withdrawal shall take effect on the ninetieth day following the date of its receipt by the Depositary, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of the withdrawal.

Article 18

AUTHENTIC TEXTS

The original of the present Protocol, of which the English, French and Russian texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed the present Protocol.

DONE at Geneva this eighteenth day of November one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one.

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Designated tropospheric ozone management areas (TOMAs)
Control measures for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from stationary sources
Control measures for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from on-road motor vehicles
Classification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) based on their photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP)

Annexes Status


UNECE2000