Nairobi – Global efforts to protect the ozone layer have reached a major milestone after all of the Amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer received universal ratification by 197 Parties.
The final ratification of the Beijing Amendment, by Mauritania, was received on December 4. The Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol has been in force since 2002. It introduced production controls on the ozone-depleting substance – hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), controls on trade with non-parties to the Protocol, production and consumption controls of another ozone-depleting substance used in fire extinguishers – bromochloromethane – as well as the ban on trade in this substance with non-parties. The other three Amendments – the London Amendment (1990), the Copenhagen Amendment (1992) and the Montreal Amendment (1997) – had already been universally ratified by all the 197 Parties to the Protocol.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “This universal ratification of all the Amendments to the Montreal Protocol is further evidence of the unwavering commitment by the nations of the world to protect the ozone layer, which is on track to recovery by mid-century. In this journey of almost 30 years now, we have succeeded not only through the commitment of all parties but also through the daily choices of all individuals around the world, to phase out more than 98% of ozone-depleting substances.”
“The Montreal Protocol has been and will continue to be a journey of success, a journey of challenge, and a journey of hope. Success because of the Protocol’s achievements; Challenge because of the recognized imperative to maintain the world’s commitment to phasing out ozone-depleting substances; and Hope because by combining international efforts where we come to see the common interest, we can achieve further breakthroughs in protecting the environment and human wellbeing,” he added.
Mr. Steiner noted that the work on ozone protection is one of the most successful examples of international cooperation to tackle a major global environmental threat.
“The Montreal Protocol is testament to what can be achieved through concerted international efforts to achieve a common objective. As we prepare to reach a universal and meaningful legally binding agreement on climate change, the Montreal Protocol should serve as an inspiring reminder to governments the world over that when we work together in earnest, no goal is beyond our reach.”
The Montreal Protocol, which entered into force in 1989, was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the Earth’s fragile ozone layer.
The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol occupy a singular position on the world stage as the first and only global environmental treaties with universal ratification, having been ratified by 197 Parties. Universal ratification of all the Amendments to the Montreal Protocol solidifies this position.
Through ozone protection efforts, the nations of the world have phased out over 98 per cent of 96 ozone-depleting substances and prevented adverse impacts on agriculture, animals, forests, marine life, natural ecosystems and materials. In addition, up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030.
The Montreal Protocol is also one of the prime contributors to the fight against climate change, as it has averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, a financial mechanism of the Protocol, has provided over US $ 3 billion to developing countries to phase out ozone-depleting substances. In November 2014, Parties to the Protocol committed US $ 507.5 million to ensure the continued phase out of ozone-depleting substances in developing countries. The funds will be dispersed over the period 2015-17.