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South Sudan Joins Montreal Protocol and Commits to Phasing Out Ozone-Damaging Substances

Nairobi, 23 January 2012 - The world's newest nation South Sudan has become the 197th signatory to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol - two multilateral treaties that are helping to restore concentrations of ozone in high altitudes around the planet, thereby protecting life on Earth from the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.

South Sudan, which became an independent country in July 2011, adds fresh momentum to the remarkable achievements of the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, which are administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The agreements are the most widely ratified treaties in United Nations history, and have enabled reductions of over 98% of all global production and consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances.

The Montreal Protocol oversaw the global phase-out of chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) by 2010.

"Among the considerable number of multilateral agreements agreed between states over the past 40 years, the ...Montreal Protocol stands out", said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2009.

South Sudan deposited its instruments of ratification for the Vienna and Montreal Protocols on 12 January 2012.

This followed the participation of South Sudan's Environment Minister as an observer during the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the twenty-third Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 23), held in Bali, Indonesia, last November.

Addressing signatory states, Alfred Ladu Gore, Minister of Environment of the Republic of South Sudan, said:

"The government of South Sudan has two important commitments: maintenance of peace and security, and environmental rehabilitation and sustainability essential for economic reconstruction in our country. The Republic of South Sudan is absolutely committed to global environmental protection and conservation of natural recourses.

To reinforce that commitment-it is our outmost hope that we shall achieve the aim to accede and ratify the two protocols with your support."

That ambition has now become reality, and the country will be subject to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol from 11 April 2012 - the date when both agreements will enter into force.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, said: "The establishment of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 set the world on track to reduce and phase-out a wide range of chemicals found in products from hairsprays and fire fighting equipment to foams and air conditioners that were destroying the ozone layer and leading to dangerous 'holes' over Antarctica and also the Arctic. Recently the world has learnt that these cuts and phase-outs have also benefited the climate because the substances of concern are also powerful greenhouse gases.

I would like to welcome the new country of South Sudan into the family of nations who have supported and benefited from the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol in terms of environmental protection, financial support and gains in innovation and technology leaps in this 25th anniversary year of the protocol's establishment and as the world looks towards Rio+20 in June. The Green Economy, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, may be a new term. But the work on repairing the ozone layer and now combating climate change underlines that a Green Economy has been forged over many years even if we did not use that term at the time," added Mr Steiner.

Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, also welcomed South Sudan to the ozone protection family: "This action reflects the strong commitment of the newly born Republic of South Sudan to join efforts to address global environmental challenges. This is a significant landmark in the history-making progression of the Ozone Treaties and the United Nations, since measures to protect the ozone layer require global action in the unique status of universal ratification of these treaties."

Some of these substances have a global warming potential 90 to 11,000 times higher than carbon dioxide.

A UNEP report launched in November 2011 projects that by 2050, HFCs could be responsible for emissions equivalent to 3.5 to 8.8 Gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2eq). This is equivalent to the total current annual emissions from transport, estimated at around 6-7 Gt.

Note to Editors:

Interesting facts about the Montreal Protocol:

  • It is estimated that without the Protocol, by the year 2050 ozone depletion would have risen to at least 50% in the northern hemisphere's mid latitudes and 70% in the southern mid latitudes, about 10 times worse than current levels;

  • The Montreal Protocol is estimated to have prevented:

    • 19 million more cases of non-melanoma cancer
    • 1.5 million more cases of melanoma cancer
    • 130 million more cases of eye cataracts

  • Ninety eight per cent of all ozone depleting substances controlled by the global treaty known as the Montreal Protocol have been phased out - but what remains is still a challenge to eliminate;
  • Global observations have verified that atmospheric levels of key ozone depleting substances are going down and it is believed that with implementation of the Protocol's provisions the ozone layer should return to pre-1980 levels by 2050 to 2075;

About the Ozone Secretariat

The Ozone Secretariat is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Based at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) offices in Nairobi (Kenya), the Secretariat's main duties include arranging for and servicing all the meetings related to the Convention and the Protocol, arranging for the implementation of decisions taken by the Governments, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the treaties, collecting and analysing data on controlled ozone-depleting substances, representing the treaties in relevant international and regional meetings and providing information to governments, international organizations and individuals on various aspects of the protection of the ozone layer.

For more information, please contact: UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi) on +254 20762 3088 or E-mail: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

 
South Sudanís national flag (centre) flies at UN Headquarters following its admission as the 193rd Member State


 

 

Further Resources

UNEP Ozone Secretariat

UNEP OzonAction

 

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