Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, to the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
Port Ghalib, Egypt, November 2009 - Environment Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Maged George, Hon. Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here at the 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Port Ghalib, here on the Red Sea, was founded on the legend of a wealthy spice merchant and his determined and ultimately successful efforts to win the hand of a girl named Badour.
The Montreal Protocol is legendary too in terms of its achievements and success stories upon which this meeting can build.
I am delighted to know that Mustapha Tolba, one of my illustrious predecessors and in many ways the father of the Montreal Protocol, is here today.
Equally that Omar El Arini, in many ways the father of the Multilateral Fund, is with us too.
Egypt can be rightly proud of what is has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the protection of the ozone layer.
In somewhere just over a month, this treaty reaches a landmark with the total global phase-out of Chloroflurocarbons (CFCs).
These are the chemicals identified as among the key original culprits behind the loss of ozone and the formation of the iconic hole over Antarctica.
The fact that this phase-out is being witnessed by 196 parties to the treaty is testament to the success, the structures and the flexibility of this instrument.
Congratulations to all Parties and also to Timor Leste, whose recent ratification gave the Montreal Protocol the unique status of universal support.
While CFCs are finally banished to the annals of the scientific and human health history books, some small exemptions may be needed over the next few years.