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Nepal ratifies Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments to Ozone Treaty

Bangkok, 31 May 2012 – The long wait is over – after years of efforts to get the approval of Nepal’s Parliament, the country is now an official Party to the Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as of 18 May 2012.

The Montreal Protocol, the only multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) that received universal ratification from 197 Parties covering all states in the world, has to date undergone four amendments which each needed to be ratified by the Parties before taking into effect.

“This action demonstrates Nepal’s extraordinary commitment to phase out ozone-depleting substances and guarantees the country the continued technical and financial support for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. The Secretariat will continue working closely with the Government of Nepal to facilitate its compliance with the Montreal Protocol obligations,” said Marco Gonzalez, the Executive Secretary of the UNEP Ozone Secretariat.

The Copenhagen Amendment, which entered into force in June 1994, added Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons and methyl bromide in the list of controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol in addition to other substances such as CFCs and halons. The ratification of the amendments, especially the Copenhagen Amendment, was of utmost importance to Nepal because it is a prerequisite for the country to receive about US$2 million worth of financial and technical assistance for HCFC phase-out activities in the country. Nepal’s HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) had long been approved but the Multilateral Fund could not release the funds prior to the ratification of the Amendment.

“We congratulate the Government of Nepal for ratifying the three amendments and UNEP OzonAction is very eager to begin assistance to the country in its HCFC phase-out activities as an implementing agency for HPMP, together with the UNDP,” said  Atul Bagai, Regional Network Coordinator, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

“Nepal had consistently been in compliance with the ozone-depleting substances (ODS) phase-out commitments to the Montreal Protocol, and our National Ozone Unit has been very active in promoting ozone layer protection in the country. In fact, Nepal is one of the first countries to receive and implement a pilot project for the destruction of ODS. Now that our Government has ratified all the amendments, we look forward to the release of the funds for implementing the HPMP and set off our HCFC phase-out activities, considering that there are only eight months left before the deadline for freezing HCFC consumption by January 1, 2013,” stated  Krishna Gyawali, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST).

Under Decision XIX/6 of the Montreal Protocol, Parties agreed that developing countries like Nepal must freeze their HCFC production and consumption by 1 January 2013 and reduce that consumption by 10% by 1 January 2015.

In March 2011, UNEP OzonAction organized a high level mission to Nepal to get first hand understanding of the delay in Nepal’s ratification of the Copenhagen Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The delegation consisting of Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary, UNEP Ozone Secretariat , Maria Nolan, Chief Officer of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, Rajendra Shende, Head OzonAction Branch, Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Network Coordinator and Balaji Natarajan, Technical Specialist, UNDP,  met with a number of high level officials in various ministries in Nepal.

The Status of Ratification, Accession, or Approval of the agreements on the protection of the stratospheric ozone layer as provided by the Depositary, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, New York,  is available at the following links: http://ozone.unep.org/new_site/en/treaty_ratification_status.php
http://treaties.un.org/pages/CNs.aspx

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Fenner, Information Manager, UNEP OzonAction Programme, Tel: +33 1 4437 1454; Email: anne.fenner@unep.org.
Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Tel: +662 288 2127/02 288 2314; E-mail: satwant.kaur@unep.org.
Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator, Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), OzonAction Branch, UNEP– Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel No: +66 2 288 1662, Email: atul.bagai@unep.org

Notes to Editors

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.

Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date...”

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is managed by an Executive Committee which is responsible for overseeing the operation of the Fund. The Committee comprises seven members from developed and seven members from developing countries. The 2012 Committee membership includes Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America (developed countries) and Argentina, China, Cuba, India, Kenya, Jordan and Mali (developing country members) and is chaired by Mr. Xiao Xuezhi (China). The Committee is assisted by the Fund Secretariat which is based in Montreal, Canada.

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