International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

19th Meeting of the Parties

HCFCs Accelerated Phaseout

Compilation of Relevant Articles from the Press Worldwide

September 2007



Secretary-General Welcomes Historic Agreement to Phaseout Hydrochlorofluorocarbons,
Chemical Compound Damaging to Ozone Layer, Contributor to Climate Change
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement reached over the weekend by the signatories of the Montreal Protocol to sign up to an accelerated freeze and phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), the chemical compound which damages the ozone layer and also contributes to climate change.
The Secretary-General is especially pleased that this historic agreement was reached on the eve of the high-level event on climate change convened by him on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. He notes that international efforts to protect the ozone layer and to combat climate change are mutually supportive. He also notes that the agreement reached in Montreal includes a commitment to make sufficient funding available to implement the strategy of phasing out HCFCs. The Secretary-General hopes Member States will demonstrate the same urgency and boldness as they turn to the sources of greenhouse gases.

Source: UN Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, 24 September 2007

Combating Climate Change Given Big Confidence Boost in Canada
Governments Agree to Accelerated 'Freeze and Phase-out" of Ozone and Climate-Damaging Chemicals at Montreal Protocol's 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Montreal/Nairobi, 22 September 2007 - An historic agreement to tackle the twin challenges of protecting the ozone layer and combating climate change has been agreed by governments.
Nations signed up to an accelerated freeze and phase out of substances known as hydrochlorflurocarbons (HCFCs) under the 20 year-old Montreal Protocol- the UNEP treaty established in 1987 to protect the Earth's ozone layer from chemical attack.
The decision, including an agreement that sufficient funding will be made available to achieve the strategy, follows mounting evidence that HCFCs contribute to global warming.
HCFCs emerged as replacement chemicals in the 1990s for in air conditioning, some forms of refrigeration equipment and foams following an earlier decision to phase-out older and more ozone-damaging chemicals known as CFCs or chloroflurocarbons.
Governments meeting in the Canadian city agreed at the close to freeze production of HCFCs in 2013 and bring forward the final phase-out date of these chemicals by ten years.
The acceleration may also assist in restoring the health of the ozone layer the high flying gas that filters out damaging levels of ultra violet light by a few years too.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, praised the decision taken at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Montreal Protocol calling it an 'important and quick win' for combating climate change.
"Historic is an often over-used word but not in the case of this agreement made in Montreal. Governments had a golden opportunity to deal with the twin challenges of climate change and protecting the ozone layer and governments took it. The precise and final savings in terms of greenhouse gas emissions could amount to several billions of tonnes illustrating the complementarities of international environmental agreements," he said.
Mr Steiner also congratulated the government of Canada and John Baird, the Canadian Environment Minister, for hosting a successful meeting.
He said the spotlight now moves to New York where, on 24 September, the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon is hosting a Heads of State meeting on climate change.
The meeting will help to build confidence in the run up to the UN climate convention negotiations scheduled in Bali, Indonesia, in December. Here nations need to get down in earnest to negotiate an international greenhouse gas emissions reductions agreement to kick in post-2012.
Mr Steiner said:" I believe the agreement and the spirit of Montreal can build confidence in the United Nations as a platform for negotiating effective agreements for addressing the environmental challenges of our time".
"Montreal underlines that when nations are united they can achieve a great deal and on multiple fronts. It also underlines how international treaties in this case the UN's Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change can deliver far more when we build on the scientific consensus and mobilize the technological and economic means to act," he added.
John Baird, Canada's Environment Minister, added: "The Montreal Protocol, already considered the most successful environmental agreement to date, delivers once again, to protect the ozone layer as well as the most pressing issue of our time climate change. Today's announcement demonstrates the kind of concrete action citizens around the world are demanding".
The Agreement on HCFCS
HCFCs, which also damage the ozone layer but less than CFCs, were always planned as interim substitutes and were due to be phased out in 2030 by developed countries and in 2040 by developing ones.
However in recent years and months mounting evidence has emerged on the growth in HCFCs and the potentially significant benefits arising in terms of combating climate change and ozone loss if an accelerated freeze and accelerated phase-out could be achieved.
Experts estimate that without this week's agreement, production and consumption of HCFCs may have doubled by 2015 adding to the dual challenges of ozone depletion and climate change.
Here in Montreal six proposals were put before governments from both developed and developing countries. They represented a variety of options including the freeze dates; reduction steps towards a final and accelerated phase out.
Industry experts had indicated that, should an agreement be taken this week in Montreal, this would send a strong signal resulting in the rapid development of replacement chemicals and technologies.
The final agreement is a combination of the various options proposed by Argentina and Brazil; Norway, Iceland and Switzerland; the United States; Mauritania, Mauritius and the Federated States of Micronesia. Under the agreement, productions of HCFCs are to be frozen at the average production levels in 2009-2010 in 2013.
Developed countries have agreed to reduce production and consumption by 2010 by 75 per cent and by 90 per cent by 2015 with final phase out in 2020.
Developing countries have agreed to cut production and consumption by 10 per cent in 2015; by 35 per cent by 2020 and by 67.5 per cent by 2025 with a final phase-out in 2030.
It was also agreed that a small percentage of the original base line amounting to 2.5 per cent will be allowed in developing countries during the period 2030-2040 for 'servicing' purposes.
Essentially this means that some equipment, coming towards the end of its life such as office block air conditioning units, could continue to run on HCFCs for a few more years if needed.
The 191 Parties to the Montreal Protocol 190 countries plus the European Commission also made an agreement on financing.
The Protocol's financial arm the Multilateral Fund  which to date has spent over $2 billion to assist developing country reductions comes up for replenishment next year. The new agreement takes into account the need for 'stable and sufficient' funds and the fact that there may be 'incremental costs' for developing countries under the accelerated HCFC freeze and phase out.
Governments agreed here to commission a short study by experts to fully assess the likely costs of the acceleration. They will report back early in 2008 and inform parties on the suggested sums required for the new replenishment.
Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary of UNEP's Ozone Secretariat, said: "The progress achieved over 20 years and continued this week demonstrates to the world that developed and developing countries can work together to meet global challenges. Here this week numerous nations including China, India, the United States and the European Union, demonstrated the art of the possible and solidarity in advancing the international environmental agenda on both ozone and now increasingly on climate change".
Other Important Decisions Taken at the 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
Methyl bromide, a pesticide and ozone depleting substance, was meant to be fully phased-out by developed countries in 2005.
But 'critical use exemptions' have been granted because some farmers producing products such as strawberries and cucumbers to tomatoes and eggplants argue that alternatives are either not ready or cost effective for all circumstances.
In 2005, over 16,000 tonnes of methyl bromide were approved under the Montreal Protocol and in 2007 over 9,100 tonnes were permitted.
Here in Montreal, governments approved just over 4,600 tonnes continuing the downward trend in critical use exemptions for developed countries.
Related web site: 20th Anniversary Montreal Protocol
Contact: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson.
Environment Canada Media Relations Tel: (819) 934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008

Source: UNEP

The Montreal Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol Mutually Supportive Say top UN Officials

(Montreal, 17 September 2007) – International efforts to safeguard Earth’s climate and protect the ozone layer are mutually supportive, say the United Nation’s top climate change and environment officials. Negotiations on the future direction of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer, which start in Montreal today, and the UN Climate Change Conference set for Bali in December will shape further climate action beyond 2012, when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol ends.

“The Montreal Protocol is successfully assisting in the repair and recovery of the ozone layer. The Kyoto Protocol is tackling perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation – climate change. However, what is also emerging in 2007, and emerging with ever greater clarity, is that both treaties are mutually supportive across several key fronts,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) has led to the destruction of large volumes of the very potent greenhouse gas HFC-23, a by-product of the production of the coolant HCFC-22, and is currently the only reliable mechanism available to prevent emissions of this gas in the short term, according to a new report by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) of the Montreal Protocol to be released in Montreal this week.

“The Kyoto Protocol's CDM is assisting to destroy HFCs. Meanwhile, governments here in Montreal look set to back an accelerated freeze and phase-out of HCFCs, with important benefits for the ozone layer and also for climate change,” Mr. Steiner added.

“This kind of cooperation underlines the importance of the UN and its related environmental agreements, demonstrating in clear and concrete terms how, by combining their strengths, they can more efficiently and cost effectively realize the sustainability goals of our time,” said Mr. Steiner .

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol decided in Montreal in 2005 that the CDM should not lead to an increase in HCFC-22, a gas regulated by the Montreal Protocol.

“The Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have been guided by the dual objective of safeguarding the climate and protecting the ozone layer when shaping climate action. This dual objective has also guided the regulation applied to the generation of CDM carbon market credits from the destruction of HFC-23 in older refrigerant factories. New plants and expanded production do not qualify under the CDM,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will consider in Bali in December if and then how the CDM could also provide incentives for the destruction of HFC-23 in new plants, without stimulating production of the refrigerant HCFC-22, and will take the findings of the TEAP report into account.

“The worst of all cases would be for HFC-23 emissions to go unmitigated,” according to the TEAP report.

“Steps to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol would make a significant contribution to the global effort to address climate change. The potential in this area is very encouraging and, when combined with significant opportunities to reduce emissions from other sectors, such as energy, buildings and deforestation, demonstrates that solutions to the climate threat are available. The Bali conference needs to put in motion a global campaign to capture all of these opportunities and the Montreal Protocol can continue to make a contribution, building on its past successes,” said Mr. de Boer.

Contact: Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson UNEP,  - David Abbass, Public Information Officer, clean development mechanism, UNFCCC,

Source: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol
Statement by Ad Melkert, UN Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator, United Nations Development Programme At 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

Monday 17 September 2007

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour to address the 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol as the global community celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Protocol, a groundbreaking international agreement that ushered in a new era of environmental responsibility. By any measure, the Protocol has been a resounding success. Its 191 signatories have together phased out more than 95% of ozone-depleting substances, and we expect the Earth’s protective ozone layer to return to its pre-1980 levels in the second half of this century which still shows how frighteningly long it takes before the impact of decisive action shows. 

I take pride in having played a very small part in that success: As a member of the Dutch Parliament, I helped ratify the Protocol. Many of us, back in 1987, asked would it be possible to persuade people to forsake useful household and personal goods—to change their everyday habits--in the interest of preserving an invisible chemical layer miles above the highest clouds in the sky? Could governments, communities and industries adapt in the name of the environment? Given the celebratory nature of the gathering here today, it is obvious that the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.

UNDP is proud to be associated with this success. Our organisation is committed to advancing the goals of the major environmental conventions, including the Montreal Protocol, and supporting countries to reconcile global challenges with national priorities, translating multilateral agreements into action and ultimately, meaningful change in the lives of people.  This is in particular challenging for developing countries that are still faced with enormous and justified demands to provide access to work, income, water and energy to the one third of the world population for whom daily existence needs are of more direct concern than the long term condition of the planet.  Yet the two are inseparable. This is recognized in UNDP’s focus in the support to capacity development, specifically to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 

One of the most notable aspects of Montreal’s success is its engagement of both the developed and developing worlds in reducing ozone-depleting substances.  UNDP, with the financial help of the Multilateral Fund, has put into operation a global programme in over 100 countries that has contributed to the phase-out of over 63,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances. In assisting countries to address their obligations under the Montreal Protocol, UNDP has adopted an inclusive approach, working both with large, as well as small-scale, consumers of ozone-depleting substances. With respect to the latter, UNDP is especially proud of the results that the services it has provided have yielded with respect to encouraging sustainable human development. We have reached out to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), small-scale technicians and agricultural producers, working with them to design programmes that could best tackle their specific concerns and circumstances. UNDP has spear-headed projects that promote better economies of scale, greater cost-effectiveness, incentive-based initiatives, and socio-economic progress. Building synergies in support of sustainable development has been key to the effort.

From a forward-looking perspective, given the issues before this body, it is clear that the Protocol is poised to address changing needs while also seeking to ensure sustainability of past efforts.

There are key challenges being faced by the Parties as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Protocol which signal an opportunity to strengthen environmental protection for sustainable development and enhance partnership potential. In this context, it is critical that Parties address measures to accelerate the recovery of the ozone layer, recognizing that accelerated commitment to non-ODP energy efficient alternatives can serve to diminish our environmental footprint. The UN system stands ready to provide services and support to make this happen.

Twenty years after the signing of the Protocol, at the mid-point of the drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the outcomes of Montreal demonstrate how multilateral cooperation can improve the environment and the lives of people who depend on it. As the international community gears up to determine our post-Kyoto course we need the same cooperative spirit, ambitious intent, and inclusive approach of the Montreal Protocol. Most of all the international community needs to recognize that the poor are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and that we do not need to compromise economic growth or development goals to reduce emissions. With this recognition, and a commitment to change, we might be able to repeat the success of Montreal.

UNDP looks forward to responding to the changing needs of this successful Protocol and continuing to serve the interests of its Parties.;jsessionid=axbWzt8vXD9