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International Ozone Day 2007 – 16 September 2007

UNEP/DTIE and GRID-Arendal are launching “Vital Ozone Graphics - resource kit for journalists” on the occasion of International Ozone Day 2007 and in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. The kit features new graphics that present the physical, technical, economic and political aspects of the process of ozone depletion in the atmosphere and the world’s response to meet this challenge.
UNEP/DTIE and GRID-Arendal are launching “Vital Ozone Graphics - resource kit for journalists” on the occasion of International Ozone Day 2007 and in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.  The kit features new graphics that present the physical, technical, economic and political aspects of the process of ozone depletion in the atmosphere and the world’s response to meet this challenge.  

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer represents a concerted effort by the international community to address, in a dynamic and proactive way, the problem of ozone depletion.  
In the preparation of “Vital Ozone Graphics,” journalists have been specially targeted as an audience with the critical mass, in terms of outreach and impact, to reach out to the general public to inform and educate on the issue of ozone depletion and repair.  Hopefully, a multiplier effect can be achieved through the better understanding and more widespread presentation of the challenges and stories associated with ozone depletion.  Key issues, story ideas and ready-to-use graphics are available for easy download at the Vital Ozone Graphics website.

In many ways, the Montreal Protocol has achieved remarkable success because parties to the treaty have been able to do the following:
  • Access the latest scientific, technological and economic information pertaining to the controlling of all ozone-depleting substances;
  • Focus on controlling production and trade rather than the emissions released into the atmosphere;
  • Respond to the threat of trade sanctions against non-signatory countries and sanctions against signatory countries not complying with the Protocol;
  • Receive financial support for implementation of the Protocol goals – the Multilateral Fund enforces the concept of mutual dependence between developed and developing countries and the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities;
  • Implement sound institutional arrangements that encourage timely and significant decisions on complex matters.
Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms that is created, on the ground, by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight.  Ozone is"good" or "bad," depending on its location in the atmosphere.  Ground-level ozone is a pollutant that threatens the health of children with asthma and agricultural ecosystems. It has been identified as a primary ingredient of urban smog.

The stratosphere or “good” ozone layer protects the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and affects the temperature distribution of the atmosphere, thus playing a role in regulating the earth's climate.  This layer has been gradually depleted by man-made chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), resulting in more cases of skin cancer, cataracts and other health problems.



THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL – IN A NUTSHELL

The History

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer came into force on 1 January 1989 when it had been ratified by 29 countries and the European Economy Community (EEC).  

As of February 2007, 191 countries have ratified the Protocol, representing an international effort to safeguard the ozone layer through controls on production, consumption and use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

The Challenge

The challenge is to maintain the momentum for the total global phase-out of ODS required to ensure the ozone layer’s repair.  By 2010, developing countries must phase out the remaining 20-30% of the most commonly used ODS.  

The Achievement

By end- 2006, the parties to the Montreal Protocol had together phased out 95% of ODS, reducing production levels from a 1987 level of over 1.8 million weighted tonnes annually to some 83,000 tonnes in 2005.

The phasing out of ODS has helped to fight climate change since many ODS are also powerful greenhouse gases.

By 2010, the Montreal Protocol would have prevented the equivalent of between 9.7 and 12.5 gigatonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – five to six times the reduction target of the first commitment target (2008-12) of the Kyoto Protocol.

What if ….

Without the Montreal Protocol, levels of ODS in the atmosphere would have increased tenfold by 2050.  Skin cancer cases would have increased by 20 million.  Compared to 1980 figures, 130 million more cases of eye cataract cases would be the result.

The Success Story

The Montreal Protocol has been recognized globally as a success story.  

When adopted in 1987, the Protocol signalled the global community’s acceptance of the first legally binding international multilateral environmental agreement.

Its success can be attributed to several factors, including the network of supporting mechanisms and frameworks such as the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (established in 1991), and the extensive and inclusive participatory process engaging the public and private sectors and civil society.

Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to reduce and then eliminate the use of ODS before substitutes and alternative technologies were fully available. This has proven to be a successful strategy.

Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, described the Montreal Protocol in his Millenium Report as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date.”

Media contact:

Elizabeth Su
GRID-Arendal
Norway
E-mail: Elizabeth.su@grida.no
Mobile: +47 9518 2145
Monday 17 Sep 2007
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