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Ozone Treaties as a Success Story

26 February 1998Press Briefing on the Ozone Depletion Issue

1. The Montreal Protocol's main thrust is to gradually reduce and finally to phase-out completely both production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs).

By 1996, the total consumption of CFCs worldwide has come down to 160,000 ODP tons, from about 1.1 million ODP tons in 1986.

The consumption of the industrialized countries which stood at about 1 million ODP tons in 1986, has been completely phased-out, except for a consumption of about 10,000 ODP tons for essential medical uses approved by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. The Parties have agreed that the developing countries will begin to reduce their consumption and production of CFCs in June 1999.

2. A large percentage of countries of the world have ratified the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. In 1987 in Montreal, only 14 countries had signed the Montreal Protocol, whereas as at 13 February 1998, 166 countries are Party to the Protocol.

The countries presently Party to the Montreal Protocol account for more than 95 per cent of the world's population.

3. The original Montreal Protocol signed in 1987, has been adjusted four times (in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 1997), and amended three times (in 1990, 1992 and 1997).

The Protocol includes provisions for its revision on the basis of periodic scientific and technological assessments. Indeed, the commitments required of the Parties by the Protocol to phase-out ODSs were increased in each revision, as recommended by the Scientific and Technical Assessment Panels.

4. The Montreal Protocol allowed a grace period for developing countries in implementing the control measures, in recognition of the fact that more time will be needed for them to obtain and introduce alternative ODS-free technologies: the developed countries had phased-out CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and HBFCs by 1996, Halons by 1994, and are committed to phase-out HCFCs by 2030 and methyl bromide by 2005. The developing countries had phased-out HBFCs by 1996 and are committed to phase-out CFCs, Halons and Carbon Tetrachloride by 2010, HCFCs by 2040, methyl chloroform and methyl bromide by 2015.

5. The effective international efforts to protect the stratospheric ozone layer have been made possible because the scientific and industrial communities collaborated successfully to develop and commercialize alternatives to the ozone-depleting chemicals. As a result, the developed countries ended the use of CFCs much more easily than was originally anticipated.

6. In June 1990 a Financial Mechanism which included a Multilateral Fund was established. Contributions to the Multilateral Fund come from the developed countries. The Fund pays the agreed incremental costs to be incurred by the developing countries for the phase-out of their ODS consumption and production. The Fund is administered by a 14 member Executive Committee, chosen by the Parties every year, seven members from developing countries and seven from developed countries. The Multilateral Fund has achieved the following:


  • As of December 1997, nearly 89 per cent of the 1991-1996 assessed contributions have ben paid, as well as 67 per cent of the 1997 contributions, altogether more than US$700 million;
  • The Executive Committee has approved 86 Country Programmes, covering the estimated production of 68,950 ODP tons and the consumption of 152,600 ODP tons of controlled substances;
  • To date, the Executive Committee has approved more than 2,000 projects and activities with a planned phase-out of 96,460 ODP tons of controlled substances and 12,940 ODP tons in the production sector, and allocated about US$730 million for their implementation in 111 developing countries;
  • The Executive Committee has allocated more than US$18 million for setting up Ozone Offices in developing countries, US$38 million for technical assistance and training programmes, and US$39 million for the preparation of country programmes and project proposals.

7. The instability in some of the countries with economies in transition (CEITs) made the implementation of control measures in those countries very difficult. They have promised, however, to complete the phase-out of ODSs by the year 2000, if they were given sufficient assistance. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has been established by the World Community to assist the developing countries on environmental issues, including ozone depletion.

As projects and activities for phasing-out ODSs in Eastern European countries with economies in transition are not eligible for assistance from the Multilateral Fund, the Parties considered the non-compliance situation by these CEITs and recommended that assistance be given to them by the GEF. So far, US$111 million have been sanctioned by the GEF to assist 11 East European countries accounting for the consumption of 150,000 ODP tons of ODSs, to implement the Protocol. The Implementing Agencies of the GEF projects are UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank.


Current and Future Challenges

  1. Phase-out of HCFCs and methyl bromide in the developed countries.
  2. Implementation of control measures to reduce consumption and production of ODSs in the developing countries, to begin with a freeze on CFCs in July 1999. A number of countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America, have been increasing their consumption of ODSs in step with their high rates of economic growth.
  3. Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in CEITs and preventing situations of non- compliance in these countries.
  4. Preventing or minimizing the problem of the extremely profitable illegal trade in ODSs. The Parties have mandated that each Party should have a licensing system for imports and exports of CFCs, which should facilitate the comparison and cross-checking of the data reported by the Parties.
  5. The phase-out of methyl bromide is a difficult issue, partly because it affects agriculture and also because alternatives are less easily available. The Parties realized the significance of methyl bromide as an ozone depleter only in 1992, and the developing countries have accepted a phase-out schedule only in 1997. At present it is used only in a small number of countries and only for high value crops. However, only 77 out of 166 countries have ratified the 1992 Copenhagen Amendment which introduced controls for methyl bromide. Consumption of methyl bromide could therefore spread to more countries and to more users than at present. The challenge of the Parties is to stop this in time.
Monday 30 Mar 1998
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