"Whether or not the ozone layer recovers at the expected time, will be determined by the joint efforts of Governments as well as individuals," said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP. "We have taken positive action and have signed agreements but we also realize that our continued actions are pivotal to the healing of the ozone layer. We are fully aware of the dangers of a depleted ozone layer. There is no room for complacency," he said.
The industrialized countries have now almost phased out their use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). On 1 July this year, developing countries began a freeze on production and consumption. This is to be followed by a gradual phase-out in the year 2010. The freeze and phaseout of other substances such as halons, methyl chloroform, will follow shortly. The Multilateral Fund has so far provided nearly a billion dollars to developing countries to help in this phaseout of the chemicals that destroy the ozone layer in these countries. The Russian Federation and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are getting support from the Global Environment Facility to eliminate ozone-depleting substances.
Despite these efforts the ozone layer is still in a vulnerable state. The size of the ozone hole over Antarctica has been 20-26 million square kilometres the last few years, about double the size of Europe.
The gradual recovery of the ozone layer will only occur with the continued commitment of Governments, individuals, industries in developing countries and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation.
On 16 September each year, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated. This year the theme is: Save Our Sky: Be Ozone Friendly. In his message on this occasion, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan has urged individuals, offices and industries to incorporate alternative ozone-friendly technologies and products so as to ensure recovery of the ozone layer.
For more information, please contact:
K. Madhava Sarma,
Ozone Secretariat, UNEP.
Tel.: 254-2-623885; Fax: 254-2-623913,
Tore J. Brevik,
UNEP Spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Information Branch,
Tel: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692;
Patricia L. Jacobs,
(254-2) 623088; Fax: 623692;
In Paris, please contact:
Rajendra M. Shende,
Chief, UNEP TIE Energy and OzonAction Unit,
Tour Mirabeau, 39-43 quai Andre Citroen,
Paris 75739 cedex 15, France;
Tel.: (33-1) 4437-1450, Fax: (33-1) 4437-1373,
UNEP News Release 1999/104