Developing countries are to receive over US$507 million under the Montreal Protocol to ensure the continued phase-out of the ozone depleting substance hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The 197 parties to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol also decided to further discuss in a special meeting all issues related to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) management. HFCs have high greenhouse gas potential, and are often used in refrigerant and air conditioning equipment as a replacement for ozone depleting substances (ODSs), HCFCs and Chlorofluorocarbons.
The parties made the funding commitment during the Joint 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the 26th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Paris, France.
The funds were committed by developed countries through the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and will be dispersed over the period 2015 – 17. Since 1991, the Fund has provided over US$3 billion to support developing countries to phase out ODSs.
The Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol are the first and only global environmental treaties to achieve universal ratification. Through ozone protection efforts, the nations of the world have prevented adverse impacts on human health, agriculture, animals, forests, marine life, and natural ecosystems and materials.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “The Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol are an inspiring example of how the United Nations can be effectively used as a platform through which nations can develop and access much-needed technology and financing for the protection of the global commons.”
“Ozone layer protection has contributed significantly to climate change mitigation efforts. However, although the parties have been mindful of not causing adverse impacts on the environment, the climate change effects of HFCs now and in the future will off-set the good work done by the Montreal Protocol in mitigating the impacts of climate change if not addressed.”
“Science provides us with a much clearer understanding today that we are dealing here with an issue that cross-cuts the ozone layer and climate change, and therefore policy responses that address one must also address the other,” he concluded.
The parties also agreed on actions related to climate-friendly alternatives to ozone-depleting substances in various sectors, and encouraged the appropriate adoption and implementation of activities related to ozone observation and research, together with the monitoring of climate parameters, and strengthening of relevant capacity-building in developing countries.
The meeting also included a ministerial round table moderated by Mr. Fernando Lugris, Ambassador and Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay and President of the Committee of the Whole of the United Nations Environment Assembly, focused on the main challenges to be addressed by Montreal Protocol parties in the coming decade.
The challenges discussed included how to sustain the technical and financial assistance to developing countries, phase out remaining ODSs, address illegal trade in ODSs, control of HFCs, , and low-Global Warming Potential alternatives especially for high-ambient temperature conditions.
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