THE SECRETARY-GENERAL -- MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER
MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY
FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER
16 September 2010
“Ozone layer protection: governance and compliance at their best”
This year, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer highlights the central role of good governance in pursuit of environmental goals. In general, successful environmental agreements require a broad framework, clear targets and a gradual approach to implementation. Then, as governments gain confidence, they build on initial steps and set more ambitious goals. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – which last year achieved universal ratification – is an excellent example of this process.
When the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, governments did not originally envision the phase-out of any ozone-depleting substance. Yet, as a result of strong national and global compliance, Parties to the Montreal Protocol have cut production and consumption of these harmful chemicals by more than 98 per cent. Furthermore, because ozone-depleting chemicals are also greenhouse gases, the Protocol is instrumental in the fight against climate change. It has already averted greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 135 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and will continue to play an important role.
The Montreal Protocol could not have delivered such profound achievements without robust governance and compliance structures put in place by its Parties, both collectively and individually. The foundation of the Protocol is fairness. Through the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”, the treaty provides a grace period to developing country parties, a funding mechanism governed by an equitable representation of developing and developed countries, compensation for the cost of phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals, capacity building for national ozone offices in 147 developing countries, and dissemination of the most up-to-date ozone-friendly technologies.
I encourage Parties to the Montreal Protocol to continue to build on this model and to explore synergies that could help to address other environmental challenges, especially climate change. Let us use the governance tools contained in the existing ozone and climate treaties to reduce environmental threats to sustainable development and human well-being.