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Global fight to restore ozone layer hailed by Secretary-General

Global fight to restore ozone layer hailed by Secretary-General

The battle to repair the ozone layer “represents one of the great success stories of international cooperation,” with the use of ozone-depleting substances in both rich and poor countries reduced drastically during the past 20 years, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In his message to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, Mr. Ban said that when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed two decades ago, nearly 2 million tons of such substances were released annually. Today, the developed world has nearly phased out these substances entirely and their use in the developing world has decreased by over 80 per cent.

The Secretary-General noted that measures against ozone-depleting substances have yielded broader benefits, since many of the chemicals contribute to global warming. “Their dramatic reduction has helped bolster measures to counter climate change,” he said.

While hailing these achievements, Mr. Ban cautioned against complacency. “Scientists are warning that the ozone layer will remain particularly vulnerable for some time. State Parties must continue to implement the agreement, and ensure that the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in developing countries is completely phased out by 2010, the deadline imposed by the Montreal Protocol,” he said.

The Montreal Protocol, which opened for signature on 16 September 2007, is an annex to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Since the adoption of the two pacts, the international ozone regime has expanded to address almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals for refrigeration, electronics, foam-making and other industries.