Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, Remarks at a High Level Event on Ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Sep 18, 2017

The success of the Montreal Protocol has had huge positive impacts for agriculture, preventing significant loss of food crops and food security challenges. Credit: UNDP.

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I am delighted to join you this evening and to do my part in encouraging countries to urgently ratify the Kigali Amendment under the Montreal Protocol. 

As many of you may know, the Montreal Protocol has long been very close to my heart - both in my current position as UNDP Administrator, as well as my former role as the Executive Director of the UN Environment. 

The protocol’s 30 years’ history has certainly been one of success: as a result of countries’ shared commitments and cooperation, coupled with the daily choices of individuals around the world, over 98 percent of ozone-depleting substances have been eliminated and we are well on the way to repairing the ozone layer by the middle of this century.  

Some may wonder why this matters. To this you can respond that thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol millions of cases of skin cancer have been avoided, and so have tens of millions of cases of eye cataracts. It has also had huge positive impacts for agriculture, preventing significant loss of food crops and food security challenges. Likewise, the Protocol has also encouraged significant industrial innovation, resulting in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.

Actions to protect the ozone layer have also significantly contributed to climate change mitigation. Since the ozone depleting substances eliminated under the Montreal Protocol are also powerful greenhouses gases with high global warming potential, the Montreal Protocol has avoided around 135 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.  

And last year’s landmark agreement on the Kigali Amendment on Hydrofluorocarbons promises to take the Montreal Protocol’s contribution to climate action even further, thereby making a huge contribution to the achievement of the goals under the Paris Agreement.

Indeed, it is estimated that gradual phase down of hydrofluorocarbons under the Amendment could avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century – making it one of the single largest opportunities to reduce emissions. Early ratification and entry into force of the Amendment is therefore critical.  

The wide support which the Kigali Amendment has received from the private sector has also been impressive. Businesses are increasingly introducing alternatives to HFCs, in developed and developing countries’ markets alike. These new technologies promise a triple win: no harm to the ozone layer; being climate-friendly; and increasing energy efficiency.

The fact that developed countries committed to provide additional funds through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to support developing countries in achieving their obligations is also important.

At UNDP, we are fully committed to support developing countries in the process of the ratification and implementation of the provisions of the Kigali Amendment. We bring our experience as an Implementing Agency for the Multilateral Fund since 1991, as well as our well-established expertise on promoting climate action and energy efficiency around the world. 

Conclusion

The success of the Montreal Protocol exemplifies how the international community can set differences aside and act together on a common cause. 
 
As we work together to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, we should look to the Montreal Protocol as source of inspiration and apply the same spirit to address the challenges of our times. 

A critical milestone on this journey will be the entry into force of the Kigali Amendment. At UNDP, we congratulate those countries that have already ratified the Amendment, and urge others to urgently do the same. 

We have no time to waste.
 

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