UNDP Around the world

Information note on 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol - UNDP activities under the Protocol

Key facts about the Montreal Protocol

16 September will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. That date coincides with the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the United Nations commemorative day that marks the date when the treaty was established in 1987. The theme for this year’s celebration “Protecting our atmosphere for generations to come” emphasizes the extraordinary collaboration and environmental benefits achieved by the international community through the operation of the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of numerous substances responsible for ozone depletion. Although challenges remain, the Montreal Protocol has been recognized as a global success, demonstrated by the massive elimination of production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, and chlorobromomethane worldwide since it came into force in 1987.

The Montreal Protocol is the only treaty ever to achieve universal ratification with 197 parties. The ongoing efforts to implement the Protocol decisively demonstrate that difficult environmental issues can be tackled and resolved successfully in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Health benefits: U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates[1] that, thanks to the efforts under the Montreal Protocol, by the year 2065 more than 6.3 million skin cancer deaths will have been avoided in the US and more than 22 million additional cataract cases will be avoided for Americans born between 1985 – 2100. It will result in savings of estimated US$ 4.2 trillion in health care costs over the period 1990–2065. Similar health benefits can be attributed in other countries.

Climate benefits: Because ozone depleting substances (ODS) are also global warming gases, the Montreal Protocol's controls on production and consumption of ODS from 1990 to 2010 will have reduced greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by the equivalent of a net 135 billion tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to 11 billion tonnes CO2 per year[2]. These reductions make the Montreal Protocol one of the world’s prime contributors to the fight against global warming.

The dedicated financial mechanism for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol is the Multilateral Fund (MLF). It was established by a decision of the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (London, June 1990) and began its operation in 1991 to assist developing country parties to comply with the control measures of the Protocol. Contributions to the Multilateral Fund from the industrialized countries are assessed according to the UN scale of assessment. The MLF was created two years earlier (1990) than the Global Environment Facility GEF (1992).


UNDP and the Montreal Protocol: Protecting the Ozone Layer and Safeguarding the Global Climate

UNDP established the dedicated Montreal Protocol Unit (MPU) in 1991 to spearhead and coordinate its efforts to support the developing countries as one of the implementing agencies of the Multilateral Fund. By the end of 2011, UNDP has assisted partner developing countries to access a total of US $616 million in funding from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and US$ 27 million from the Global Environment Facility to eliminate ozone depleting chemicals. UNDP support has assisted 124 countries to avoid over 3.97 gigatonnes of CO2-eq emissions on a cumulative basis and to eliminate more than 68,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances[3].

2011 UNDP Human Development Report (page 67) cited the Montreal Protocol as an example of integration of environmental and equity concerns while promoting human development. UNDP partners with governments and private sector and provides targeted policy advice and specialized technical assistance, training and technology transfer to adopt ozone and climate friendly technologies and best occupational practices. The programme covers a wide variety of sectors, such as the manufacture (and servicing) of products in the refrigeration and air-conditioning, foams, medical aerosols for asthma treatment, and agricultural sectors. Market transformation for the introduction of environment-friendly products and corresponding policy and technological advances were achieved. This has brought to developing countries the access to state of art technology, reduced energy bills for consumers, fostered innovation, and created a more equitable market for greener products, allowing indigenous manufacturers to maintain competitiveness.

There are many examples of UNDP work under the Montreal Protocol[4] which brings numerous development gains.

Agriculture: Since 1997, UNDP has helped thousands of farmers in 20 countries with technology transfer, assistance and training on alternatives to methyl bromide, ozone depleting substance and toxic chemical used by crop growers as a fumigant to treat soil against harmful insects, worms and weeds. In addition to being an ozone-depleting substance this toxic chemicals can negatively affect agricultural workers, including many women and children.  For example, in Sri Lanka, the “Ozone Friendly Pure Ceylon Tea” logo launched in May 2011 will help to promote Sri-Lanka’s best known export product that sustains an industry worth US$ 1.5 billion a year. This became possible as a result of the phase out of methyl bromide in tea industry, implemented by UNDP together with UNEP.

Public Health/Medical Aerosols:  In Bangladesh, Colombia, Cuba, India and Pakistan, UNDP has been supporting the efforts of manufacturers for a technological transition to ozone-friendly and affordable alternatives in the production of metered dose inhalers, which relieve and prevent asthma attacks. These projects have important linkages to public health management in these countries. For example, Bangladesh has more than 7 million people and Pakistan has more than 17 million people suffering from asthma. In addition, technology transfer enabled those countries to keep their national manufacturing of metered-dose inhalers, thus saving local jobs and allowing the population to access affordable life saving drugs.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Foam Sectors: UNDP is supporting the implementation of low carbon sector strategies in more than 30 countries for the elimination of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) controlled under the Montreal Protocol, in the refrigeration and foam sectors. For example, in Indonesia[5], UNDP helped to catalyze finance, and acted as a broker for an important public private partnership among Indonesia, Japan and the Japanese air conditioning industry. UNDP played a pivotal role advising on ways to access financing and helping to draw a plan of necessary regulatory and legislative changes to ensure that the technology conversion will be sustainable. As a result of this technology transfer, the manufacturing of air conditioners in Indonesia will be converted to use a technology with significantly enhanced climate mitigation benefits, estimated at 15 million tonnes equivalent of CO2-weighted global warming gasses annually.

Low Carbon Technology Demonstration and Replication:  UNDP has been implementing technology demonstration projects in Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey to assess, under local conditions, the viability of different environment-friendlier alternatives.  As a result of the dissemination of the results of the demonstration projects, other developing countries will be also able to access the range of state-of-the-art and environmentally-friendly technologies demonstrated.

For example, in Brazil and Mexico, demonstration projects[6] assessed the performance of one alternative to replace HCFC-141b based systems. As result, foam products supplied to the automotive industry; construction sector, shoes manufacturing, etc. can be produced with this new tested alternative, which is environmentally friendly. In Brazil, as a result of the successful demonstration project, the company who selected the tested technology is now producing “climate and ozone friendly” foam panels that are being used in the construction of houses for the low income families. The company that chose the technology tested has been selected by a competitive bidding as the provider of houses to the Brazilian Federal Government funded social programme, My House, My Life (“Minha Casa, Minha Vida”). Replication impact to other countries such as Angola, Paraguay, and Mozambique is already a reality. The houses can be assembled in 4 days.

The examples above illustrate that in addition to the direct benefits of achieving the phaseout of ODS the Montreal Protocol has created enabling conditions that have stimulated a transition to a Green Economy[7]. As a follow-up to Rio+20 outcome document, under its Montreal Protocol work, UNDP will continue supporting technology transfer and private sector partnerships towards safe practices and environmentally friendly  manufacturing  process for consumer products.


[1] http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/effects/AHEFApr2006.pdf and http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/effects/AHEFCataractReport.pdf

[2] http://www.pnas.org/content/104/12/4814.abstract?ijkey=7c2d121df6fcae02e8551dcf329e58737540c0da&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

[3] http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/fast-facts/english/FF-Ozone-and_climate-change.pdf

[4] http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/environment-energy/ozone_and_climate/montreal-protocol-on-substances-that-deplete-the-ozone-layer-20-years-success.html

[5] http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2012/03/26/indonesia-partnership-helps-preserve-climate-and-build-green-economy.html

[6] http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/environment-energy/ozone_and_climate/Demoprojectsreport.html

[7] http://new.unep.org/ozonaction/AboutTheBranch/MontrealProtocolandTheGreenEconomy/tabid/104424/Default.aspx