Ozone Layer Depletion
Scientific concerns about the depleting effects of halocarbons on the ozone layer in the 1970s were followed by the discovery of the “hole” in the ozone layer over the Antarctic in the 1980s. The international community realized that increased UV-B radiation reaching the Earth would pose risks to human health and the environment In response, countries negotiated and adopted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985 and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987. Following its Operational Strategy of 1995, the GEF is helping countries with economies in transition (CEITs) that are not eligible for funding under the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, to implement activities to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in a manner consistent with these countries’ obligations under the Montreal Protocol.
Fulfilling the Objectives of the Montreal Protocol
Since its inception, the GEF has been assisting 18 countries with economies in transition in meeting their obligations to phase out the use and production of ozone-depleting substances according to the Montreal Protocol. The GEF Council has already approved projects worth US$183 million, which have leveraged an additional US$187 million in co-financing toward this effort.
As a result of implementation of the Montreal Protocol, total global consumption of ODS has dropped by more than 90 percent, to be compared with the steady growth that would have occurred otherwise. This will have prevented an estimated doubling of the UV-B radiation reaching the earth in the northern mid-latitudes by the year 2050. The GEF has contributed by facilitating a large drop in consumption and production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in CEITs. However, further efforts are required and underway to address other substances with comparatively large ozone depletion potential, in particular methyl bromide and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Other challenges lie ahead, however, and the GEF remains committed to continuing to assist eligible recipient countries in meeting the ozone-depleting substances phase-out goals set by the international community under the Montreal Protocol.
Results and Learning
Through these years, the GEF has recognized and documented a number of lessons that not only apply to future activities to implement the Montreal Protocol but that can inform the development of activities in other areas of interventions of the GEF. Of particular importance is the need to pay equal attention to making investments that bring about direct reductions in emissions of ozone-depleting substances and to building government capacity to create and enforce policy and regulatory frameworks that support those investments so as to guarantee sustainability and replication.
Through activities such as development of trade and licensing systems to control the movement of and prevent illegal trade in ODS, GEF-supported interventions have contributed to the development of capacities that can benefit other chemicals-related agreements such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), as well as the sound management of chemicals in general. The GEF will continue to promote integrated approaches that tap the potential for synergies across global environmental issues and ensure that resources and capacity build are best utilized. The GEF is well placed to assist partner countries in meeting these challenges when they address ozone depletion and persistent organic pollutants, climate change, or biodiversity.