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Science has been the cornerstone of the Montreal Protocol’s success since its inception and non-negotiated scientific assessments have informed decision-making that has helped to heal the Earth’s ozone layer. But there are a number of new challenges to the Protocol’s effective implementation, which were the focus of the week’s meeting.
Despite phasing out 98% of ozone depleting substances worldwide relative to a 1990 baseline and making major inroads in avoiding catastrophic climate change, parties grappled with recent scientific findings, whether and how to build on the Protocol’s success to tackle other environmental issues, and delivering on the Kigali commitments.
The first in-person meeting in over two years replenished the Multilateral Fund and addressed questions of gaps in global monitoring of ozone depleting substances, specific usage and production of methyl bromide and carbon tetrachloride, and energy efficiency and phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons that contribute to climate change.
Delegates discussed closing gaps in monitoring of ozone depleting substances as well as low global-warming potential and energy efficient technologies. They adopted 18 decisions, including on compliance and reporting, to ensure the Convention and the Protocol protect the ozone layer and combat climate change.
Parties to the Montreal Protocol tackled technical work on two issues that are crucial to efforts to repair and protect the ozone layer: the unexpected increase in emissions of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) and developments related to energy-efficient and low-global-warming-potential technologies.
Parties met online to address issues around funding the Multilateral Fund for Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, agreeing to facilitate payments until replenishment negotiations are complete later this year, and provide guidance to the Replenishment Task Force.
As the meeting closed, delegates agreed that the meeting sent an important signal that despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the goals of the Montreal Protocol are well on track and, while virtual meetings are difficult, they showed that if something should be done, it can be done.
This online technical session addressed the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) Replenishment Task Force’s (RTF) report on the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for 2021-2023, which is essential to the continued success of the Montreal Protocol in phasing out ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases.
Delegates to the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol successfully completed five days of negotiations, with the most pressing agenda items—terms of reference for the study on the 2021-2023 replenishment of the Multilateral Fund, the unexpected emissions of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11), and the areas of focus for the 2022 quadrennial assessment reports of the three Assessment Panels—requiring careful negotiation to balance different parties’ agendas.