Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer Enters into Force

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). It is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050. Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation with Kofi Annan quoted as saying that "perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol". It has been ratified by 196 states.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. The treaty was originally signed in 1987 and substantially amended in 1990 and 1992. The Montreal Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere--chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform--are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform). Scientific theory and evidence suggest that, once emitted to the atmosphere, these compounds could significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has prepared a Montreal Protocol Handbook that provides additional detail and explanation of the provisions. (CIESIN's Thematic Guide on Ozone Depletion and Global Environmental Change presents an-in-depth look at causes, human and environmental effects, and policy responses to stratospheric ozone depletion.)