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Global conventions hosted by UN Environment

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

  • The Kigali Amendment, which can avoid 0.4°C of global warming by reducing the use of certain greenhouse gases in the cooling industry, entered into force on 1 January 2019. On this day, the Amendment had 65 ratifications, achieved in only two years since its signature.
  • A report from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, released at the 30th Meeting of the Parties in November 2018, showed that Northern Hemisphere midlatitude ozone is scheduled to recover to 1980 values in the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere around mid-century and the Antarctic ozone hole in the 2060s.
  • At the same meeting, parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to track and eradicate new and illegal sources of chlorofluorocarbons to preserve the healing of the ozone layer.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

  • Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks listed eight shark species in December 2018 for better protection globally.
  • More than 30 African countries hosting populations of African wild dog, cheetah, leopard and lion established in November 2018 a joint African Carnivore Initiative—a collaboration between the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
  • Parties to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement agreed in December 2018 on targeted action for threatened waterbirds, including a new Plan of Action for Africa, while the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment are assisting nations to better prosecute the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds.

Convention on Biological Diversity

  • The UN Biodiversity Conference was held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2018 under the theme “Investing in biodiversity for people and planet”. The Conference adopted 69 decisions and launched a process to develop the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • The International Day for Biological Diversity marked the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on 22 May 2018.
  • The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress entered into force in March 2018. This addition to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by providing international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to living modified organisms.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

  • The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime, led by the Secretariat of the Convention, supported Operation Thunderstorm. The operation involved police, customs, border, wildlife, forestry and environment agencies from 92 countries and territories, and resulted in 1,974 seizures and the identification of over 1,400 suspects.
  • Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants, the largest programme of the Convention for capacity building and monitoring, analysed poaching trends of elephants across their range in Africa and showed that overall elephant poaching in Africa declined for the seventh year in a row. It also—for the first time—presented trends in the illegal killing of Asian elephants.
  • The Secretariat of the Convention gathered representatives from 24 countries from across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America to develop and implement national ivory action plans, which strengthen controls of the trade in ivory and help combat the illegal trade in ivory in range, transit and consumer countries.

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

  • Basel Convention: the Open-Ended Working Group proposed possible avenues of actions for tackling marine plastic waste.
  • Rotterdam Convention: three more hazardous chemicals were made subject to the prior informed consent procedure. Fifty chemicals are now on the list, with seven more under consideration.
  • Stockholm Convention: two more toxic chemicals were added to the list of persistent organic pollutants for elimination, and three more persistent organic pollutants were reviewed.


Minamata Convention on Mercury

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury stepped into its implementation phase, with 101 parties at the end of 2018, and the bulk of the technical guidance needed for implementation adopted.
  • The Specific International Programme, part of the Convention’s financial mechanism, is now fully operational with five approved projects.