16 Dec 2019 Story Environmental rights and governance

China shows strong political commitment to the Montreal Protocol

 “A healthy ozone layer and climate are essential to meeting all of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Montreal Protocol continues to protect people and planet alike. Let this International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer be an inspiration towards greater ambition on cooling, at the Climate Action Summit and beyond”, António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General.

"32 Years and Healing" was the theme of this year’s World Ozone Day which marked over three decades of remarkable international cooperation to protect the ozone layer and the climate under the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of 99 per cent of ozone-depleting chemicals in refrigerators, air conditioners and many other products.

The international day was commemorated in Beijing, China, bringing together senior Chinese government officers including Li Ganjie, Minister of Ecology and Environment, and Gong Zheng, Governor of Shandong Province, along with more than 200 participants from international agencies, non-governmental organizations, member ministries of the National Leading Group for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and Environment and Ecology Bureaus from different regions.

China has made great strides in its institutional, legal, and management capacity to phase out ozone depleting substances. However, the Chinese authorities have recognized that their enforcement still needs further strengthening, particularly in terms of the capacity of the local Environment and Ecology Bureaus as well as their testing facilities.

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment is in the process of revising the regulation of its ozone depleting substances, as well as strengthening its management to provide better solutions for eliminating ozone depleting substances. It has undertaken internal restructuring and put into place a new coordination system which includes establishing regional labs for testing ozone depleting substances-based products, atmospheric ozone depleting substances monitoring stations, and integrating the ozone depleting substances regulations enforcement into national environment enforcement system. 

According to António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, “the Montreal Protocol can deliver an equally significant result on climate change through its Kigali Amendment, which targets hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful climate-heating gases still used in cooling systems. Phasing these out could reduce global warming by up to 0.4°C this century. As industry redesigns appliances to replace HFCs, it is also essential to improve their energy efficiency to further reduce their impact on the climate.”

For more information, please contact Elizabeth.Mrema[at]un.org, Jim.Curlin[at]un.org or Shaofeng.Hu[at]un.org