Montreal Protocol
1. An assessment of the situation regarding the principle of “ensuring that no one is left behind” at the global level:

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer adopted in 1985 and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer adopted in 1987, which are widely recognized as very successful multilateral environmental agreements, together stand as shining examples of international cooperation.

The ozone treaties have brought together the nations of the world to tackle a major global environmental threat, ensuring that no one is left behind. As a result of this collaborative global partnership and concerted action over the past 30 years, the ozone layer is expected to recover by the middle of this century. With the unwavering commitment by the nations of the world to protect the ozone layer, more than 98% of ozone depleting substances (ODSs) has been phased out, amounting to about 1.8 million ODP tonnes or 2.5 million metric tonnes. The remaining 2% is mainly hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), amounting to about 32,000 ODP tonnes or 500,000 metric tonnes. The phase-out of the production and consumption of more than 98% of ODSs was one of the most successful indicators of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

How the ozone regime contributes to the principle that “no one is left behind”:

(a) Universal ratification

The Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol are the first and only international environmental treaties to achieve universal ratification in 2009, with 197 parties. The four Amendments to the Protocol – the London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments – have also achieved universal ratification by all the 197 Parties to the Protocol. All the countries of the world are on board and no one is left behind in implementing the specified obligations and measures under the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.

(b) Financial mechanism

The Montreal Protocol’s financial mechanism that includes a Multilateral Fund is the first of its kind to be established. The Fund, which is being hosted in Montreal by Canada, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It provides financial and technical support for developing countries to comply with the Montreal Protocol’s obligations. It is managed by an Executive Committee with equal membership from developed and developing countries to make decisions. Fairness has helped to ensure that no one is left behind. To date, the Multilateral Fund has been replenished nine times, and the total contributions have reached over US$3.7 billion. Through the Fund, approximately US$3.2 billion has been provided to assist 145 developing countries to meet their Montreal Protocol obligations. Over 6,000 projects and activities have been carried, thus enabling technology transfer where old technologies have been totally replaced.

(c) Institutional strengthening

The Multilateral Fund has ensured capacity-building and institutional strengthening in developing countries, including through the establishment of over 145 National Ozone Units, formulation of regulations and legislation, and establishment of a system of Regional Networks of Ozone Officers, which has been valuable for capacity-building and information sharing. Support to the developing countries ensured that they are equal partners and could participate fully in taking on their responsibility to protect the global commons.

2. The identification of gaps, areas requiring urgent attention, risks and challenges: Hydrofluorocarbons

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used as replacements for many ODSs that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs do not destroy the ozone layer, but they are highly global warming. Their emissions are currently increasing at a rate of about 7% per year and are projected to continue to grow. This could offset the good work done by the Montreal Protocol in mitigating climate change. The Montreal Protocol has also delivered substantial climate benefits. Because most ozone-depleting substances are greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol has already averted greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 135 billion tonnes of CO2, making it one of the prime contributors to fighting climate change. After six years of difficult deliberations, in 2015, Montreal Protocol parties adopted the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs”, agreeing to work to an amendment to the Protocol in 2016 to manage HFCs by first resolving challenges and generating solutions. According to some estimates, reducing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol will avoid as much as 0.4°C of global warming by the end of this century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.

Should an HFC amendment be adopted, the new treaty will need to be ratified by each country for it to enter into force and take effect in the country. In the process of negotiating the amendment, all situations of countries and regions, including their local circumstances and interests need to be taken into consideration (as they were for the Montreal Protocol and all the adjustments and amendments related to ozone-depleting substances) to ensure that all countries will be on board and will be able to implement the provisions without unduly disrupting the functioning of the society.

The special features and provisions of the Montreal Protocol that take those special situations and circumstances into account include the grace period for control measures for developing countries; provision of support to developing countries through the financial mechanism; exemption mechanisms for critical and essential uses of controlled substances; and trade provisions.

Remaining Ozone Depleting Substances

The remaining 2% of ODSs amounting to about 32,000 ODP tonnes or 500,000 metric tonnes that need to be phased out seem small in terms of ODP weighted amount but it is still an enormous challenge in terms of actual quantities in metric tonnes and also because the phase-out schedule was accelerated in 2007. The parties have so far achieved a compliance rate of 98% and this needs to be maintained. In this regard, the problem of illegal trade needs to be addressed as temptations to make money from such trade increase as supplies of ODSs diminish.

The remaining ODSs to be phased out under the Montreal Protocol also includes small amounts of essential and critical uses, process agent applications and laboratory and analytical uses. The Montreal Protocol exempts feedstock uses of ODS and the quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide from controls but parties keep a tab on these through reporting requirements.

ODSs in banks (e.g. equipment, insulation foams, chemical stockpiles) are not controlled under the Montreal Protocol, but the parties are concerned with the issue of environmentally sound management of ODS banks because the emissions of those ODSs will cause ozone layer depletion and contribute considerably to climate change. This issue will be included in the agenda of the 38th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol scheduled for July this year in Vienna. In tackling the remaining challenges, cooperation of all parties is needed.

3. Valuable lessons learned on ensuring that “no one is left behind”:

The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful and effective environmental treaties ever negotiated and implemented due to the unprecedented level of cooperation and commitment shown by the international community. This successful global partnership for development has been made possible by the Protocol’s special mechanisms, which could serve as model for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

a) Financial mechanism: By funding the incremental costs of compliance with the Montreal Protocol in developing countries in the amount of US$3.2 billion since 1991, the Multilateral Fund has removed financial barriers that might have discouraged developing countries to accede to the Montreal Protocol. Projects and activities supported by the Fund are implemented by four international implementing agencies – UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and the World Bank. The Multilateral Fund has been supporting capacity-building, institutional strengthening and technology transfer projects and activities in developing countries, enabling inter alia, the establishment of over 145 National Ozone Units (NOUs).

UNEP’s unique Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) supports the operation of Regional Networks of Ozone Officers across the world, providing to developing countries a highly-effective platform for continuous exchange of information, experience and the know-how required to meet the MP’s commitments, including data reporting, setting up and enforcing policies, adopting technologies and effectively managing the NOUs.

b) Non-compliance regime: In addition to the financial mechanism that supports developing countries to meet their Montreal Protocol obligations, the Protocol’s unique non-compliance procedure has worked well to encourage and assist Parties in non-compliance to return to compliance. The procedure focuses on amicable solutions and assistance rather than name and shame, and punishment. The parties have even felt comfortable in reporting their own non-compliance issues and seeking assistance and solutions.

c) Assessment Panels: The Montreal Protocol’s three Assessment Panels regularly provide up-to-date independent information on scientific, technical, economic and environmental issues to the parties, enabling them to reach informed and timely decisions on often-complex matters and base their policies and actions on sound science. Parties have strengthened the Protocol through adjustments and amendments and adopted sound policies on the basis of up-to-date findings of the Panels. The Panels comprises renowned scientists and experts. The assessment mechanism has ensured partnership between the research, academic and technical community and the governments as well as other stakeholders.

d) Exemption mechanisms: The Montreal Protocol has developed and used various exemption mechanisms to address lack of feasible alternatives or allowed continuation of use where appropriate. Through such mechanisms the Montreal Protocol has ensured that the functioning of society is not disrupted while at the same time ensuring effective protection of the ozone layer.

e) Non-party trade provisions: The Montreal Protocol has included provisions on trade by parties with non-parties since its inception. The non-party trade provisions prohibit or restrict States party to the Protocol from trading in ODS with States not party to the Protocol. By doing so, those provisions aim at maximizing participation in the Protocol, primarily by cutting off ODS trade between parties and non-parties. The trade provisions have, thus, provided an important incentive for States to become parties to the Protocol and its amendments. The provisions are being applied in a flexible way in order to accommodate the specific circumstances of States that had not ratified the various amendments in time, to ensure that all parties adhere to them without compromise to the interests of their national economy.

4. Emerging issues likely to affect the realization of this principle:


As part of their work under the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs,” Montreal Protocol parties made progress on addressing the challenges of managing HFCs under the Protocol during the 37th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG37) in Geneva in April 2016. Among the key challenges addressed include the lack of alternatives to HFCs for some applications, to which the parties agreed on the need for an exemption mechanism for countries with high ambient temperature conditions and elaborated the details of such a mechanism.

Parties also made headway on the challenge of funding and flexibility in implementation of possible HFC control measures, endorsing some overarching principles, and agreed to continue discussions. They also discussed other challenges such as Intellectual Property Rights, non-party trade provisions, the relationship of HFC phase-down with the on-going phase-out of HCFCs, the special situation of developing countries and the possible synergies between the ozone and climate regimes to enhance common understanding on elements of possible solutions.

The parties will continue working towards the possible adoption of an HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016. The Dubai pathway, by requiring that challenges are to be resolved first by generating solutions, enables all concerns to be addressed so that no one is left behind.

  5. Areas where political guidance by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is required:


In recent years, leaders from the world’s large industrial countries have announced their countries’ bilateral and multilateral commitments to working towards the phase-down of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol, as part of their efforts to address climate change domestically and together. (See the annex for a list of recent high-level political agreements and statements on HFCs) The high-level political statements have brought the issue to the forefront globally and provided momentum to ongoing efforts towards an HFC amendment to the Protocol. The high-level political commitment needs to be maintained and heightened as Montreal Protocol parties continue their HFC phase-down discussions in forthcoming meetings.

6. Policy recommendations on ways to accelerate progress for those at risk of being left behind: Hydrofluorocarbons

The progress made by Montreal Protocol parties on addressing the challenges of managing HFCs under the Protocol during the 37th OEWG meeting in April is a sign that the parties are keen to reach an HFC agreement and that further progress will be made in the next round of negotiations in Vienna in July. A number of solutions to the challenges identified under the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs” have been proposed and discussed including with regard to an exemption for high ambient temperature countries and the solutions to some aspects of challenges related to funding and flexibility in implementation. Solutions need to be generated to challenges such as technology transfer, intellectual property rights, the relationship with the ongoing HCFC phase-out and non-party trade provisions.

All parties will need to exercise flexibility in order to agree on the solutions and move forward to discuss and agree on an HFC amendment to the Protocol.

Over the past several years, a number of countries have taken various domestic actions to address HFCs, which are already resulting in benefits. An international agreement on HFC phase-down will constitute a step forward in the fight against climate change and put the world on track towards meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.


Recent high-level political agreements and statements on HFCs

  1. FACT SHEET: Implementation of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Strategic Partnership (21 April 2016) See more at:
  2. Joint communique from the April 10-11 G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan (page 13) – (11 April 2016) See page 13 of communique at:
  3. FACT SHEET: United States – Argentina Relationship (23 March 2016) See more at:
  4. U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership - (11 March 2016) See more at:
  5. Statement adopted by the High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (8 December 2015) See more at:
  6. U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change (25 September 2015) See more at:
  7. U.S.-Brazil Joint Statement On Climate Change (30 June 2015) See more at:
  8. G-7 Leaders' Declaration (8 June 2015) See more at:
  9. EU proposes global phase-down of HFCs under Montreal Protocol (30 April 2015) See more at:
  10. Fact Sheet: U.S. and India Climate and Clean Energy Cooperation (25 January 2015) See more at:
  11. U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change (12 November 2014) See more at:
  12. U.S.-India Joint Statement (30 September 2014) See more at:
  13. Joint Statement by North American Leaders (19 February 2014)
  14. See more at: Joint Statement by North American Leaders - 21st Century North America: Building the Most Competitive and Dynamic Region in the World | whitehouse.govUN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit: Joint Statement on Phasing Down Climate Potent HFCs See more at:
  15. United States, China, and Leaders of G-20 Countries Announce Historic Progress Toward a Global Phase Down of HFCs (6 September 2013) See more at:
  16. United States and China Agree to Work Together on Phase Down of HFCs (08 June 2013) See more at:
  17. North American Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy (10 August 2009) See more at:
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