Stefan Priesner: Welcoming Speech at the Inception Workshop «Initial Implementation of Accelerated Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase Out in the Countries with Economies in Transition (CEIT) Region–Uzbekistan»

Sep 25, 2014

Protection and preservation of the ozone layer of our planet remains as an important issue today. Three stories can illustrate on how his challenge was tackled, they have different timelines but are interrelated in achieving global success.

First story: Many of us  remember news in 1980s about Ozone hole increasing at alarming speed (black sheep in New Zealand, increasing incidence of skin cancer in Australia). It felt as suddenly that we were defenseless against radiation from sun and space.

To address the challenge, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed. The nations have joined their efforts in global phase-out of ozone-depleting gases used in the households, industries, and agriculture to halt this dangerous process.

The second story is that Uzbekistan has been a Party to the Montreal Protocol and has complied with it since 1993. Actually, Uzbekistan is a star of the phasing-out of the ozone depleting substances among the countries that are economies in transition (CEIT) region: national HCFC (freons used in cooling and air conditioning equipment) phase-out strategy is in place and project will support and contributes to its efficient implementation; and as of today, 99.95% of ODS have been phased-out, which is ahead of the schedule planned by the Montreal Protocol.

Nowadays, process of implementation of the Montreal Protocol is one of the great success stories of international cooperation. This was announced at a recent study prepared by the experts of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The third story: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has today been recognized for its two decades of support to developing countries to phase out the use of harmful substances which deplete the ozone layer. The Executive Secretary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Marco Gonzalez, has presented a special award to UNDP. The award recognizes UNDP’s exceptional contribution to the success of the Montreal Protocol which this year marks its 25th anniversary of collaboration to close the ozone hole by 197 nations.

However, job is not yet accomplished and much to be done. In Uzbekistan, project started up by UNDP with GEF funding will facilitate preparation for implementation of legislative and regulatory changes and subsequent investment programs to support further reduction of dependence from the imports of ozone-depleting substances in Uzbekistan and to ensure that the country can fulfill the responsibilities undertaken according to the decision of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Accelerated Phase-out of ozone-depleting substances.

Joint protection of the ozone layer means the creation of favorable conditions of life for the future generations. This was a key message delivered by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the occasion of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, which called on governments, industry, civil society and other partners to make every effort to address the serious environmental challenges of our time. 

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