On World Ozone Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on nations to act now to slow climate change, feed the world’s hungry and protect the planet.
Designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, September 16 commemorates the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
“The Montreal Protocol began life as a mechanism to protect and heal the ozone layer,” writes António Guterres in his 2021 message on the UN website. “It has done its job well over the past three decades. The ozone layer is on the road to recovery. The cooperation we have seen under the Montreal Protocol is exactly what is needed now to take on climate change, an equally existential threat to our societies.
“The Montreal Protocol is more than just an example of how multilateralism can and should work, it is an active tool to help meet our global vision for sustainable development.”
Under the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol, nations have now committed to phase down HFCs, a move which, when fully implemented, could prevent 0.4ºC of global warming this century.
“Furthermore, as we prepare for the Food Systems Summit this month, we are reminded that the Kigali Amendment can also help us to increase food security. By reducing HFCs, increasing energy efficiency and creating more ozone- and climate-friendly technologies, the Kigali Amendment can bring sustainable access to vital cooling services to millions of people,” Guterres adds.
“Such services would reduce food loss in developing countries, where food often spoils before it can reach markets. Getting produce from farmers to where it is needed would help reduce hunger, poverty and the environmental impact of the agricultural sector. Another important benefit of expanding cooling is storage of medicines and vaccines, such as are needed to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment show us that by acting together, anything is possible. So let us act now to slow climate change, feed the world’s hungry and protect the planet that we all depend on.”