Developing countries begin freeze on CFCs

With the completion of the grace period granted on signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, developing countries are set to begin, on 1 July 1999, a freeze on production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), prior to a gradual reduction and final phase-out in the year 2010. The freeze on other substances, namely halons and methyl chloroform, will follow shortly.

“We welcome the continued participation of the developing countries as we step up our efforts to heal the ozone layer”, said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Our task is a challenging one, but it is made more manageable with the total commitment of all Parties to the Montreal Protocol”.

The Montreal Protocol was adopted in September 1987. It allowed developing countries a grace period to phase out their consumption and production of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs and halons, in recognition of the fact that they needed time to obtain funds and introduce alternative technologies.

To ensure compliance with the Protocol, the Multilateral Fund was set up to help developing countries pay the costs incurred and to promote the transfer of alternative substances and technologies. Industrialised countries provided financing for the Fund which has so far disbursed about $US900 million to more than 110 developing countries to enable them to phase out more than half of their consumption of ozone-depleting substances. Replenishment of the Fund or the period of 2000-2002 is to be agreed on later this year.

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