Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, observed on 16 September:
This has been a year of record-breaking heat around the world. It is also a pivotal time for climate action. As we address this threat, we can draw inspiration from the Montreal Protocol, a shining example of how the world can come together for people and planet.
When science showed us that chlorofluorocarbons and other substances were tearing a hole in the ozone layer that protects all life on earth, the world responded with determination and foresight by banning them. Thanks to this global commitment, the ozone layer is expected to return to its 1980 levels by mid-century.
However, this work is not yet done. The landmark Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on 1 January 2019, sets its sights on hydrofluorocarbons, powerful climate-warming gases still used in cooling systems. So far, 46 countries have ratified this new instrument; I call on all others to follow suit and show their commitment to a healthier planet. I expect countries to demonstrate significant progress in implementing the Kigali Amendment at the Climate Summit I am convening in September 2019.
For over three decades, the Montreal Protocol has done much more than shrink the ozone hole; it has shown us how environmental governance can respond to science, and how countries can come together to address a shared vulnerability. I call for that same spirit of common cause, and especially, greater leadership as we strive to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and mobilize the ambitious climate action we so urgently need at this time.