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SG/SM/20237
9 September 2020

As World Emerges from COVID-19, Imperative to Protect Nature, Tackle Climate Change, Secretary-General Says in World Ozone Day Message

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, observed on 16 September:

There are few global agreements as successful as the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.  Today, on World Ozone Day, we celebrate 35 years of this Convention, which was the first step in fixing the hole in the planet’s ozone layer.

Gases used in aerosols and cooling appliances were causing this hole.  Under the Convention’s Montreal Protocol, Governments, scientists and industry cooperated and have so far replaced 99 per cent of these gases.  The ozone layer is now healing, safeguarding human and ecosystem health.

But, the work of the Montreal Protocol is not over.  Through the Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, the international community is finding alternatives for coolants that contribute to the growing menace of climate disruption.  If fully implemented, the Kigali Amendment can prevent 0.4°C of global warming.  I congratulate the 100 parties that have been leading by example.

As we look ahead to global recovery from the social and economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must commit to building stronger and more resilient societies.  It is imperative that we put our efforts and investments into tackling climate change and protecting nature and the ecosystems that sustain us.

The ozone treaties stand out as inspiring examples that show that, where political will prevails, there is little limit to what we can achieve in common cause.  Let us take encouragement from how we have worked together to preserve the ozone layer and apply the same will to healing the planet and forging a brighter and more equitable future for all humanity.

For information media. Not an official record.