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UNEP Celebrates 100th Kigali Ratification, Boosting Climate Action

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to cut the use of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), has reached a major milestone, with Liberia becoming the 100th  nation to ratify the Amendment and this has been welcomed as “great news” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to boost global climate action.  

The ratification by Liberia registered on July 12 is a major milestone for the agreement, with UNEP describing it as a welcome boost to global climate action. 

“As we deal with the impacts of the global pandemic, it is crucial not to forget climate action,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. And further said, “Climate change could cause even more misery and disruption than COVID-19; we must be resolute in our efforts to limit it.” 

Liberia became the latest country to ratify the amendment, part of an accelerating trend of nations approving the treaty and beginning work on phasing down the gases; Mali was the first to ratify the Amendment in 2017, followed by Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Rwanda. The European Union – along with most of its member states – was a single block of parties to the Montreal Protocol; along with others, this made it possible for the Amendment to enter into force on 1 January 2019. Other recent parties to ratify the Amendment include Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, the Holy See and Romania. 


“The Kigali Amendment reaching 100 ratifications is therefore great news. The Amendment is a powerful tool for keeping our planet cool. I thank those states which have ratified it and encourage the 98 others to follow suit and help to ensure a safer future for all of humanity”, Inger Andersen said.

The 2016 Kigali Amendment requires a phasedown of high global warming potential HFCs by more than 80 per cent (in CO2-equivalent) over the next 30 years. Estimates suggest that emissions avoided by 2100 could reach 5.6 to 8.7 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent per year. In total, it would be over ten years’ worth of current annual emissions of CO2 due to human activities. This will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century. 

Replacing HFCs also creates an opportunity to increase the energy efficiency of cooling equipment by 10–50 per cent, significantly reducing energy costs to consumers and businesses.   

The ozone layer is now well on the way to recovery. The Protocol’s benefits include up to two million cases of skin cancer prevented each year by 2030, an estimated US$ 1.8 trillion in global health benefits and almost US$ 460 billion in avoided damages to agriculture and fisheries up to 2060. 

Ozone protection efforts also avoided an estimated 135 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions from 1990 to 2010. In the absence of the Montreal Protocol, global mean temperatures could have risen over 2°C by 2070, due to warming from ozone-depleting substances alone. 

“Each ratification of the Kigali Amendment brings us closer to replicating the success of the Montreal Protocol in dealing with ozone-depleting substances,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.  

The UN Environment Ozone Secretariat is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Secretariat facilitates and supports the parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and other stakeholders in implementing actions to protect and heal the ozone layer and contribute to climate change mitigation. 

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