The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas.
It protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun.
In this way, it helps preserve life on our planet.
The phase-out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances – or ODS – have helped protect the ozone layer for current and future generations.
It has also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change.
More than this, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.
Today we celebrate International Ozone Day here in Iran.
But we also celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The original purpose of the Montreal Protocol was to cut production and consumption of chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).
The Montreal Protocol has been one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements.
It has been responsible for phasing out nearly 100% of ODSs.
As a result, the ozone layer is showing early signs of thickening after years of depletion. This has been confirmed by both UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
But more work is required.
The Parties to the Montreal Protocol reached an agreement at their 28th Meeting on 15 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.
This agreement is intended to phase-out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The amendment presents many opportunities:
- improving the environment,
- improving refrigeration and air-conditioning systems,
- improving energy efficiency – which corresponds to our SDG 7.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is critical now for industry, governmental bodies and civil society to work together to adopt greener technologies in each country of the world and fight global warming.
We encourage the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to take the important step of reviewing and then approving the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
Collaboration between Iran and the UN
Since 1990, Iran has achieved its phase-out targets for CFCs, halons, Carbon tetrachloride, Methyl chloroform and methyl bromide.
Since 2012, in partnership with the United Nations, Iran has been implementing the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan – or the HPMP as we call it on a daily basis.
Under this project, the Government of Iran committed itself to a HCFC freeze in 2013 and a 10% reduction in 2015.
These targets have both been fully achieved as a result of HPMP implementation.
- For example, Iran has reduced Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) consumption from 380.5 Ozone-Depleting-Potential tons in 2013 to 342.45 ODP tons in 2015.
This success is the result of the strong cooperation between Iran’s National Ozone Unit and international agencies such as UNDP, UNIDO and UN Environment – with support from the Government of Germany.
UNDP activities cover:
- conversion of one domestic air-conditioning manufacturer through modification of the fabrication and assembly line,
- support to Iran’s oversight and law enforcement efforts,
- and training and education programmes.
Given our project’s combined success, Iran should be referred to as a regional Best Practice in achieving the HCFC reduction targets.
I would like to pay tribute to the work of the National Ozone Unit in the Department of Environment. This is the lead technical unit to implement the project.
But this success would not have been possible without also the support of the National Ozone Committee and Ozone cells throughout the country – as well as other governmental, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders.
As the next step, HCFC consumption must reach to 266.35 ODP tons from 1 January 2018.
This can be contributed to through the implementation of the second phase of the HPMP project which is in its final stages of approval and will start towards the end of 2017.
During the Stage 2, the Department of Environment of Iran (National Ozone Unit) will cooperate with UN agencies such as UNDP, UNIDO, UN Environment and GIZ.
The Way forward for the Government of Iran and the UN
The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2017-2021) is our overall partnership strategy for cooperating with Iran.
One of its 4 main components is devoted entirely to environment.
Under the environment pillar, there are 2 outcomes which include integrated natural resource management and low carbon economy and climate change.
Several UN agencies in Iran are themselves directly engaged in this work. Our main job is to work with our Government partners and other international agencies, to bring in community partnership, and to link Iran to best practices from other countries.
In conclusion, the Montreal Protocol has been a phenomenal success. And – yes – Iran has played a great part in this success.
But immense challenges lie ahead if we are to preserve our livelihoods and living standards in Iran and across the planet.
And the only way to solve them will be through a combination of:
- Agreements and firm commitments,
- Institutional capacity,
- Regional Cooperation and, perhaps most importantly of all,
I believe that the United Nations has been a reliable, supportive and strong partner in Iran’s environmental sustainability.
With our 60-year-old track record of working in partnership with Iran, we look forward to strengthening our partnership and contributing to Iran’s attainment of the SDGs – especially those relating to climate action and energy efficiency.