United Nations Environment Programme
The protection of human health is the fundamental driving force behind both the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol. The opening lines of both of these treaties recognize the harmful impact on human health and the environment caused by the depletion of the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. Through the phase out of nearly 100 ozone depleting substances (ODS), these treaties are reaping tremendous health benefits by preventing large increases in ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. By the end of this century, an estimated 100 million cases of skin cancer will have been avoided and many millions of extra cases of eye cataracts will have been prevented. By limiting ozone depletion, the treaties also protect the human immune function and protect food security by reducing UV damage to crops and marine life-supporting ecosystems vital for fisheries. Finally, by eliminating ODS that are also powerful greenhouse gases, the Protocol continues to help reduce health risks related to climate change: to date it has averted emissions equivalent to more than 135 billion tonnes of CO2, and it is poised to do even more by phasing out HCFCs and avoiding high-GWP HFCs. The health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people, many yet to be born, continue to be protected by the determined actions of the Parties to the successful ozone treaties.The impacts of ozone depletion and the benefits accruing from the two ozone treaties, as well as the scientific data that underpins the Montreal Protocol, is critical knowledge for both government decision-makers and the general public.
Through its Information Clearinghouse, publications, and side events, OzonAction keeps National Ozone Units (NOUs) and other stakeholders in developing countries regularly informed about the key messages emanating from the health and science community of the Montreal Protocol. The retransmission of these messages by NOUs helps demonstrate to the general public in their countries how the national Montreal Protocol compliance strategy and policies are directly linked to the bigger picture of protecting human health and the environment.
UNEP OzonAction at OEWG-36 – How Global Action Protects us from the ravages of Ultraviolet radiation