28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol opens in Kigali, Rwanda
Delegates from almost 200 nations have convened in Kigali for the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. The meeting will decide on the most significant action on climate change since the adoption of the Paris Agreement: a groundbreaking amendment to the Protocol.
The proposed amendment would see an end to the production and use of chemical substances called hydrofluorocarbons - dangerous greenhouse gases used in refrigeration that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. If the amendment is passed, the world could avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century as well as the equivalent of 100 to 200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the near-term to 2050.
With the Paris Agreement coming into force on 4 November 2016, the international community has the opportunity to take advantage of the global momentum for action on climate change and pass an ambitious amendment in Kigali. Doing so would help to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C – a crucial target of the Paris Agreement and one supported by climate vulnerable nations such as Rwanda.
Today’s opening session marked the beginning of the Preparatory Segment of the Meeting of the Parties. Over the next three days, delegates will negotiate on the exact wording of the amendment. The key focus will be to reach agreement on the calculation of baselines (the dates against which progress will be measured), when growth in the use of HFCs would be required to end and specific steps nations will need to take to reduce HFCs use as well as the funding mechanisms.
More than 100 nations have expressed their support for an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol and during discussions over the last few days, countries agreed to put in place a legal drafting team to work side by side with negotiators and polish the text of amendment in the full legal terms. This is an important step in the process and gives even greater hope that an agreement will be reached by the end of the meeting on Friday.
Speaking at today’s opening, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, emphasised the importance of coming together, finding common ground and securing an agreement that everyone can be proud of.
“We are meeting here in Kigali with unity of purpose – to pass an ambitious amendment to the Protocol that would phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons. We have a unique opportunity to harness the goodwill and commitment to protect our climate and secure the bright future our citizens deserve. Amending the Montreal Protocol rests on an unshakable moral obligation to the health of our planet and serves as a critical building block to solidify the recent gains to address climate change. I encourage all Parties to come to the negotiating table with the same spirit of collaboration and commitment that the Montreal Protocol is known for,” Minister Biruta said.
As organiser of the meeting, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat at the United Nations Environment Programme, Tina Birmpili said:
“As we convene here in Kigali, you are part of a historic moment that has been long in the making. It is in the world’s interest to ensure that the high global warming potential HFCs are phased down, that developed countries can assist developing nations in their transition, that developing nations commit to HFC phase down schedules without compromising their growth but by putting their growth on a greener path, that the industry will choose the most efficient technologies and that innovative approaches will be in place. You are the ones to achieve this success in this week’s negotiations to amend the Montreal Protocol.”
The Preparatory Segment of the Meeting is followed by the High Level Segment, at which senior government leaders will negotiate any outstanding issues and hopefully reach an agreement on an amendment to the Protocol.
View and download photos of the opening session for your media house to use here.
Read Minister Biruta’s full opening remarks here.