Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

This page provides information on the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. New Zealand has ratified both agreements. 

About the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Vienna Convention) was agreed in 1985. It established global monitoring and reporting on ozone depletion. It also created a framework for the development of protocols for taking more binding action.

The Montreal Protocol under the Vienna Convention (the protocol) was agreed in 1987. It facilitates global cooperation in reversing the rapid decline in atmospheric concentrations of ozone, a gas that protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful radiation. Under the protocol countries agreed to phase out the production and consumption of certain chemicals that deplete ozone. Phase out of these substances is required by specific deadlines.

The Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol are the first and only global environmental treaties to achieve universal ratification, with 197 parties. 

New Zealand’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol

New Zealand’s obligations under the protocol are implemented through the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 and the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996 [NZ Legislation website]. 

New Zealand has phased out all required substances

New Zealand has phased out the import of all required ozone depleting substances in accordance with the Montreal Protocol. The import of halons was phased out by 1994 and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), other fully halogenated CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and hydrobromofluorocarbons were phased out by 1996. The import of methyl bromide for non-quarantine and pre-shipment purposes ended in 2007.

Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can have global-warming potentials of up to 14,800 times that of carbon dioxide. The phase down of HFCs therefore has a significant role in mitigating climate change.

New Zealand, along with nearly 200 other countries, signed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 committing us to significantly reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Ministry for the Environment will look into how New Zealand might implement such obligations to phase down HFCs domestically, and will continue to engage with industry on this. 

Contact the Ministry with any queries by emailing montreal@mfe.govt.nz.

Further information can be found on the Montreal Protocol website.

The ozone layer is on its way to recovery

The United Nations Environment Programme has indicated in a 2014 report that if Parties continue to comply with the protocol, the Arctic and global ozone layer should return to the benchmark 1980 levels around mid-century, and somewhat later for the Antarctic ozone hole.

Further information can be found in the UNEP 2014 synthesis report [UNEP website]. 

Find out more

For information about using ozone depleting substances, contact the Environmental Protection Authority at importexport@epa.govt.nz, or visit their website.

Ozone depletion and its effects on New Zealand [NIWA website]

Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol [UNEP website]

Reviewed:
17/10/16