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UNIDO sees industry as a driver of sustainable development. An inspiring example of this is the role industry has played in achieving the ever more ambitious targets of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

This is where the journey of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division began: with the global commitment to protect the Earth’s ozone layer. It all started in the 1970s, when scientists discovered that the ozone layer was under threat from a group of chemicals known as ozone depleting substances (ODS). ODS had become key components in major manufacturing sectors and global trade goods, including refrigerators, air conditioners, foam and aerosol sprays, fire extinguishers and pesticides. Recognising the vital role of these industrial sectors and their reliance on ODS, the international community understood that it would take decisive and global action to phase out these substances.

In 1990, the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF) was established to support eligible countries in phasing out ODS. Since then, the Executive Committee of the MLF has approved 144 country programmes, 144 HCFC phase-out management plans and has funded the establishment and operation of National Ozone Offices in 145 eligible countries. UNIDO is one of four implementing agencies of the MLF and has received over USD 900 million since 1993 to implement projects in 111 countries.

Since 1993, UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division has worked hand-in-hand with industries, governments, and institutions to find sustainable alternatives to ODS and substitute each ton of ODS with a less harmful substance or a new process. Over time, the Montreal Protocol has evolved beyond ozone layer protection, in response to emerging environmental issues and their impact on human development. Following the adoption of the Kigali Amendment in 2016, the Montreal Protocol has advanced from ozone layer protection to climate action.

UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division designs, develops and implements sector-specific and national ODS phase-out plans, to help countries meet their compliance commitments under the Montreal Protocol. UNIDO works with governments to develop and enforce the policies and regulations needed to monitor ODS production and consumption. Working hand-in-hand with industries, UNIDO is also well positioned to help companies put these policies into action.

Over time, the work of our Montreal Protocol Division has become more ambitious, engaging a broad coalition of institutions, associations and development partners, in support of wider sustainable development goals. New initiatives to find resource-efficient solutions to ODS and other refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP), in cooperation with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), build on global efforts to increase energy efficiency and protect the climate. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these initiatives also contribute towards the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Our growing portfolio of cold chain projects and ODS waste management initiatives, in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), respond to other pressing environmental problems, while mitigating further damage from ODS and high-GWP refrigerants. By this means, we continue to mitigate the environmental impacts of industry, to protect the terrestrial and marine ecosystems that are critical for human development.