20 September 2017

Rwanda Rallies World to Ratify Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Speedy ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will go a long way in benefiting individual countries in ending the use of dangerous gases (hydrofluorocarbons) and protecting climate, Environment minister Vincent Biruta has said.

Dr Biruta, who doubles as the President of the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, said the faster the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, the better it will be for the world to start mitigating worst possible impacts of the greenhouse gasses (HFCs) to climate change.

"We have come together to restate our commitment to the Kigali Amendment and to encourage quick ratification. In doing so, we send a strong signal that the world is united in ending the use of hydrofluorocarbons and protecting the climate."

Biruta was addressing a high-level meeting on ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol at the UN Headquarters in New York, on Monday.

The purpose of the Kigali Amendment, adopted on October 15, 2016, is to achieve a global reduction in the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one type of the gases that contribute to the warming of earth's atmosphere.

Experts say reducing consumption of HFCs will go a long way in avoiding up to half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century.

They argue that climate change is "real" and world leaders need to work hard to mitigate it before hand. For instance, the recent NASA report indicated that July 2017 was the warmest July in 137 years of modern record-keeping, at about 0.83C, warmer than the mean July temperature of the 1951-1980 period.

"Only July 2016 showed a similarly high temperature (0.82C). All previous months of July were more than a tenth of a degree cooler," Nasa further reported.

Quick ratification, Biruta said, will not only mitigate climate change but also has benefits for individual member states, including extra financial support dedicated to enabling activities for developing countries to phase down emissions and adopt new technologies that are less harmful to the climate.

"These are just a few reasons quick ratification and implementation of the Kigali Amendment make sense for addressing climate change and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. We owe this not only to future generations who will face the worst impact of climate change, but also to those already dealing with the devastating challenges of global warming.

"I also call on our partners to play their part by supporting a strong replenishment of the multilateral fund," Biruta added.

The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2019, provided that at least 20 parties have ratified it. So far, six countries, including Mali, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Norway and Rwanda have ratified the Amendment, while others have started the process.

At the meeting in New York, several countries, including Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, announced that they are undertaking the ratification process and will report "good news" in the near future.

Biruta spoke about the wish to secure 20 ratifications before the next meeting of the Montreal Protocol in November, which is to be held in Canada, so that the amendment enters into force as planned.

The event was attended by environmental leaders from around the world, including ministers from Canada, Norway, the Maldives, Mexico, France, Costa Rica, Morocco, and Rwanda as well as foreign minister of the Marshall Islands.

Canadian environment and climate change minister Catherine Mckenna twitted: "Our future depends on the quick ratification of the Kigali Amendment."

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