Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol enters into force in 2019

The landmark Kigali Amendment that which took seven years of negotiations and kept parties to the Montreal Protocol awake in Kigali Convention Centre’s main auditorium for 24 hours is now clear to enter into force.
Minister for Environment Vincent Biruta said it was a historical moment after Sweden became the 20th country that ratified the historic Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. / File
Minister for Environment Vincent Biruta said it was a historical moment after Sweden became the 20th country that ratified the historic Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. / File

The landmark Kigali Amendment that took seven years of negotiations and kept parties to the Montreal Protocol awake in Kigali Convention Centre’s main auditorium for 24 hours is now clear to enter into force.  

Sweden became the 20th country that ratified the historic Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This means that the Kigali Amendment meets the threshold for the agreement to enter into force at the earliest possible date, according to the treaty: January 1, 2019.

The amendment has been described by experts as a key pillar of global Climate Action and will avoid up to half a degree of warming by 2100.

The agreement seeks to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons, the greenhouse chemicals better known as HFCs—that usually used in refrigerators and air conditioners, among other coolants—which are blamed for heating up the planet.

With Kigali Amendment, producers of coolants are now obliged to start producing alternative cooling gas (technology) that is less harmful to the climate.

The 20th ratification of an agreement which was sealed in October 2016 in Kigali, comes as a timely boost for 29th meeting of the parties to Montreal Protocol, which starts next week in Montreal, Canada. This broader treaty is designed to protect the ozone layer.

Environment Minister Vincent Biruta, who is also the President of the 28th meeting of Montreal Protocol couldn’t hold his excitement after Sweden had deposited its ratification of Kigali deal.

“We did it! With Sweden ratifying today, the Kigali Amendment has reached the 20-country threshold needed to enter into force. Thank you to everyone who made this historic moment possible!” Biruta tweeted.

A joint statement from High Ambition Coalition members on the Kigali Amendment, released on Friday night noted that the Kigali Amendment was “a significant step” towards staying within the temperature limits we agreed in Paris.

“Today – on the final day of COP23 – we crossed the threshold required for the Amendment to enter into force in 2019. The fact that this has been achieved just over a year since the Amendment was adopted in Kigali is a massive political signal of our determination to phase down HFCs, and of our commitment to a multilateral approach to tackling climate change,” the statement reads in part.

“The High Ambition Coalition played a big role in securing the Amendment last year, and a big role in driving its ratification this year. More than half of the first countries that have ratified the Amendment are from the High Ambition Coalition. With the next meeting of the Montreal Protocol convening next week in Canada, we hope the rest of the world can also join this vital Amendment and start work on implementing it,” the statement added.

Signatories to statement include; Minister Biruta; Minister-in-Assistance to the President and Environment Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands David Paul; Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy European Union and Andrew Yatilma, the Director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management Federated States of Micronesia. 

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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