It was a day to pause and celebrate an environmental success story. In the 1980s, the thinning ozone layer was one of the biggest environmental challenges facing humanity. Exactly 25 years ago, in a massive show of global cooperation, the world ratified the Montreal Protocol. According to scientists, the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun’s most harmful ultraviolet rays is on its way to recovery.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, welcomed Administrator Lisa Jackson of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with leaders from business, the non-government sector, science and academia, as well as staff from the US Department of State and the US EPA to the World Bank in Washington D.C.
The Montreal Protocol has overseen the phase-out of 98 percent of ozone-depleting substances worldwide earning the label of the `most successful environmental treaty’. By 2065, it’s estimated that actions to protect and restore the ozone layer will have prevented 6.3 million skin cancer deaths and saved $4.2 trillion in health costs in the US alone. Its global impact is many times greater.
The Protocol is the only global environmental agreement to boast universal ratification. Administrator Jackson said: “the remarkable progress we’ve seen is a direct result of the international partnership that has characterized this treaty. Countries all over the world have responded to the requirements of the Montreal Protocol with seriousness and national purpose.”
Acknowledging the work and dedication of scientists, politicians, civil society members, and development partners, President Kim said: “I am proud to say that we at the World Bank have played an important part in the 25 years of the Montreal Protocol’s success, including by channeling nearly $1 billion to help developing countries eliminate CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.”
The World Bank has been an Implementing Agency of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund since 1991 and supports the Global Environment Facility’s ozone work.