June 19, 2021

Summary of Montreal Protocol on the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987

Environmental law

Introduction to Montreal Protocol on the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987

The Montreal protocol was adopted on 16th September 1987 and came into force on 1st January 1989.till date, 184 States are parties to this Protocol. It is the first and the only Protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer, 1985. The Protocol sets for the specific legal obligations, including limitations and reductions on the calculated levels of consumption and production of certain controlled ozone-depleting substances.

The original text of the Protocol was adopted in the year 1987 and has been subsequently amended and modified on several occasions. In 1990’s the Second Meeting of Parties (MoP) introduced certain important changes into the text of the Protocol. The Preamble was amended to include the reference to take into accounts the developmental needs of developing countries. [The Preamble thus, takes into account the needs of the Developing Nations and thereby referring directly to the concept of common But Differentiated Responsibilities of nations.] Since then, there have been many amendments in the years 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999.

There are 20 Articles and Five Annexures to this Protocol. Article 1 provides for definition clause. Article 2A-2I sets out the calculated levels of production of Controlled Substances such as CFC’s, Halons, Carbon Tetrachloride, Hydrofluorocarbons, Trychloroethane, Hydrobromofluorocarbons, Bromochloromethane, Methyl Bromide. [These are the only eight greenhouse gases or Controlled Substances covered under the both the Convention and the Protocol.]

Important Articles of Montreal Protocol on the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987

Article 4 establishes innovative trade provisions to achieve its environmental objectives. These measures address the trade in controlled substances by parties with States which are not parties to this Protocol.

As per Article 5 the Protocol includes the special provisions to take into account of the special needs of developing countries. [India has agreed to it.]

Article 5(1) of the Protocol provides that, any Party that is a developing country and whose annual calculated level of consumption of the controlled substances in Annex A is less than 0.3 kilograms per capita on the date of the entry into force of the Protocol for it, shall, in order to meet its basic domestic needs, be entitled to delay for ten years its compliance with the control measures set out in Articles 2A to 2E of the Protocol.

Article 6 provides that the parties shall assess in every four years, the control measures provided in Article 2 and Article 2A-2I on the basis of available scientific, environmental, technical and economic information.

Article 9 provides that the Parties shall co-operate, consistent with their national laws, regulations and practices and taking into account in particular the needs of developing countries, in promoting, directly or through competent international bodies, research, development and exchange of information on:

  • best technologies for improving the containment, recovery, recycling, or destruction of controlled substances or otherwise reducing their emissions;
  • possible alternatives to controlled substances, to products containing such substances, and to products manufactured with them; and
  • costs and benefits of relevant control strategies.

Article 10 of the Protocol, as amended in 1990 established a financial mechanism to provide for financial and technical co-operation, including the transfer of technologies, to parties operating under Articles 2A-2I of Amended Protocol. The mechanisms include a Multilateral Fund to finance certain clearing houses functions. It is financed by contributions from parties not operating under Article 5(1).

Article 11 talks about Meeting of Parties [MoP]. Accordingly, the most important function of MoP is to periodically review the implementation of this Protocol and provide for additions to and amendments to the Protocols or the Annexures provided under it. 

Article 18 confirms that there can be no reservations to this Protocol.

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