Commemorating 36 Years of partnership and progress under the Montreal Protocol_2.png

Good for people and planet: Commemorating 36 Years of partnership and progress under the Montreal Protocol 



Annually, on 16 September, the world celebrates World Ozone Day as a reminder of the significance of the ozone layer, a vital part of the earth’s stratosphere, which shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and its importance for our environment and well-being. This year's theme, "Fixing the Ozone Layer and Reducing Climate Change," underscores the interrelation of these two environmental issues and emphasizes the imperative to act decisively.  

In commemoration of World Ozone Day, SEforALL joined GIZ, UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP and other partners for a tree planting exercise organized by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry of Kenya at the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology in Nakuru county.

While commending the United Nations and bilateral agencies for supporting the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in Kenya, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Engineer Festus Ng’eno announced funding from the European Union to mitigate damages caused by Rift Valley lakes, whose waters rose to unprecedented levels. 

Decades of Progress 

The Montreal Protocol is a 36-year-long universal cooperation initiative by all countries to stop using chemicals that had been destroying the Ozone layer, leading to improved health, resilience to climate change, safer ecosystems and a cooler planet: 

  • The Protocol phased out 99 percent of Ozone-Depleting Substances 
  • The ozone layer is recovering and on track to return to 1980 levels by 2066 
  • Global health benefits of about USD 1.8 trillion will protect hundreds of millions of people worldwide from skin cancers and eye cataracts 
  • Phasing out Ozone-Depleting Substances and potent greenhouse gases has prevented hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions 
  • In 2016, the Kigali Amendment was adopted, transforming the Montreal Protocol into a climate treaty by committing to phase out the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), resulting in the prevention of global warming by up to half a degree by the end of the century 

The Kigali Amendment, a Crucial Turning Point 

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is a pivotal step in global environmental efforts, recognizing the challenges posed by hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and the increasing demand for cooling worldwide. This amendment urgently addresses the production and consumption of HCFCs, potent greenhouse gases contributing to ozone layer depletion and climate change.  

Data from the Chilling Prospects analysis by SEforALL highlights the gravity of the situation, with over 1 billion people in impoverished areas facing the highest risk due to a lack of cooling access. Extreme heat caused the deaths of 356,000 people in 2019, a figure that was previously estimated at 12,000 in 2014. The Kigali Amendment addresses environmental concerns, global equity, and safety, underscoring the importance of sustainable solutions in refrigeration and air conditioning to meet future cooling needs and food preservation through cold chain initiatives. 

HCFCs were created to replace harmful ozone-depleting chemicals like CFCs. They contain chlorine but harm the ozone layer more slowly due to their shorter lifespan. On the other hand, HFCs don't have chlorine and don't harm the ozone layer. But they're potent greenhouse gases; some have a global warming impact thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide. 

“Kenya has demonstrated remarkable leadership by signing the Kigali Amendment on the Montreal Protocol on the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Minamata Convention on Mercury during the Africa Climate Summit held on 4 to 6 September in Nairobi, Kenya a few months after launching a National Cooling Action Plan to ensure accessible, sustainable, and implementable cooling solutions for all its citizens.,” said Elizabeth Wangeci Chege, Energy Efficiency and Cooling Specialist at SEforALL. 

“Kenya's proactive stance in becoming a cooling champion underscores the nation's commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges of safeguarding the ozone layer and mitigating climate change by prioritizing passive solutions that reduce the demand on energy consumption while simultaneously adopting highly efficient and renewable energy powered agricultural and healthcare cold chain technologies,” added Elizabeth. 

SEforALL's Commitment to Environmental Stewardship 

In a world of rising temperatures and increased heat risks, sustainable cooling becomes an essential equity concern, SEforALL is dedicated to advancing sustainable energy access while acknowledging the importance of ozone layer protection, climate change mitigation, and equitable access to sustainable cooling. While solutions like green spaces and energy-efficient cooling technologies exist, they must rapidly expand to reach vulnerable communities. SEforALL will continue to advocate for and work with partners to deliver affordable and sustainable cooling innovations, business models, and policies that benefit the vulnerable. 

SEforALL contributes valuable knowledge and data through initiatives like Cooling for All and Chilling Prospects, raising awareness through our Cooling Solutions Directory and the Cooling for All Solutions Tool, and campaigns like #ThisisCool. In addition, SEforALL champions youth-led sustainable cooling solutions through the "This Is Cool Challenge," providing funding, visibility, and networking opportunities. 

The Road Ahead 

As we commemorate World Ozone Day, let us reaffirm our dedication to ozone layer preservation, emphasizing international agreements like the Kigali Amendment, which underscores the importance of sustainable cooling solutions for vulnerable communities. To achieve this, we should educate ourselves about the ozone layer, invest in alternative technologies to replace ozone-depleting substances, raise awareness, and combat climate change. These efforts will forge a brighter, sustainable future for our planet, aligning with SEforALL's drive towards sustainable cooling for all.