About the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Vienna Convention) was agreed in 1985. It established global monitoring and reporting on ozone depletion. It also created a framework for the development of protocols for taking more binding action.

The Montreal Protocol under the Vienna Convention (the protocol) was agreed in 1987. It facilitates global cooperation in reversing the rapid decline in atmospheric concentrations of ozone, a gas that protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful radiation. Under the protocol countries agreed to phase out the production and consumption of certain chemicals that deplete ozone. Phase out of these substances is required by specific deadlines.

The Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol are the first and only global environmental treaties to achieve universal ratification, with 197 parties.

New Zealand’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol

New Zealand’s obligations under the protocol are implemented through the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 and the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996 [NZ Legislation website].

For more information see Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 on this website.

New Zealand has phased out all required substances

New Zealand has phased out the import of all required ozone-depleting substances in accordance with the Montreal Protocol. The import of halons was phased out by 1994 and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), other fully halogenated CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and hydrobromofluorocarbons were phased out by 1996. The import of methyl bromide for non-quarantine and pre-shipment purposes ended in 2007. Imports of HCFCs ended in 2015.

Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are potent greenhouse gases that can have global-warming potentials of up to 14,800 times that of carbon dioxide. The phase down of HFCs therefore has a significant role in mitigating climate change.

New Zealand, along with 196 other countries, adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide.

New Zealand has completed the domestic processes required to meet the Kigali Amendment’s obligations, and will ratify it on 3 October 2019 so it enters into force on 1 January 2020.

More information on New Zealand’s HFC phase-down

Find out more about the Montreal Protocol on the Ozone Secretariat website.

The ozone layer is on its way to recovery

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found in a 2018 report that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to long-term decreases in the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere and the ongoing recovery of the ozone layer.

Further information can be found in the WMO scientific assessment of ozone depletion 2018 report [United Nations Ozone Secretariat website].

Find out more

For information about New Zealand’s obligations under the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol contact the Ministry by emailing montreal@mfe.govt.nz.

For information about using ozone depleting substances contact the Environmental Protection Authority at ozone@epa.govt.nz, or see Ozone-depleting substances on their website.

Ozone depletion and its effects on New Zealand [NiWA website]

Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol