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Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to Continue Operations in 2021-2023

Governments reached several agreements to allow the continued functioning of the Vienna Convention or the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The November event was the first body serviced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to hold a virtual meeting that took multiple legally binding decisions. Parties reached agreements to ensure the continued operation of the Secretariat, the Multilateral Fund (MLF), and the various bodies of the Protocol.

The meetings provided a signal that “if something should be done, it can be done,” according to one official. Other matters were postponed until 2021. Parties reached agreements to ensure the continued operation of the Secretariat, the Multilateral Fund (MLF), and the various bodies of the Protocol.

The 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Part I) and the 32nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer took place in a combined, virtual format from 23-27 November 2020.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin reports that the agenda comprised urgent and essential items only, including: the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the triennium 2021-2023 (MLF); methyl bromide critical-use exemptions for 2021 and 2022; financial reports and budgets; and membership of the various Protocol bodies and assessment panels. 

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary of the meeting notes that the 2021-2023 replenishment of the MLF, which assists developing countries in meeting their obligations under the Montreal Protocol, was “the most important agenda item” as “parties had to ensure the MLF Secretariat could continue operating in 2021.” After four days of virtual contact group discussions, delegates agreed to roll over any unspent funds from the 2018-2020 triennium and allow the rollover balance to be used as an interim budget for 2021-2023. Parties also agreed “to authorize the Secretariat to arrange for an extraordinary MOP in 2021 to take a decision on the final programme budget for 2021-2023, should circumstances allow.”

 The parties also reached agreements on critical-use exemptions for ozone-depleting methyl bromide for 2021-2022. During the discussion, participants were informed that: amounts nominated for critical use continue to fall; atmospheric concentrations are declining; and reporting of stocks shows there have been higher levels of production than consumption for a number of years, leading to unknown quantities of unreported stocks.

Parties decided that the second part of COP 12 will be held in conjunction with MOP 33, which they agreed will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 25-29 October 2021. MOP 32 President Krajnik expressed hope that “the next MOP will be in-person rather than virtual.”

The Montreal Protocol, adopted in 1987, is considered the most successful multilateral environmental agreement. [ENB Summary of COP 12(I)/MOP 32] [COP 12(I)/MOP 32 Webpage]