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VIENNA CONVENTION

  • Vienna convention adopted in the year 1985 and entered into force in 1988.
  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer however it does not include legally binding reduction goals for the use of CFCs.
  • The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are dedicated to the protection of the earth’s ozone layer. With 197 parties, they are the most widely ratified treaties in United Nations history. Montreal Protocol
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer.
  • The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991
    (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).

India and Protection of Ozone Layer

  • India became a Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer on 19 June 1991 and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 17 September 1992.
  • Consequently, it ratified the Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments in 2003.
  • India produces CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, Halon-1211, HCFC-22, Halon-1301, Carbontetrachloride (CTC), methyl chloroform and methyl bromide. These ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are used in refrigeration and air conditioning, fire fighting, electronics, foams,aerosol fumigation applications.
  • A detailed India Country Programme for phase out of ODS was prepared in 1993 to ensure the phase out of ODS according to the national industrial developmen strategy, without undue burden to the consumers and the industry and for accessing the Protocol’s Financial Mechanism in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the Montreal Protocol.
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests established an Ozone Cell and a steering committee on the Montreal Protocol to facilitate implementation of the India Country Programme for phasing out ODS (ozone depleting substances)  production by 2010.
  • In order to meet the objectives of the Protocol, the Indian government has granted full exemption from payment of Customs and Central Excise Duties on import of goods designed exclusively for non-ODS technology.
  • India has also been facilitating implementation of the Montreal Protocol in South and South East Asia and the Pacific regions.

KIGALI AGREEMENT

  • Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer held in Kigali, Rwanda amended the 1987 Montreal Protocol to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were discontinued under the Montreal Protocol when scientists realised they were destroying the ozone layer.
  • HFCs were introduced in the 1990s as an alternative to replace chemicals that had been found to erode the ozone layer, but turned out to be catastrophic for global warming.
  • HFCs - though they are greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - are not dealt with under the Paris Agreement but under the Montreal Protocol.
  • The elimination of HFCs could reduce global warming by 0.5 degrees by 2100, according to a 2015 study by the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
  • However, swapping HFCs for alternatives such as ammonia, water or gases called hydrofluoroolefins could prove costly for developing countries with high summer temperatures, such as India.
  • The Kigali Agreement for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  • Under legally binding Kigali Amendment, 197 countries have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
  • Group 1 - Developed countries must reduce their use of HFCs by 10 percent by 2019 from 2011-2013 levels, and then by 85 percent by 2036.
  • A second group of developing countries, including China and African nations, are committed to launching the transition in 2024.
  • A reduction of 10 percent compared with 2020-2022 levels should be achieved by 2029, to be extended to 80 percent by 2045.
  • A third group of developing countries, which include India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Arab Gulf states, must begin the process in 2028 and reduce emissions by 10 percent by 2032 from 2024-2026 levels, and then by 85 percent by 2047.

Do you know?
The Rajasthan government is said to be setting up of a captive breeding centre for the Great Indian Bustard following a proposal made by the Wildlife Institute of India.

GLOBALLY IMPORTANT AGRICULTURAL HERITAGE SYSTEMS
The FAO recognizes the agricultural heritage regions of the world under a programme titled Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). The purpose of GIAHS is to recognize “Remarkable land use systems and landscapes which are rich in globally significant biological diversity evolving from the co-adaptation of a community with its environment and its needs and aspirations for sustainable development”.

In our country so far the following sites have received recognition under this programme:

  1. Traditional Agricultural System, Koraput, Odisha
  2. Below Sea Level Farming System, Kuttanad, Kerala

In the Koraput system, women have played a key role in the conservation of biodiversity. The Kuttanad system was developed by farmers over 150 years ago to ensure their food security by learning to cultivate rice and other crops below sea level. The Kuttanad System is now attracting worldwide attention since one of the effects of global warming is sea level rise. It has therefore been an act of vision on the part of Kerala government to have decided to set up an International Research and Training Centre for Below Sea Level Farming in Kuttanad.

MINAMATA CONVENTION
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. It was adopted in 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan. It also controls the trans-boundary movement of mercury. It does not include natural emissions of mercury.

Mercury is considered to be one of the most toxic metals known. Once released into the environment, mercury bioaccumulates and bio-magnifies up in the food chain, and easily enters the human body and impacts the nervous system.

The Minamata Convention requires that party
nations:

  • Reduce and where feasible eliminate the use and release of mercury from artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
  • Control mercury air emissions from coal-fired power plants, coal-fired industrial boilers, certain non-ferrous metals production operations, waste incineration,and cement production.
  • Phase-out or take measures to reduce mercury use in certain products such as batteries, switches, lights, cosmetics, pesticides and measuring devices, and create initiatives to reduce the use of mercury in dental amalgam.
  • Phase out or reduce the use of mercury in manufacturing processes such as chlor-alkali production, vinyl chloride monomer production, and acetaldehyde production.
  • In addition, the Convention addresses the supply and trade of mercury; safer storage and disposal, and strategies to address contaminated sites.
  • The Convention includes provisions for technical assistance, information exchange, public awareness, and research and monitoring. It also requires Parties to report on measures taken to implement certain provisions.The Convention will be periodically evaluated to assess its effectiveness in meeting its objective of protecting human health and the environment from mercury pollution.

The Minamata Convention entered into force on August 2017. The first CoP to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) took place in September 2017 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva. The COP2 will take
place in November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury along with flexibility for continued use of mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025 and depositing the instrument of ratification enabling India to become a Party of the Convention.

The document International Environmental Convention - 5 | Environment for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Environment for UPSC CSE.
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