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International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2023 🌎

Message by the Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Hon. Shawn Edward

Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Hon. Shawn Edward
Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Hon. Shawn Edward

“Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change.”

LADIES and gentlemen, boys and girls, 

Today, on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or World Ozone Day 2023, we come together to celebrate a remarkable milestone. It has been 30 years since Saint Lucia joined the global effort to protect our precious ozone by ratifying the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. As the Minister responsible for Sustainable Development in Saint Lucia, I am deeply honored to address you today and share the positive impact that the Montreal Protocol has had on our environment and the significant progress we are making towards reducing global warming through the Kigali Amendment, all in line with this year’s theme: “Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change.”

The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, stands as a testament to the power of international cooperation when it comes to addressing global environmental challenges. It was an urgent response to the alarming depletion of the ozone layer caused primarily by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances or ODSs, which were mainly used as refrigerants in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. Today, we can proudly say that this collective effort has borne fruit, as we witness the gradual recovery of the ozone layer, thanks to the phase-out of almost 99% of ODSs at the global level.

In Saint Lucia, we took this global challenge seriously, and in 2008, we successfully phased out the use of CFCs. Furthermore, we are actively working towards the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2030, aligning our efforts with the international community’s goals.

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Today, I want to emphasize the crucial role of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which Saint Lucia ratified in 2021. The Kigali Amendment focuses on reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which replaced ozone-depleting substances, but are potent greenhouse gases with a high global warming potential. By reducing HFCs and improving efficiency in the cooling sector, we are not only protecting the ozone layer, but also significantly contributing to mitigating climate change.

Saint Lucia is currently taking robust measures to implement the Kigali Amendment effectively. We are developing a comprehensive plan to ensure that we meet our HFC reduction targets. Our first target is to ensure that in 2024, the consumption of HFCs in Saint Lucia does not increase above the amount of HFCs used on island between the years of 2020-2022. To achieve this, we are currently reviewing our legislation to establish tighter controls on the import of refrigerants and related equipment. Additionally, we plan to introduce a quota system for HFCs and to also transition to an electronic licensing system for refrigerants by the end of this year. We are also investing in training programs for refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians, to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills required for responsible refrigerant management and the safe handling of flammable refrigerants.

Furthermore, our Customs Officers play a pivotal role as the first line of defense against the import of controlled substances. We are actively training them to identify and manage the importation of ODSs and HFCs, thereby strengthening our control measures.

But our success doesn’t rest solely on government initiatives. The engagement of the general public is vital in this endeavor. We encourage everyone to make informed choices when purchasing and using cooling appliances. Opting for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly systems not only helps protect the planet, but it also helps you to save money on your electricity bills!

As we move forward, let us remember that our actions today will shape the world of tomorrow. Climate change remains one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and by implementing the Kigali Amendment, we are not only fixing the ozone layer, but also taking a significant step towards reducing the impacts of climate change.

Let us commit ourselves to a greener, more sustainable future. Happy World Ozone Day 2023! I thank you.

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