With the impact of ozone-depleting substances already reduced to 2 per cent of their effect during peak years, representatives of the world’s governments are meeting in Dakar, Senegal to plan the complete elimination of chemicals that destroy the protective layer of the earth’s atmosphere, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) reported today.From 12 to 16 December, parties to the UNEP-developed Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer will mark its 20th anniversary and plan its next phase, along with that of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the successful annex that assists developing countries to rid themselves of ozone-depleting chemicals. The Protocol’s Technology and Economic Assessment Panel is recommending that developed countries provide approximately $439 million over the next three years to support the phase-out by replenishing the multilateral fund that has assisted the transfer of ozone-friendly technologies and know-how to virtually every developing country in the world. The process has enabled these countries to surpass their phase-out goals and reduce their consumption of ozone-depleting substances by over 60 per cent, UNEP said. “The Montreal Protocol clearly demonstrates that, once they have access to technical and financial resources, developing countries are ready, willing and able to take aggressive action to protect the global environment,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “The multilateral fund has proven itself highly effective in supporting national phase-out programmes, and it deserves the strongest possible support for enabling developing countries to achieve the Protocol’s ambitious goals for the years ahead,” he said. Since the adoption of the Vienna Convention in 1985, followed by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, the international ozone regime has expanded to address almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals for refrigeration, electronics, foam-making and other industries, some of which also contribute to global warming. While developed countries have already phased out virtually all uses of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), historically the greatest cause of ozone destruction, a number of them have been unable to meet the agreed 2005 phase-out target for methyl bromide, an agricultural fumigant they claim is hard to replace, UNEP said. Developing countries have until 2015 to phase out this chemical.