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The Vienna Convention

In 1985, nations agreed in Vienna to take "appropriate measures...to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects resulting or likely to result from human activities which modify or are likely to modify the Ozone Layer", thus the Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was born.

The main thrust of the Convention was to encourage research and overall cooperation among countries and exchange of information. Even so it took four years to prepare and agree. Twenty nations signed it in Vienna, but most did not rush to ratify it. The Convention provided for future protocols and specified procedures for Amendment and dispute settlement.

The Vienna Convention set an important precedent. For the first time nations agreed in principle to tackle a global environmental problem before its effects were felt, or even scientifically proven.

As the experts began to explore for specific measures to be taken, the journal 'Nature' published a paper in May 1985 by British scientists - led by Dr. Joe Farman - about severe ozone depletion in the Antarctic. The paper's findings were confirmed by American satellite observations and offered the first proof of severe ozone depletion and making the need for definite measures more urgent. As a result, In September 1987, agreement was reached on specific measures to be taken and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed.

View the full text of the Vienna Convention (pdfs)   

  © Ozone Secretariat 2004