VIENNA CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE OZONE LAYER (1985) ENTRY INTO FORCE: 22 September 1988
The Parties to this Convention,
Aware of the potentially harmful impact on human health and the environment through modification of the ozone layer,
Recalling the pertinent provisions of the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, and in particular principle 21, which provides that "States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction,"
Taking into account the circumstances and particular requirements of developing countries,
Mindful of the work and studies proceeding within both international and national organizations and, in particular, of the World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer of the United Nations Environment Programme,
Mindful also of the precautionary measures for the protection of the ozone layer which have already been taken at the national and international levels,
Aware that measures to protect the ozone layer from modifications due to human activities require international co-operation and action and should be based on relevant scientific and technical considerations,
Aware also of the need for further research and systematic observations to further develop scientific knowledge of the ozone layer and possible adverse effects resulting from its modification,
Determined to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects resulting from modifications of the ozone layer,
HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
For the purposes of this Convention:
(a) Co-operate by means of systematic observations, research and information exchange in order to better understand and assess the effects of human activities on the ozone layer and the effects on human health and the environment from modification of the ozone layer
(b) Adopt appropriate legislative or administrative measures and co-operate in harmonizing appropriate policies to control, limit, reduce or prevent human activities under their. jurisdiction or control should it be found that these activities have or are likely
to have adverse effects resulting from modification or likely modification of the ozone layer;
(c) Co-operate in the formulation of agreed measures, procedures and standards for the implementation of this Convention, with a view to the adoption of protocols and annexes;
(d) Co-operate with competent international bodies to implement effectively this Convention and protocols to which they are party.
3. The provisions of this Convention shall in no way affect the right of Parties to adopt, in accordance with international law, domestic measures additional to those referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, nor shall they affect additional domestic measures already taken by a Party, provided that these measures are not incompatible with their obligations under this Convention.
4. The application of this article shall be based on relevant scientific and technical considerations.
Research and Systematic Observations
1. The Parties undertake, as appropriate, to initiate and cooperate in, directly or through competent international bodies, the conduct of research and scientific assessments on:
(a) The physical and chemical processes that may affect the ozone layer; (b) The human health and other biological effects deriving from any
modifications of the ozone layer, particularly those resulting from
changes in ultra-violet solar radiation having biological effects
(c) Climatic effects deriving from any modifications of the ozone layer; (d) Effects deriving from any modifications of the ozone layer and any
consequent change in UV-B radiation on natural and synthetic
materials useful to mankind;
(e) Substances, practices, processes and activities that may affect the
ozone layer, and their cumulative effects;
(f) Alternative substances and technologies;
(g) Related socio-economic matters; and as further elaborated in annexes
I and II.
2. The Parties undertake to promote or establish, as appropriate, directly or through competent international bodies and taking fully into account national legislation and relevant ongoing activities at both the national and international levels, joint or complementary programmes for systematic observation of the state of the ozone layer and other relevant parameters, as elaborated in annex I.
3. The Parties undertake to co-operate, directly or through competent international bodies, in ensuring the collection, validation and transmission of research and observational data through appropriate world data centres in a regular and timely fashion.
Co-operation in the Legal, Scientific and Technical Fields
(a) Facilitation of the acquisition of alternative technologies by other
(b) Provision of information on alternative technologies and equipment,
and supply of special manuals or guides to them;
(c) The supply of necessary equipment and facilities for research and
(d) Appropriate training of scientific and technical personnel.
Transmission of Information
The Parties shall transmit, through the secretariat, to the Conference of the Parties established under article 6 information on the measures adopted by them in implementation of this Convention and of protocols to which they are party in such form and at such intervals as the meetings of the parties to the relevant instruments may determine.
Conference of the Parties
The Conference of the Parties shall by consensus agree upon and adopt rules of procedure and financial rules for itself and for any subsidiary bodies it may establish, as well as financial provisions governing the functioning of the secretariat.
The Conference of the Parties shall keep under continuous review the implementation of this Convention, and, in addition, shall:
(a) Establish the form and the intervals for transmitting the information
to be submitted in accordance with article 5 and consider such
information as well as reports submitted by any subsidiary body;
(b) Review the scientific information on the ozone layer, on its possible
modification and on possible effects of any such modification;
(c) Promote, in accordance with article 2, the harmonization of
appropriate policies, strategies and measures for minimizing the
release of substances causing or likely to cause modification of the
ozone layer, and make recommendations on any other measures relating
to this Convention;
(d) Adopt, in accordance with articles 3 and 4, programmes for research,
systematic observations, scientific and technological co-operation,
the exchange of information and the transfer of technology and
(e) Consider and adopt, as required, in accordance with articles 9 and
10, amendments to this Convention and its annexes;
(f) Consider amendments to any protocol, as well as to any annexes
thereto, and, if so decided, recommend their adoption to the parties
to the protocol concerned;
(g) Consider and adopt, as required, in accordance with article 10,
additional annexes to this Convention;
(h) Consider and adopt, as required, protocols in accordance with article
(i) Establish such subsidiary bodies as are deemed necessary for the
implementation of this Convention;
(j) Seek, where appropriate, the services of competent international
bodies and scientific committees, in particular the World
Meteorological Organization and the World Health Organization, as
well as the Co-ordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer, in scientific
research, systematic observations and other activities pertinent to
the objectives of this Convention, and make use as appropriate of
information from these bodies and committees;
(k) Consider and undertake any additional action that may be required for
the achievement of the purposes of this Convention.
5. The United Nations, its specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as any State not party to this Convention, may be represented at meetings of the Conference of the Parties by observers. Any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or nongovernmental, qualified in fields relating to the protection of the ozone layer which has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties as an observer may be admitted unless at least one-third of the Parties present object. The admission and participation of observers shall be subject to the rules of procedure adopted by the Conference of the Parties.
1. The functions of the secretariat shall be:
(a) To arrange for and service meetings provided for in articles 6, 8, 9
(b) To prepare and transmit reports based upon information received in
accordance with articles 4 and 5, as well as upon information derived
from meetings of subsidiary bodies established under article 6;
(c) To perform the functions assigned to it by any protocols;
(d) To prepare reports on its activities carried out in implementation of
its functions under this Convention and present them to the
Conference of the Parties;
(e) To ensure the necessary co-ordination with other relevant
international bodies, and in particular to enter into such
administrative and contractual arrangements as may be required for
the effective discharge of its functions;
(f) To perform such other functions as may be determined by the
Conference of the Parties.
2. The secretariat functions will be carried out on an interim basis by the United Nations Environment Programme until the completion of the first ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties held pursuant to article 6. At its first ordinary meeting, the Conference of the Parties shall designate the secretariat from amongst those existing competent international organizations which has signified their willingness to carry out the secretariat functions under this Convention.
Adoption of Protocols
Amendment of the Convention or Protocols
Adoption and Amendment of Annexes
(a) Annexes to this Convention shall be proposed and adopted according to
the procedure laid down in article 9, paragraphs 2 and 3, while
annexes to any protocol shall be proposed and adopted according to
the procedure laid down in article 9, paragraphs 2 and 4;
(b) Any party that is unable to approve an additional annex to this
Convention or an annex to any protocol to which it is party shall so
notify the Depositary, in writing, within six months from the date of
the communication of the adoption by the Depositary. The Depositary
shall without delay notify all Parties of any such notification
received. A Party may at any time substitute an acceptance for a
previous declaration of objection and the annexes shall thereupon
enter into force for that Party;
(c) On the expiry of six months from the date of the circulation of the
communication by the Depositary, the annex shall become effective for
all Parties to this Convention or to any protocol concerned which
have not submitted a notification in accordance with the provision of
subparagraph (b) above.
3. The proposal, adoption and entry into force of amendments to annexes to this Convention or to any protocol shall be subject to the same procedure as for the proposal, adoption and entry into force of annexes to the Convention or annexes to a protocol. Annexes and amendments thereto shall take due account, inter alia, of relevant scientific and technical considerations.
4. If an additional annex or an amendment to an annex involves an amendment to this Convention or to any protocol, the additional annex or amended annex shall not enter into force until such time as the amendment to this Convention or to the protocol concerned enters into force.
Settlement of Disputes
(a) Arbitration in accordance with procedures to be adopted by the
Conference of the Parties at its first ordinary meeting;
(b) Submission of the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
4. If the parties have not, in accordance with paragraph 3 above, accepted the same or any procedure, the dispute shall be submitted to conciliation in accordance with paragraph 5 below unless the parties otherwise agree.
5. A conciliation commission shall be created upon the request of one of the parties to the dispute. The commission shall be composed of an equal number of members appointed by each party concerned and a chairman chosen jointly by the members appointed by each party. The commission shall render a final and recommendatory award, which the parties shall consider in good faith.
6. The provisions of this article shall apply with respect to any protocol except as otherwise provided in the protocol concerned.
This Convention shall be open for signature at the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria in Vienna from 22 March 1985 to 21 September 1985, and at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22 September 1985 to 21 March 1986.
Ratification, Acceptance or Approval
1. This Convention and any protocol shalt be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by States and by regional economic integration
organizations. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Depositary.
2. Any organization referred to in paragraph 1 above which becomes a Party to this Convention or any protocol without any of its member States being a Party shall be bound by all the obligations under the Convention or the protocol as the case may be. In the case of such organizations, one or more of whose member States is a Party to the Convention or relevant protocol, the organization and its member Stales shall decide on their respective responsibilities for the performance of their obligation under the Convention or protocol, as the case may be. In such cases, the organization and the member States shall not be entitled to exercise rights under the Convention or relevant protocol concurrently.
3. In their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval, the organizations referred to in paragraph 1 above shall declare the extent of their competence with respect to the matters governed by the Convention or the relevant protocol. These organizations shall also inform the Depositary of any substantial modification in the extent of their competence.
Right to Vote
Relationship Between the Convention and its Protocols
Entry into Force
No reservations may be made to this Convention.
(a) The signature of this Convention and of any protocol, and the deposit
of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession in
accordance with articles 13 and 14;
(b) The date on which the Convention and any protocol will come into
force in accordance with article 17;
(c) Notifications of withdrawal made in accordance with article 19;
(d) Amendments adopted with respect to the Convention and any protocol,
their acceptance by the parties and their date of entry into force in
accordance with article 9;
(e) All communications relating to the adoption and approval of annexes
and to the amendment of annexes in accordance with article 10;
(f) Notifications by regional economic integration organizations of the
extent of their competence with respect to matters governed by this
Convention and any protocols, and of any modifications thereof.
(g) Declarations made in accordance with article 11, paragraph 3.
The original of this Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized to that effect, have signed this Convention.
Done at Vienna on the 22nd day of March 1985
Research and Systematic Observations
1. The Parties to the Convention recognize that the major scientific issues are:
(a) Modification of the ozone layer which would result in a change in the
amount of solar ultra-violet radiation having biological effects
(UV-B) that reaches the Earth's surface and the potential
consequences for human health, for organisms, ecosystems and
materials useful to mankind;
(b) Modification of the vertical distribution of ozone, which could
change the temperature structure of the atmosphere and the potential
consequences for weather and climate.
2. The Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 3, shall co-operate in conducting research and systematic observations and in formulating recommendations for future research and observation in such areas as:
(a) Research into the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere
(i) Comprehensive theoretical models: further development of models
which consider the interaction between radiative, dynamic and
chemical processes; studies of the simultaneous effects of various
man-made and naturally occurring species upon atmospheric ozone;
interpretation of satellite and non-satellite measurement data sets;
evaluation of trends in atmospheric and geophysical parameters, and
the development of methods for attributing changes in these
parameters to specific causes;
(ii) Laboratory studies of: rate coefficients, absorption
cross-sections and mechanisms of tropospheric and stratospheric
chemical and photochemical processes; spectroscopic data to support
field measurements in all relevant spectral regions;
(iii) Field measurements: the concentration and fluxes of key source
gases of both natural and anthropogenic origin; atmospheric dynamics
studies; simultaneous measurements of photochemically-related species
down to the planetary boundary layer, using in situ and remote
sensing instruments; intercomparison of different sensors, including
co-ordinated correlative measurements for satellite instrumentation;
three-dimensional fields of key atmospheric trace constituents, solar
spectral flux and meteorological parameters;
(iv) Instrument development, including satellite and non-satellite
sensors for atmospheric trace constituents, solar flux and
(b) Research into health, biological and photodegradation effects
(i) The relationship between human exposure to visible and
ultra-violet solar radiation and (a) the development of both
non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer and (b) the effects on the
(ii) Effects of UV-B radiation, including the wavelength dependence,
upon (a) agricultural crops, forests and other terrestrial ecosystems
and (b) the aquatic food web and fisheries, as well as possible
inhibition of oxygen production by marine phytoplankton;
(iii) The mechanisms by which UV-B radiation acts on biological
materials, species and ecosystems, including: the relationship
between dose, dose rate, and response; photorepair, adaptation, and
(iv) Studies of biological action spectra and the spectral response
using polychromatic radiation in order to include possible
interactions of the various wavelength regions;
(v) The influence of UV-B radiation on: the sensitivities and
activities of biological species important to the biospheric balance;
primary processes such as photosynthesis and biosynthesis;
(vi) The influence of UV-B radiation on the photodegradation of
pollutants, agricultural chemicals and other materials;
(c) Research on effects on climate
(i) Theoretical and observational studies of the radiative effects of
ozone and other trace species and the impact on climate parameters,
such as land and ocean surface temperatures, precipitation patterns,
the exchange between the troposphere and stratosphere;
(ii) The investigation of the effects of such climate impacts on
various aspects of human activity;
(d) Systematic observations on:
(i) The status of the ozone layer (i.e. the spatial and temporal
variability of the total column content and vertical distribution) by
making the Global Ozone Observing System, based on the integration of
satellite and ground-based systems, fully operational;
(ii) The tropospheric and stratospheric concentrations of source
gases for the HOx, NOx, ClOx and carbon families;
(iii) The temperature from the ground to the mesosphere, utilizing
both ground-based and satellite systems;
(iv) Wavelength-resolved solar flux reaching, and thermal radiation
leaving, the Earth's atmosphere, utilizing satellite measurements;
(v) Wavelength-resolved solar flux reaching the Earth's surface in
the ultra-violet range having biological effects (UV-B);
(vi) Aerosol properties and distribution from the ground to the
mesosphere, utilizing ground-based, airborne and satellite systems;
(vii) Climatically important variables by the maintenance of
programmes of high-quality meteorological surface measurements;
(viii) Trace species, temperatures, solar flux and aerosols utilizing
improved methods for analysing global data.
3. The Parties to the Convention shall co-operate, taking into account the particular needs of the developing countries, in promoting the appropriate scientific and technical training required to participate in the research and systematic observations outlined in this annex. Particular emphasis should be given to the intercalibration of observational instrumentation and methods with a view to generating comparable or standardized scientific data sets.
4. The following chemical substances of natural and anthropogenic origin, not listed in order of priority, are thought to have the potential to modify the chemical and physical properties of the ozone layer.
(a) Carbon substances
(i) Carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide has significant natural and anthropogenic sources,
and is thought to play a major direct role in tropospheric
photochemistry, and an indirect role in stratospheric photochemistry.
(ii) Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide has significant natural and anthropogenic sources, and
affects stratospheric ozone by influencing the thermal structure of
(iii) Methane (CH4)
Methane has both natural and anthropogenic sources, and affects both
tropospheric and stratospheric ozone.
(iv) Non-methane hydrocarbon species
Non-methane hydrocarbon species, which consist of a large number of
chemical substances, have both natural and anthropogenic sources, and
play a direct role in tropospheric photochemistry and an indirect
role in stratospheric photochemistry.
(b) Nitrogen substances
(i) Nitrous oxide (N2O)
The dominant sources of N2O are natural, but anthropogenic
contributions are becoming increasingly important. Nitrous oxide is
the primary source of stratospheric NOx, which play a vital role in
controlling the abundance of stratospheric ozone.
(ii) Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Ground-level sources of NOx play a major direct role only in
tropospheric photochemical processes and an indirect role in
stratosphere photochemistry, whereas injection of NOx close to the
tropopause may lead directly to a change in upper tropospheric and
(c) Chlorine substances
(i) Fully halogenated alkanes, e.g. CCl4, CFCl3 (CFC-11), CF2Cl2
(CFC-12), C2F3Cl3 (CFC-113), C2F4Cl2 (CFC-114)
Fully halogenated alkanes are anthropogenic and act as a source of
ClOx, which plays a vital role in ozone photochemistry, especially in
the 30-50 km altitude region.
(ii) Partially halogenated alkanes, e.g. CH3Cl, CHF2Cl (CFC-22),
CH3CCl3, CHFCl2 (CFC-21)
The sources of CH3Cl are natural, whereas the other partially
halogenated alkanes mentioned above are anthropogenic in origin.
These gases also act as a source of stratospheric ClOx.
(d) Bromine substances
Fully halogenated alkanes, e.g. CF3Br
These gases are anthropogenic and act as a source of BrOx, which
behaves in a manner similar to ClOx.
(e) Hydrogen substances
(i) Hydrogen (H2)
Hydrogen, the source of which is natural and anthropogenic, plays a
minor role in stratospheric photochemistry.
(ii) Water (H2O)
Water, the source of which is natural, plays a vital role in both
tropospheric and stratospheric photochemistry. Local sources of water
vapour in the stratosphere include the oxidation of methane and, to a
lesser extent, of hydrogen.
This includes information on:
(a) Planned and ongoing research, both governmental and private, to
facilitate the co-ordination of research programmes so as to make the
most effective use of available national and international resources; (b) The emission data needed for research;
(c) Scientific results published in peer-reviewed literature on the
understanding of the physics and chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere
and of its susceptibility to change, in particular on the state of
the ozone layer and effects on human health, environment and climate
which would result from changes on all time-scales in either the
total column content or the vertical distribution of ozone;
(d) The assessment of research results and the recommendations for future
4. Technical information
This includes information on:
(a) The availability and cost of chemical substitutes and of alternative
technologies to reduce the emissions of ozone-modifying substances
and related planned and ongoing research;
(b) The limitations and any risks involved in using chemical or other
substitutes and alternative technologies.
5. Socio-economic and commercial information on the substances referred to in annex I
This includes information on:
(a) Production and production capacity;
(b) Use and use patterns;
(d) The costs, risks and benefits of human activities which may
indirectly modify the ozone layer and of the impacts of regulatory
actions taken or being considered to control these activities.
6. Legal information
This includes information on:
(a) National laws, administrative measures and legal research relevant to
the protection of the ozone layer;
(b) International agreements, including bilateral agreements, relevant to
the protection of the ozone layer;
(c) Methods and terms of licensing and availability of patents relevant
to the protection of the ozone layer.