The Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was established in 1987 and to date more than 160 countries have signed up to the initial agreement. The Protocol has been amended in 1990, 1992, 1997 and 1999 in Beijing, including more substances and advancing the phaseout schedules. As a result of the Protocol and its amendments, the ozone layer is expected to recover slowly within the next 50 years. The duration of the maximum ozone depletion and the speed of the recovery is however dependent on full compliance and on all Parties signing up to the amendments.
The Parties to the Montreal Protocol, who met in Beijing, China, from 29 November to 3 December 1999, agreed supplies of ozone damaging chemicals shipped from developed to developing countries will be limited. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) from developed countries are presently being sold cheaply in developing countries, making their move to cleaner but more costly alternatives difficult. The decision reached in Beijing will eliminate this practice by successively phasing out all CFC production in developed countries and hence the supply of cheap CFCs to developing countries. CFC chemicals were widely used before they were banned in 1996 in Europe. They are a major cause of ozone depletion.