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Scientific Assessment Panel of Montreal Protocol Gets New Co-Chairs

Parties to the Montreal Protocol have selected David Fahey of the United States and Bonfils Safari of Rwanda to serve as co-chairs of the Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP).

Fahey and Safari were endorsed to serve on the panel by the parties during their 27th Meeting of the Parties (MOP27) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 1 to 5 November. They will co-chair the SAP with two other internationally renowned atmospheric scientists – Paul Newman and John Pyle.

Fahey is the director of the Chemical Sciences Division of the Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An internationally recognized scientist with 35 years of experience at the NOAA lab, he has contributed significantly to research related to climate, the stratosphere, and atmospheric composition, as well as to international assessment activities on those topics. He pioneered the Twenty Questions and Answers About the Ozone Layer booklet, which addresses some of the most commonly asked questions about the often-complex science of ozone depletion in an easy-to-understand way. He holds a PhD degree in physics from the University of Missouri, Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) in the United States.

Safari is a professor and the head of the Physics Department in the College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda. He has taught physics at the university for over 20 years and significantly contributed to research on atmospheric dynamics, solar radiation, climate variability and renewable energy over the years. He serves as an expert in the Inter-Institutional Committee on Climate Change and Climate Science Research and participates in various international forums on climate. He holds a PhD degree in physics from the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium.

Fahey and Safari succeed A.R. Ravishankara of the United States and Ayite-Lo Ajavon of Togo, who have retired from the panel after many years of exemplary service. At MOP27, parties honoured Ajavon and Ravishankara for their dedication, commitment, performance and invaluable contributions towards the protection of the ozone layer as SAP co-chairs.

The SAP assesses the status of the depletion and the recovery of the ozone layer and relevant atmospheric science issues. The SAP’s next quadrennial assessment expected in 2018 will review estimates of the levels of ozone layer depletion attributed to the remaining potential emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and assess the level of global emissions of ODSs below which the depletion of the ozone layer could be comparable to various factors, such as the natural variability of global ozone, its secular trend over a decadal timescale and the 1980 benchmark level, as requested by the parties at MOP27.

The three Assessment Panels of the Montreal Protocol – the SAP, the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel and the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel – comprise a large number of researchers, leading scientists and experts worldwide. They assess and provide up-to-date, independent and authoritative information that enables the parties to make informed decisions for the protection of the ozone layer.