Happy New Year

As the first day of 2010 dawns, the world is waking up to a new reality, one springing from an unparalleled confidence in human ingenuity and a collective belief that "we can".

This reality liberates us from the shackles a group of man-made chemicals that have threatened life on Earth: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons among others. These substances deplete our planet's protective shield, the stratospheric ozone layer, which prevents excessive harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching humans, plants and animals. From 2010 on, subsequent generations will know about CFCs and halons only from the pages of history books, since no new production is allowed from 1st January 2010.

This date is a defining moment in the history of multilateral environmental agreements and a beacon of hope that success on seemingly insurmountable and challenging global environmental problems is achievable. This hope is echoed all over the world by the ministers, key officials, industries, academia and civil society.

Listen to these echoes, their resounding messages and images.