**** LATEST NEWS! ****

 

ZMWG Blog

Summary of the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

24th-29th September, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, 24th-29th of September 2017 and intervened as appropriate[1]. We were pleased to see the COP1 reached consensus on pending matters from prior meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) which resulted in establishing an effective Convention operational framework for achieving significant mercury reductions.

Our main priorities for COP1 included adoption of forms and guidance that was approved at INC 7, and addressing the issues of reporting, waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, effectiveness evaluation, and matters for future action, which included the following decisions.

  • Article 3 guidance on identifying mercury stocks, and the forms/instructions for complying with mercury trade consent and related certification requirements;
  • The product and process exemption forms and associated register of exemptions under Article 6 of the Convention; a registrar will be kept by the Secretariat and these will also be available to the public
  • Article 8 (air emissions) guidance on BAT/ BEP, options for existing facility control requirements, preparing emissions inventories, and selection of “relevant sources” within the specified source categories; and
  • The Guidance for preparing the ASGM National Action Plan (NAP) under article 7.

COP1 also saw significant progress concerning various other ZMWG priorities, including :

Reporting:          Forms were adopted for use by Parties to report back on the measures undertaken to meet Convention obligations and on the effectiveness of those measures.  In particular, ZMWG most welcomed the decision for a shorter reporting cycle for supply and trade, reporting per year data on a biennial basis. For other obligations, Parties will report every four years. It was also agreed that each Party will submit its first biennial report by 31 December 2019 and its first full report by December 2021. Parties are also encouraged to submit an electronic form,  and the Secretariat is requested to make the Parties electronic reports available.

Furthermore, it was agreed that Parties would provide access to their data related to mercury emissions, under Article 8. Parties would also provide the rational on how they plan to ensure that facilities responsible for at least 75% of the emissions from a source category are subject to controls.

Waste Thresholds:          COP1 established an intercessional work group to further elaborate on waste thresholds, building on a document introduced by Japan. As recommended by NRDC/ZMWG, the terms of reference for the working group were focused more on determining which mercury wastes warrant thresholds rather than assuming thresholds are appropriate for all wastes. The expert group will identify the types of waste that fall within the categories specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11, provide related information; prioritising the types of waste identified that are most relevant for the establishment of waste thresholds, and identify possible approaches to establishing any needed thresholds for those prioritised waste for consideration at COP2. We were also pleased to see COP1 approving the participation of civil society within the working group, another ZMWG priority.

Interim Storage:                             COP1 requested the Secretariat to undertake further revision of the draft guidelines through input from relevant experts, including technical experts from the Basel Convention and present a revised draft for consideration at COP2. Provisional use of the current draft guidelines is encouraged.

Effectiveness Evaluation:             COP1 adopted a draft road map for establishing arrangements both for providing comparable monitoring data and elements of an effectiveness evaluation framework, as ZMWG had sought.  To that end an ad hoc group of experts was established including 25 experts nominated by the Parties – 5 per region, as well as 10 civil society experts, including NGOs, as observers.

Matters for Future Action (Article 3) - (Article 14):              Several matters were brought up for consideration. Under Article 3, trade in mercury compounds was one of several issued identified for future consideration by the COP. In regards to Article 14 – Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, Parties and other stakeholder were invited to submit relevant information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the Secretariat to compile and present at COP2.

Despite progress made, challenges remain, both related to the location and structure of the Minamata Convention Secretariat and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the financial mechanism of the Convention with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The Secretariat will be temporarily located in Geneva, with further review of arrangements at COP2.

In summary, the final road map is now in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury pollution, but critical work remains.   ZMWG looks forward to a productive second meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Geneva 19-23 November 2018.   



[1] All ZMWG interventions are available on our website http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_content&;;view=article&id=309:unenvironment-minamata-mercury-cop1-24-29-september-2017-geneva-switzerland&catid=54:developments-main-category&Itemid=104

Home Press Releases Environmental NGOs and Indigenous Nations urge immediate action to reduce Global Mercury Pollution a...
Environmental NGOs and Indigenous Nations urge immediate action to reduce Global Mercury Pollution at upcoming UNEP meeting PDF Print
Friday, 18 February 2005 01:00
NRDC_logoeeb_logogreenpeaceban_hg_logo

(Brussels/Nairobi 18/2/2005) Environmental NGOs and indigenous nation representatives1 are urging

Governments to take action against global mercury pollution by taking immediate steps to reduce mercury contamination, through use and emission reduction, while developing an international binding agreement on mercury. The above mentioned groups will be participating at the UNEP Governing Council (GC) on 21-25 February 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, where mercury is on the agenda. Some of them will also participate at the Global Civil Society Forum, 19-20 February, Nairobi, which forms the main entry point for Civil Society to participate at the governance level. It agenda mirrors the GC’s agenda.

“We urge the UNEP Governing Council to follow the lead of the EU Mercury strategy, adopted

in January 2005,” said Elena Lymberidi , “Zero Mercury Campaign” Project Co-ordinator, EEB. “The European Commission’s advocacy of a global phase-out of mercury primary production, and encouraging countries to stop surpluses re-entering the market, by presenting an initiative similar to the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances, should become the central discussion at the UNEP Governing Council meeting.”

The environmental NGOs and indigenous nation representatives propose and urge support from the State members participating at the UNEP Governing Council for the following concrete measures:

> Improve the tracking of global mercury trade to facilitate transparency and coordinated global action.

> Adopt global goals of a 50% reduction in mercury consumption by 2010 and an 80% reduction by 2015, versus 2000 levels.2

> Prevent the introduction of surplus mercury into the global marketplace by immediately terminating subsidies to primary mercury mines, phasing-out primary mercury production by

1 Environmental NGOS include:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), www.nrdc.org, is a private, U.S. not-for-profit environmental organization that uses science, law, and the support of more 500,000 members nationwide to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places, and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.,

The European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of more then 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all EU Member States and most Accession Countries, as well as in a few neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and international. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

The Ban Mercury Working Group, www.ban.org/Ban-Hg-Wg/, is an international coalition of 27 public interest non­governmental organisations from around the world formed initially in 2002 by 2 US based NGOs, the Basel Action Network (www.ban.org) and the Mercury Policy Project (www.Mercurypolicy.org). working to end pollution from the toxic metal -- Mercury.

Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org

And with the support of NGOs from India (Toxics Link), China (Global Village of Beijing), Brazil (Association for Combats against the POPS), South Africa (groundWork-Friends of the Earth South Aftrica) and traditional indigenous nations in the U.S. and Alaska (International Indian Treaty Council)

2 See environmental NGO comments to UNEP at: http://www.mercurypolicy.org/new/documents/UNEP_Comments_070104.pdf


2010; and storing excess mercury from decommissioned mercury chlor-alkali plants and potentially other sources.

> End the manufacture and trade of mercury-containing soaps and cosmetics, and educate health professionals and populations at risk about the adverse human health effects attributable to use of these products.

> Promote the phase-out of mercury use in batteries, paints, switches, relays, measuring devices, and potentially other products and processes where non-mercury alternatives exist or become available over the next ten years by targeting key countries or regions where production or consumption is substantial, encouraging inventory preparation in such countries or regions, and sharing information on alternative technologies, and relevant laws and standards.

> Develop and implement a global strategy to promote the use of non-mercury and lower mercury use technologies in small-scale gold mining.

> Control the largest global source of mercury emissions by employing best available technology on the larger coal-fired power plants by 2012 and all coal-fired power plants by 2017.

> Encourage voluntary contributions sufficient to support the above mentioned actions, the creation of a mercury unit within UNEP, and ensure the active participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, ecosystems and wildlife. High doses can be fatal to humans, but even relatively low doses have serious adverse effects on the central nervous, cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Mercury has no respect for national or regional boundaries as it travels great distances through the atmosphere. It has contaminated global food supplies at levels which pose a significant risk to human health, according to medical and public health professionals around the world.

Linda Greer, NRDC, www.nrdc.org, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text40452 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , tel: +1 202 2896868

Elena Lymberidi, EEB, www.eeb.org, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text41657 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , tel: +32 2 2891301; +32 496 532818

Kevin Brigden, Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text33882 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , tel :+ :+44 7968 844906;

Michael Bender,Ban Mercury Working Group, www.ban.org/Ban-Hg-Wg/, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text36880 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , + 1 802 249 8543 or +1 802-223-9000.