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As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, ZMWG International Coordinator
T: +32 2 2891301,   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Michael Bender, ZMWG International Coordinator, T: +1 802 917 8222,    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

David Lennett, Natural Resources Defense Council, T:  +1 202 460 8517    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of over 95 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from more than 50 countries from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project.  ZMWG strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum.  Our mission is to advocate and support the adoption and implementation of a legally binding instrument which contains mandatory obligations to eliminate where feasible, and otherwise minimize, the global supply and trade of mercury, the global demand for mercury, anthropogenic releases of mercury to the environment, and human and wildlife exposure to mercury.

Home Press Releases Aiming high for a robust mercury treaty!
Aiming high for a robust mercury treaty! PDF Print
Monday, 07 June 2010 01:00
Swedish_society_for_natureIPEN_logozeromercury_logo

 

For Immediate Release 7 June 2010

[Stockholm, Sweden, 7th June 2010] As delegates from more than 100 countries today begin negotiating a treaty to control global mercury pollution, a coalition of environmental NGOs and indigenous nation representativesi from around the world are calling on them to curb the rising tide of mercury pollution worldwide. Mercury has contaminated global food supplies at levels, which pose a significant risk to human health, and exposure to methylmercury places the developing fetus and young children most at risk.

"Toxic heavy metal exposures, especially mercury are all around us, and continue to rise. No matter if you are rich or poor or from one country or another, mercury knows no boundaries. Sweden is the first country in the world with a principal ban of mercury in products. Now we want the other countries to follow our lead" says Mikael Karlsson, President of SSNC.

"Developing a strong treaty is a critical first step towards solving the global mercury crisis," said Michael Bender, co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group.

Mercury is toxic heavy metal that is never broken down in the environment, and instead, it accumulates in our air, water, and food supply, becoming more concentrated as it moves up the food chain and poisons people the world over. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, mercury travels around the world and deposits both near and far from the sources where it is released. Indeed, many small countries with no significant sources of pollution are exposed to mercury pollution arising from great distances elsewhere.

Indigenous peoples and island communities, dependent on fish as a vital protein source, are particularly at risk.

"Like many other island cultures, we in the South Pacific cannot stop the increasing mercury contamination of our traditional foods, like the fish we are so dependent on," said Imogen Ingram, Island Sustainability Alliance, Cook Island and member of IPEN. "With over 60% of the world population depending heavily on protein from fish, the international community must act urgently."

"First and foremost, we need a treaty that reduces mercury levels in the environment to the point where people can safely eat fish and other food sources for generations to come," said Elena Lymberidi­Settimo, co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group

The environmental movement wants the mercury treaty to reduce the global availability of mercury through

-          the phase out of mercury mining, restrictions to its supply and trade,

-          safe terminal storage of mercury already in circulation.

-          phase out the use of mercury in products and processes,

-          address the growing mercury emissions from the combustion of coal.

-          all countries will need to take action and assistance to developing countries through awareness
raising, capacity building, and the provision of financial and technical resources will be essential.


Without urgent coordinated action by the international community, the levels of toxic fish and cases of mercury contamination among communities could increase, further harming vulnerable populations in the future." said Professor Jamidu Katima, IPEN Co-Chair based in Tanzania

For further information, please contact:

SSNC

Mikael Karlsson, OrdfOrande i NaturskyddsfOreningen, 070-316 27 22, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Anders GrOnvall, Press Secretary, +46 706 55 46 19, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.naturskyddsforeningen.se/

ZMWG

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, +32 496 532818, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.zeromercury.org

Michael Bender, +802 917 4579, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.mercurypolicy.org

IPEN

Jamidu Katima, +255-22-241-0753, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.ipen.org

Imogen Ingram, ISAC, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

___________________________________________

i Environmental and indigenous peoples NGOs include :

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation,(SSNC) is a non-profit environmental member-based organization with 181,000 members. SSNC have the power to make changes by spreading knowledge, mapping environmental threats, creates solutions, and influences politicians and governments both nationally and internationally. SSNC is also the owner of the world's most advanced Eco-label: Good Environmental Choice.

The Zero-Hg Working Group (ZMWG), www.zeromercury.org, is an international coalition of more than 80 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from over 45 countries from around the world that strives for zero supply, demand, and emissions of mercury from all anthropogenic sources, with the goal of reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum.

International POPs Eliminations Network (IPEN), www.ipen.org, is a global network of over 700 health and environmental organizations in more than 100 countries working together for a Toxics-Free Future.