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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland


Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

The First Conference of the Parties will take place from 24 to 29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.  Over 1,000 delegates and around 50 ministers are expected to assemble in Geneva to celebrate and lay the groundwork for the treaty’s overall effectiveness.
 
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

Mercury is a global pollutant that travels long distances. Its most toxic form – methylmercury - accumulates in large predatory fish and is taken up in our bodies through eating fish, with the worst impacts on babies in utero

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts:


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 "> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For information on reporting, please contact 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information, please contact:

*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.