**** LATEST NEWS! ****

New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from 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.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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 " 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 "> 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

Notes to the editors:

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 and small children. 

*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.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
Home Press Releases Global Treaty on Mercury gets under way
Global Treaty on Mercury gets under way PDF Print
Friday, 11 June 2010 01:00
zeromercury_logoeeb_logo

[Stockholm, Brussels – 11 June 2010] –World governments, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, today completed the first step towards a legally binding treaty to control mercury pollution at the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meeting, in Stockholm, Sweden. These initial discussions will provide a robust basis for developing the text of the treaty, starting at the next INC meeting in Tokyo, Japan, January 2011.

“The participation of 132 countries’ reaffirmed the importance and international commitment to address the global mercury problem”, said Elena Lymberidi–Settimo of the European Environmental Bureau and the Zero Mercury Working Group. “We hope that this first round of discussions covering all issues will open the way to more substantive discussions on legally binding control measures in order to minimise and, where feasible, eliminate mercury from use, supply and emissions globally.”

During the meeting countries expressed their views on potential targeted control provisions on mercury issues such as supply; storage of excess mercury; use of mercury in products and processes; artisanal small scale gold mining; trade; atmospheric emissions of mercury; waste and contaminated sites; as well as on compliance, finances, capacity building and technical assistance and awareness raising. Countries and regions also expressed their opinions on how discussions should unfold during the coming INCs.

“We now look forward to engaging in focused discussions in areas such as supply, trade and storage of surplus mercury where substantial progress can be made,” said Susan Keane of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Rico Euripidou, of the South African NGO groundwork, Friends of the Earth South Africa, noted: “We have made a good start towards establishing a treaty to control mercury pollution that will ultimately protect the fish we eat from this poison.”

“We applaud the World Health Organization (WHO) statement during the INC to stop the production of skin lightening cosmetics, as they present a great exposure risk to women the world over,” said Michael Bender the Mercury Policy Project and Zero Mercury Working Group. “We also support WHO in its efforts to “phase down” the use of dental amalgam.”i

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that makes its way up the food chain into humans,and puts developing foetuses and young children at risk.

For further information please contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator, Zero Mercury Campaign, European Environmental Bureau: www.zeromercury.org, www.eeb.org; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 2289 1301; Mobile (Belgium) +32 496 532 818

Simon Nazer, EEB Press & Publications Officer: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 496438469 Susan Keane, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +1 212-810-1167


Michael Bender, Co-Coordinator, ZMWG, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: 802 223 9000.

Editor’s notes

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 and small children. In February 2009, world environmental ministers agreed to begin negotiating a treaty to control global mercury pollution. The decision represented the consensus of the more than 140 countries gathered for the 25th UNEP1 Governing Council meeting. Five Intergovernmental negotiating committee meetings are foreseen to take place to complete the work on a mercury treaty before 2013.

For more information, see the Zero Mercury Campaign’s website, www.zeromercury.org, See also at www.zeromercury.org

European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of over 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all EU Member States as well as in 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 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.

_________________________________________

i In the U.S. , the FDA decided yesterday to review dental amalgam and in particular risks to vulnerable populations.”
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm215061.htm