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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 Global Treaty on Mercury gets under way
Global Treaty on Mercury gets under way PDF Print
Friday, 11 June 2010 01:00
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[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.

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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