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

19-23 November, 2018, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the Second Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP2) in Geneva, Switzerland, 19-23 November 2018, and intervened as appropriate Our main priorities for COP2 were waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, and effectiveness evaluation. We also closely followed matters for future action, including the review process of annexes A and B; and harmonized custom codes to distinguish mercury-added products.

Waste Thresholds

Decision MC2/2 established a process to develop mercury waste thresholds. As advocated by ZMWG, an expert group will focus its efforts on establishing mercury content thresholds for “waste contaminated with mercury”.  The group will also develop lists of wastes falling under three definitional categories: “consisting of mercury,” “containing mercury” and “contaminated with mercury.”

Effectiveness Evaluation

Decision MC 2/10 amended the effectiveness evaluation roadmap set forth in COP 1, modifying the experts mandate and composition of its membership while agreeing on an outline of work.  The group will review the outcome indicators developed previously as part of the EE framework, and further elaborate on sources of information and baselines for those indicators. It will consider how to integrate monitoring data into the framework. In addition, the group will identify those categories of monitoring data most effective in providing information on global trends, what data could be used to assess the impact on levels and trends of mercury, and data limitations. Importantly, as advocated by ZMWG, the group will also assess the information, identify gaps and outline options to enhance the quality of the information.

Interim storage 

Decision MC 2/6 adopted the interim mercury storage guidelines which included a number of key elements to facilitate environmentally sound management.  We were pleased to see many of the important elements that ZMWG had proposed during the intersessional period are included in the guidelines, including provisions on financial assurances related to closure of the sites.

Releases

Decision MC 2/3 established an intersessional process to identify relevant point source categories of releases of mercury and mercury compound to land and water, including the establishment of a group of technical experts.

Contaminated sites

Decision MC 2/8 invites parties and other stakeholders to submit additional comments and information to complement and further improve the draft guidance, calling in particular for information and comments to make the guidance more practicable.

Review of Annex A and B

No specific decision was taken by the COP to start reviewing annexes A and B. However, a call for relevant information was launched by the Secretariat to prepare for COP3.

This is an important area for ZMWG; given the technological and political developments around the world since Annex A and B were adopted in 2013, we will be seeking to further strengthen the Convention.

HS Codes for mercury-added products

The Decision requests the Secretariat to suggest approaches for modifying customs codes to allow countries to distinguish mercury-added products from those products that do not contain mercury, including approaches for possible harmonization among countries. This is an important success for ZMWG, in support of the Global Mercury Partnership, recognizing the critical need for Parties to identify the production, import and export of mercury-added products to comply with Article 4.

Other issues

Other issues included a request for further information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer; as well as on the SIP; a small modification to the rules of procedure of the Implementation and Compliance Committee; and a decision that the secretariat of the MC will be autonomous and based in Geneva, with special arrangements with the BRS Secretariat. Finally, a new president, David Kapindula (Zambia), was elected for COP 3, along with new Bureau members.

ZMWG looks forward to a productive third meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Geneva 25-29 November 2019.   

Home PROJECTS International projects
Armenia PDF Print
Friday, 03 September 2010 14:27

Armenia

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded projects: Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE)

Contact details:         Elena Manvelyan- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2014 - Project title: Towards phasing out mercury in products in Armenia

  • Project goal: to promote quick ratification and assist treaty implementation.
  • Project duration: 9 months (January-July 2014)

Armenia signed the Minamata Convention on mercury in October 2013 and has already launched enabling activities towards its ratification.

Mercury is used in a wide variety of household devices and products. These items release mercury into the environment when broken or improperly disposed. If spilled, mercury absorbs into many materials while slowly evaporating into the air over time, allowing for exposure. Knowing what products and items contain mercury and handling them properly, will limit the risk of mercury exposure. Common products often have a simple and environmentally friendly alternative.

The project focused on the following most common mercury containing products available to the public in Armenia

  • Mercury containing medical devices
  • Mercury containing vaccine
  • Dental amalgam used in previous years
  • Mercury containing batteries
  • Mercury containing lamps
  • LED screens of mobile phones and computer/laptop screens
  • Mercury containing skin-lightening creams and children’s cosmetics
  • A matter of special concern is presence of mercury containing pesticides in storages of banned and obsolete pesticides.

AWHHE acknowledges financial support by Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the European Commission (EC) via the European Environmental Bureau/Zero Mercury Working Group in this project

Avoid Using Mercury Containing Devices (eng / arm)


Armenia,(in cooperation with  Belarus[1], Georgia[2])


2010 - 2011 Project title:               Mercury in skin lightening creams in EECCA

Project objectives:     Analyze mercury content in skin lightening creams in the three participating countries

Activities:

ð     Determine how much mercury is used in different skin care and cosmetic products through laboratory analysis of chosen samples in the three countries

ð     analysis of relevant EECCA and EU legislation on mercury use in such products

ð     analysis of the trade issues - where the products come from and quantities etc

Recommendation:    Include skin care and cosmetic products as mercury-containing products to be banned in the upcoming global treaty on mercury

Status:                         completed

Outcome:

out of the 100 tested samples, 82 of them contained mercury. The highest level  of mercury concentration among these (1,7 ppm) was found in the product ‘C.L. Set for fading the freckles’, which is imported from China and bought in Georgia. Only 18 of the total 100 tested samples did not contain mercury. Although these products did not have any mercury content, it is unknown whether they contain other harmful substances, e.g. whitening agents such as hydroquinone.

Final report



[1] Center of Environmental Solutions (CES) is a non-for-profit, non-governmental foundation (establisment) legally established in Belarus in the beginning of 2009. As an envrionmental group FRI, our team has been working since 2001.

CES mission is promoting of an environmentally friendly life-style, principles of sustainable development for preserving living conditions for future generations, and assisting in development of inter-cultural dialogue and partnership for environmental protection.

CES has experience of participating in national and international processes in the area of chemicals safety, SAICM implementation, and waste management.

[2] Georgian Environmental and Biological Monitoring Association (GEBMA) is   a   non-governmental, scientific, non-profit organization. The group of scientists-toxicologists working in environmental and health issues has established it in 1995 on the base of the Georgian Institute of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Diseases.  In July 11-th, 2006, the Association re-registered in the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, Tbilisi. Registration #: 833.

GEBMA unites 9 founders-members. Depending on circumstances, volunteers are also attracted in organization.

Main purpose of the Association is to protect human health and environment against harmful environmental and occupational factors, especially, against chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers, POPs, industrial chemicals, consumer chemicals, cosmetics and others.

                                Since 1997 GEBMA has been involved in the Pan-European processes on “Environment for Europe” and “Environment and Health”.

Internal organizations GEBMA is in a close contact are European Eco-Forum, Eco-Accord, IPEN and WECF.

GEBMA has been involving in preparation of the National Documents such as:

·          “ National Profile to Assess the National Infrastructure for Management of Chemicals in Georgia”; Supported by the Directorate General XI of the   European   Commission through UNITAR/IOMC, 1998;

·          Georgia NEHAP; Supported by WHO, 2000-2003;

UNEP/WHO milk survey (Georgia’s National Protocol for the monitoring of POPs in human milk), 2008.