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

24th-29th September, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, 24th-29th of September 2017 and intervened as appropriate[1]. We were pleased to see the COP1 reached consensus on pending matters from prior meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) which resulted in establishing an effective Convention operational framework for achieving significant mercury reductions.

Our main priorities for COP1 included adoption of forms and guidance that was approved at INC 7, and addressing the issues of reporting, waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, effectiveness evaluation, and matters for future action, which included the following decisions.

  • Article 3 guidance on identifying mercury stocks, and the forms/instructions for complying with mercury trade consent and related certification requirements;
  • The product and process exemption forms and associated register of exemptions under Article 6 of the Convention; a registrar will be kept by the Secretariat and these will also be available to the public
  • Article 8 (air emissions) guidance on BAT/ BEP, options for existing facility control requirements, preparing emissions inventories, and selection of “relevant sources” within the specified source categories; and
  • The Guidance for preparing the ASGM National Action Plan (NAP) under article 7.

COP1 also saw significant progress concerning various other ZMWG priorities, including :

Reporting:          Forms were adopted for use by Parties to report back on the measures undertaken to meet Convention obligations and on the effectiveness of those measures.  In particular, ZMWG most welcomed the decision for a shorter reporting cycle for supply and trade, reporting per year data on a biennial basis. For other obligations, Parties will report every four years. It was also agreed that each Party will submit its first biennial report by 31 December 2019 and its first full report by December 2021. Parties are also encouraged to submit an electronic form,  and the Secretariat is requested to make the Parties electronic reports available.

Furthermore, it was agreed that Parties would provide access to their data related to mercury emissions, under Article 8. Parties would also provide the rational on how they plan to ensure that facilities responsible for at least 75% of the emissions from a source category are subject to controls.

Waste Thresholds:          COP1 established an intercessional work group to further elaborate on waste thresholds, building on a document introduced by Japan. As recommended by NRDC/ZMWG, the terms of reference for the working group were focused more on determining which mercury wastes warrant thresholds rather than assuming thresholds are appropriate for all wastes. The expert group will identify the types of waste that fall within the categories specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11, provide related information; prioritising the types of waste identified that are most relevant for the establishment of waste thresholds, and identify possible approaches to establishing any needed thresholds for those prioritised waste for consideration at COP2. We were also pleased to see COP1 approving the participation of civil society within the working group, another ZMWG priority.

Interim Storage:                             COP1 requested the Secretariat to undertake further revision of the draft guidelines through input from relevant experts, including technical experts from the Basel Convention and present a revised draft for consideration at COP2. Provisional use of the current draft guidelines is encouraged.

Effectiveness Evaluation:             COP1 adopted a draft road map for establishing arrangements both for providing comparable monitoring data and elements of an effectiveness evaluation framework, as ZMWG had sought.  To that end an ad hoc group of experts was established including 25 experts nominated by the Parties – 5 per region, as well as 10 civil society experts, including NGOs, as observers.

Matters for Future Action (Article 3) - (Article 14):              Several matters were brought up for consideration. Under Article 3, trade in mercury compounds was one of several issued identified for future consideration by the COP. In regards to Article 14 – Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, Parties and other stakeholder were invited to submit relevant information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the Secretariat to compile and present at COP2.

Despite progress made, challenges remain, both related to the location and structure of the Minamata Convention Secretariat and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the financial mechanism of the Convention with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The Secretariat will be temporarily located in Geneva, with further review of arrangements at COP2.

In summary, the final road map is now in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury pollution, but critical work remains.   ZMWG looks forward to a productive second meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Geneva 19-23 November 2018.   



[1] All ZMWG interventions are available on our website http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_content&;;view=article&id=309:unenvironment-minamata-mercury-cop1-24-29-september-2017-geneva-switzerland&catid=54:developments-main-category&Itemid=104

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.