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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

China PDF Print
Friday, 03 September 2010 14:28

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded projects:        Global Village of Beijing

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

Assessment Meeting of Mercury-containing Medical Devices Substitution Pilot Project in Qinhuangdao Was Held on March 23rd (Qinhuangdao is a major port city in northern China with a population of 2870 thousand (2009))

March 26, 2012

On March 23, 2012, an assessment meeting for Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital’s mercury-containing medical devices substitution pilot project was held in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province. Liang Fang, Director of the hospital’s nursing department, presented the implementation process and achievements of the substitution project. Representatives from Chinese Ministry of Health, Chinese CDC, Qinhuangdao Bureau of Health, Beijing Normal University, local hospitals and media participated the meeting.  The participants inspected the hospital’s use of mercury-free thermometer and sphygmomanometers, mercury-containing devices storage site and other assessment items.

The pilot project was jointly conducted by China National Democratic Construction Association Qinhuangdao Municipal Committee, Sino-Union Create (a Chinese NGO based in Qinhuangdao), Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital and Global Village of Beijing. The project began in August 2011. Initially, an implementation task force was formed with the hospital’s director as leader and participated by representatives from each department in the hospital. And then, mercury inventory survey, staff training, comparative trial and substitution were conducted in sequence.

As of February of this year, the hospital has put 400 mercury-free thermometers and 17 mercury-free sphygmomanometers in use.  The amount of mercury-containing thermometers in use was reduced from 910 to 140 and the amount of mercury-containing sphygmomanometer was reduced from 38 to 10. In 2012, the hospital will no longer purchase new mercury-containing sphygmomanometers or thermometers. This is expected to reduce the demand of mercury more than 5,000 grams per years. Due to the lack of available alternatives and relevant standards, some departments of the hospital haven’t replaced their mercury devices, such as thermometers in neonatology department and sphygmomanometers used in ambulance.  The project team intends to follow up on the above issue.  

Qinhuangdao Maternity and Child Health Hospital is one of the few hospitals in China that have conducted mercury-containing medical devices substitution. An important consequence of the project is that it demonstrates the possibility of eliminating mercury-containing medical products to other hospitals


2011 Project title:                       Raising Awareness on Mercury Pollution in Hospitals- Phase VII

Project objectives:       Promote hospitals’ awareness of mercury-free health care and provide experience and guidance for reducing mercury in medical devices in the future -  Proposal phase VII


ð     Promote hospitals’ awareness about the possibility of mercury-free health care

ð     Provide experience and guidance to doctors to sensitize them to the alternative of mercury-free medical devices, by demonstrating successful cases of substitution of mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices in China

ð     Review domestic regulation to reduce mercury in medical devices

ð     promote mercury-free practices via skill-sharing between mercury-free hospitals in Beijing and provincial hospitals

Status: completed


One of the main outcomes was a workshop between Beijing and Qinhuangdao city (population 2.8 million) healthcare sectors on reducing mercury pollution from medical devices was held on April 12, 2011. The workshop was jointly held by Global Village of Beijing and Sino-Union Create, a NGO in Hebei Province.

Another outcome of this project is the report on Analysis of Mercury-Containing Medical Devices Substitution In Healthcare Sectors


Previous projects

2010 - GVB Proposal Phase VI

Final report Phase VI

2009 - GVB Phase V proposal

Final report Phase V

2008 - GVB Phase IV proposal

Final report from Phase IV

2007-GVB Phase III proposal

Final  report  from Phase III

2006 - GVB Phase II proposal

Report from the Guizhou Mercury Investigation submitted to Government (CHI)
English Executive Summary of the report from Guizhou
Final report from Phase II

2005 - GVB Phase I proposal

Project website
Factbook on mercury in EN and CHI
Guidebook in the form of wallet.
Exhibition boards 1 , 2
Boards exhibited outsideuniversities 1,2 , 3
Conference launching the project - picture
NGO Workshop

New Exhibition boards: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Exhibition%20Boards.rar
Poster : http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Poster.jpg
Mercury book: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Mercury%20Fact%20Book.pdf
booklet: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Brochure.pdf
Mercury CD: http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/Mercury%20(CH).wmv
Photo of mercury workshop(1.26): http://www.mercury.ngo.cn/xiazai/1-26/1-26.rar
Investigation report in Guizhou:

photos of activities in some universities:

Study under Phase III: Market Research Report on Chinese Mercury-free Thermometers and Sphygmomanometers

Agenda from the 2007 China NGOs Skillshare on Chemical Safety

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 15:34