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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)

 
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Friday, 03 September 2010 15:16

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded projects:   Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution (CACP)

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

2010 Project title:                       INC2 NGO Preparatory activities in Japan 

Project objectives:       

ð     strengthen NGO input in preparation for INC 2 and make the UNEP treaty negotiations known to the Japanese public

ð     Engage the Minimata victims and their supporters in the INC process to underline the lessons to be learnt from Minamata and appeal to the Japanese government for the adoption of a global treaty on mercury

ð     Exert pressure towards a Japanese mercury export ban and safe storage of surplus mercury);

ð     Sensitize the government to the importance of a robust and comprehensive treaty that will control mercury’s full life-cycle by highlighting the Minamata events

Project activities:

    1. Write a report on ‘Mercury issues in Japan’ on the basis of an updated presentation developed already by CACP, to be available for INC 2.
    2. Organizing an NGO symposium in Japan (in December 2010) in view of: engaging the Minamata victims’ groups at the INC process to appeal to governments for a robust treaty; make the UNEP mercury process known to Japanese public: and exert  pressure towards a Japanese mercury export ban (and safe storage of surplus mercury).
    3. Organizing the “Honoring Minamata” side event a day before INC 2 negotiations highlighting the tragedy of Minamata, the need for a strong mercury treaty, and the need for a Japan export ban, along with storage of surplus mercury.

Recommendation: Need for the Japanese government to put in place a mercury export ban and address safe storage of surplus mercury

Status: Completed

Outcome

All the project activities were successfully carried out during INC 2 in Chiba, Japan

 Deliverables

(1) Program for NGO International Mercury Symposium on December 4, 2010 Minamata and Global Mercury Issues

Statement by Minamata Disease Victims and Supporters "Toward the Global Treaty on Mercury".

Photos from the Symposium

(2)Report: Minamata and The Global Treaty on Mercury

(3)Report from Kumamoto and Minamata Visit from September 12 to 14

(4) October 15, 2009 Civil Society Organizations Joint Statement Japanese Government Needs to Enact Mercury Export Ban Act

(5) ZMWG/CACP NGO side event - Honoring Minamata - 23 January 2011 - Chiba, Japan and in Japanese

(6) Report of the Mercury Symposium by CACP - 04 December 2011Report of the Mercury Symposium by CACP - 04 December 2011 - in Japan