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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.


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 MERCURY AND ITS USES/EMISSIONS Mercury Trade, Supply and Storage
Japan PDF Print
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


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


(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