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22 September 2017

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New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland

Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail 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.
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

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

For more information, see:




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

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

For information on reporting, please contact David Lennett, Natural Resources Defense Council, T:  +1 202 460 8517   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

For further information, please contact:

*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.


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