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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

Home Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
Towards a Mercury Treaty PDF Print
Friday, 03 September 2010 17:15

Mercury has been at the UNEP Governing Council (GC) agenda since its 21st session, in February 2001. The following milestones have been reached since then.

December 2002 – The Global mercury assessment was finalized.
February 2003 (Nairobi) - GC 22 – acknowledges there is a global problem with mercury
February 2005 (Nairobi) - GC decision 23/9 - decided on initial action
February 2007(Nairobi) - GC decision 24/3 –-current efforts not sufficient, further long-term action required: identified priority areas, set up process towards a global framework
November 2007 (Bangkok) – First Open Ended Working Group (OEWG1): Reviewed and identified the options
February 2008 (Monaco) – 10th Special Session of the Governing Council – A progress report from the OEWG 1 was acknowledged and adopted by the governments.
October 2008 (Nairobi) - OEWG2:  Adopted report of findings and recommendations for GC-25 – on a global policy framework and options of measures in each thematic area.
February 2009 (Nairobi) – GC Decision 25/5 – Decision to develop a global treaty on mercury and to continue and enhance existing work on mercury storage, supply , artisanal small scale gold mining, products and processes, national inventories, awareness raising and information on the sound management of mercury.

Decision 25/5 of the Governing Council launched the discussions towards the developement of a mercury treaty. An Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) was formed, to meet 5 times before the treaty text would be agreed by 2013.

The Zero Mercury Working Group has been following developments and participated at all relevant meetings since 2004. The work, preparations and all documents ZMWG developed and contributed to the meetings can be found below:

UNEP GC 23, 18-15 February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya 

UNEP GC 24, 5-9 February 2007, Nairobi, Kenya

UNEP Hg OEWG 1, 12-16 November 2007, Bangkok, Thailand

UNEP SS GC 10, 20-22 February 2008, Monaco

UNEP Hg OEWG 2, 6-10 October 2008, Nairobi, Kenya

UNEP GC 25, 16-20 February 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

UNEP Hg OEWG 3, 19-23 October 2009, Bangkok, Thailand

UNEP Hg INC 1, 7-11 June 2010, Stockholm, Sweden

UNEP Hg INC 2, 24-28 January 2011, Chiba, Japan

UNEP Hg INC 3, 31 October - 4 November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya

UNEP Hg INC 4, 27 June - 2nd July, 2012, Punta de l'Este, Uruguay

 UNEP Hg INC 5, 13 - 18  January 2013, Geneva, Switzerland

UNEP Hg Diplomatic Conference, 7-11 October 2013, Kumamoto-Minamata, Japan

UNEP Hg INC 6, 3-7 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand

UNEP Hg INC 7, 10-15 March 2016, Dead Sea, Jordan

UN_Environment Minamata Mercury COP1, 24-29 September 2017, Geneva, Switzerland