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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.

Releases

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 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

UN_Environment Minamata Mercury COP2, 19-23 November 2018, Geneva, Switzerland