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As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

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 " target="_blank"> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

*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 Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
UNEP GC 23, 18-25 February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 10:29

Mercury was on the agenda of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) planned for end February 2005. Activities include cooperation with NGOs all over the world ( EU, US, Developing countries) and input to UNEP towards that direction.

For better information and preparation for the meeting, EEB and Ban Hg WG represented by MPP, also had the chance to meet with Klaus Toepfer – UNEP Executive Director and Sylvie Motard – Head of the UNEP Liaison office in Brussels, on the 20-21 December 2004. (see also section 1)

In February 2005, NRDC, EEB, Greenpeace and the Ban Mercury Working Group with the support of the above mentioned NGOs, submitted to UNEP the Proposed Governing Council Decision Submitted by NGOs (also in FR), based upon a more extensive position paper which had been submitted to UNEP in July 2004.

A press release was sent to the European, US and African press on the 18 February 2005 , in view of the start of the UNEP Global Civil Society Forum and the UNEP Governing Council.

EEB, NRDC, Ban Mercury Working Group (MPP), Greenpeace, Toxics Link -India , Associação de Combate aos POPs - ACPO, groundWork, South Africa, Global Village of Beijing, China, and International Indian Treaty Council finally attended the 6th Global Civil Society Forum and the 23rd UNEP Governing Council in Nairobi, 18-25 February 2005. The report from the meetings and related interventions are available.

The 23rd UNEP Governing Council Decision on the Mercury Programme can be seen here.

A press release was also sent on the final decision of the UNEP Governing council on the 25 February 2005.

As a follow up to the 23rd UNEP Governing Council Decision, four meetings have taken place in relation to the Mercury partnerships. The Environmental NGOs attended those meetings. More relevant information and relevant documents can be found here.

In a letter to the world's governments that was also sent to the NGOs (MPP), on the 24 March 2006, the U.N. Environment Program is requesting information related to the supply, trade and demand for mercury for a report being developed for the upcoming UNEP Governing Council meeting in Nairobi next February. The request for the report came out of a decision that the UNEP Governing Council made at their prior meeting, which was put forth by Canada at the request of MPP. At that time, the UNEP Governing Council requested that UNEP Executive Director "..develop further the mercury programme...by initiating, preparing and making public a report summarizing supply, trade and demand information for mercury, including in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and, based on a consideration of life-cycle approach, to submit a document forming a basis for consideration of possible further action in those areas for consideration of the Governing Council at its twenty-fourth session..."

Responding to the above call, on the 16 May 2006, NRDC have submitted comments to UNEP (and accompanying document), after collaboration with the Chemical Registration Center (CRC) of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) to develop improved estimates of China’s mercury supply and consumption.

On the 8th October 2006 the Zero Mercury Working Group submitted comments to UNEP on the draft Trade report.