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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 Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
UNEP GC 24, 5-9 February 2007, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 12:45

In preparation for the 24 UNEP Governing Council the NGOs have drafted a one page working document with the NGOs'Proposals for a Global Mercury Strategy, November 8, 2006.
The NGO proposals are also available in PT, RU, ES, FR, D , CHI , JP

The UNEP mercury supply and demand, and artisanal and small scale gold mining report to the UNEP Governing Council is now up on the web:
As is the UNIDO GMP report to the UNEP Governing Council:
Much information and many interesting recommendations in these reports, including the UNIDO GMP calling for a 50% reduction in mercury use in small scale gold mining in the next ten years.  Also, the UNEP mercury supply and demand report sets the stage for discussions at the global level about the possibility of a legally binding treaty, mercury export restrictions, etc. when these reports are presented to the UNEP Governing Council in Nairobi in early February.

The NGOS have submitted their proposal on a Mercury Decision to UNEP GC on the 29 January 2007
NGOs submission to the 24th UNEP GC for a Global Mercury Strategy.
The summary of the document is also available in SP, FR, CHI , PT, SWA , D

A special background report has also been prepared for the UNEP meeting - NGOs background report "Addressing Global Mercury Crisis at the 2007 UNEP GC" [January, 2007]
A press release was sent out on the 31 January , in view of the forthcoming UNEP GC meeting. Similar press releases where posted in different countries.

EEB, NRDC, MPP, Sierra Club, IPEN/HCWH, groundWork, ACPO, Toxics Link and GVB, represented the Zero Mercury Working Group at the 24th UNEP Governing Council, 5-9 February, 2007, Nairobi, Kenya.

A report on the activities of the NGOs in Nairobi as well as the discussions that took place during the meeting is now available.

The draft decision on mercury submitted by the Contact Group at the Plenary and finally adopted by the 24th Governing Council on the 9th February 2007 can be found here.

The NGOs reacted to the final decision with a press release on February 9, 2007. The German version of the press release can be found here.

References to the 24th UNEP GC in the news can be found here.

The final adopted text can be found at http://www.unep.org/gc/gc24/, Proceedings of the GC/GMEF at its 24th session, 24/3/IV Mercury,  p. 17-20.