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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 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.