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New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from 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.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts 

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 " 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 "> 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

Notes to the editors:

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 and small children. 

*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.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
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.