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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
Press releases before the 24th UNEP Governing Council in different countries PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 13:07

ITALY

The italian PR “Stop this toxic trade!”: NGOs demand tough mercury limits can be found here.
The press release was picked up by the national press agency, copied below:

CHIMICA. LEGAMBIENTE: MERCURIO E' TOSSICO, SERVE IMPEGNO SERIO

L'ASSOCIAZIONE ADERISCE A CAMPAGNA DELLE ONG CONTRO IL MERCURIO

(DIRE) Roma, 5 feb. - "Per ridurre l'inquinamento globale da mercurio sono necessari limiti duri, l'impegno dei governi per azioni immediate e accordi vincolanti e multilaterali. Bisogna proibire l'esportazione di questo metallo tossico che ci avvelena". legambiente aderisce cosi' all'appello lanciato dalle organizzazioni non governative (tra cui l'Ufficio europeo dell'ambiente e il Sierra club) sostenitrici della lotta contro il mercurio. "Il mercurio e' un metallo pesante che, se disperso nell'ambiente, puo' causare effetti disastrosi sul territorio e sulla popolazione- spiega il presidente di legambiente Roberto Della Seta- sottolineando che gravissimi danni cerebrali e nervosi sono stati riscontrati nei numerosi casi di contaminazione manifestati sia dai lavoratori che ne vengono a contatto, sia dagli organismi piu' fragili, come quelli delle donne in gravidanza e dei bambini, che lo ingeriscono inconsapevolmente attraverso il cibo".
Per questo motivo, i sostenitori della lotta contro il mercurio, in occasione del prossimo incontro del programma delle Nazioni Unite per l'ambiente a Nairobi dal 5 al 9 febbraio, esortano i governi di tutto il mondo a ridurre l'inquinamento da mercurio proibendone l'esportazione. A fronte dell'ultimo rapporto dell'Unep che denuncia un notevole incremento delle emissioni del mercurio negli ultimi 15 anni, caratterizzato dall'aumento del suo consumo nei paesi che ne iniziano ora l'utilizzo e una diminuzione nei paesi industrializzati, "e' necessario stabilire- prosegue Della Seta- in un azione coesa e decisiva, regole imprescindibili per ridurre la contaminazione".(SEGUE)

(Com/Gim/ DIre) 17:51 05-02-07

SERVE IMPEGNO... -2-

(DIRE) Roma, 5 feb. - "Solo un'azione collettiva da parte dei governi di tutto il mondo potrebbe, infatti, ridurre il livello di mercurio nell'aria e proteggere le risorse ittiche- continua Roberto della Seta- che spiega come sia fondamentale, "tra le altre cose, porsi l'obiettivo di ridurre entro il 2017 il 70% della domanda globale del mercato ponendo fine al suo impiego nell'industria mineraria, nell'elettronica, negli strumenti di misurazione elettrici e sanitari".
Finora le misure sono state limitate e insufficienti per ridurre concretamente il rischio di contaminazione, prosegue il presidente di legambiente. "Un impegno reale, fatto di accordi giuridici multilaterali tra i governi, potrebbe invece risolvere la situazione. Chiediamo che il prossimo incontro di Nairobi assicuri un'azione globale per fermare un commercio tossico e iniquo".
A tal proposito, legambiente porta avanti in Italia, da giugno scorso, "Stop al mercurio": una campagna contro l'utilizzo del mercurio negli impianti cloro-soda, volta a sensibilizzare l'opinione pubblica, la politica, i lavoratori e le aziende sui gravi rischi legati all'inquinamento legato a questo metallo.

(Com/Gim/ DIre) 17:51 05-02-07

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SPAIN - A Press release and a letter were sent to Spanish Envi Minister (Cristina Narbona):

GERMANY - A german version of the press release was also sent out to German media.

ARMENIA - Press release was also posted in Armenian

CZECH Republic - Press release was also launched in the Czech republic with wide coverage by the media (journals and TV)


http://www.eurohirek.hu/modul.asp?name=cikk&file=article&sid=7362
http://gondola.hu/cikkek/52656
http://www.prherald.hu/cikk2.php?idc=20070203-193058
http://www.greenfo.hu/hirek/hirek_item.php?hir=15072&PHPSESSID=3
http://www.fuggetlen.hu/article.php?sid=1373&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
http://www.mno.hu/index.mno?cikk=395127&rvt=3&pos=5
http://www.euractiv.hu/modul.asp?name=cikk&file=article&sid=7362
http://indy.media.hu/cikk.shtml?x=34657
http://www.jobbhirek.hu/article.html?id=37414&source=gondola&cat=