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Summary of the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

24th-29th September, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, 24th-29th of September 2017 and intervened as appropriate[1]. We were pleased to see the COP1 reached consensus on pending matters from prior meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) which resulted in establishing an effective Convention operational framework for achieving significant mercury reductions.

Our main priorities for COP1 included adoption of forms and guidance that was approved at INC 7, and addressing the issues of reporting, waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, effectiveness evaluation, and matters for future action, which included the following decisions.

  • Article 3 guidance on identifying mercury stocks, and the forms/instructions for complying with mercury trade consent and related certification requirements;
  • The product and process exemption forms and associated register of exemptions under Article 6 of the Convention; a registrar will be kept by the Secretariat and these will also be available to the public
  • Article 8 (air emissions) guidance on BAT/ BEP, options for existing facility control requirements, preparing emissions inventories, and selection of “relevant sources” within the specified source categories; and
  • The Guidance for preparing the ASGM National Action Plan (NAP) under article 7.

COP1 also saw significant progress concerning various other ZMWG priorities, including :

Reporting:          Forms were adopted for use by Parties to report back on the measures undertaken to meet Convention obligations and on the effectiveness of those measures.  In particular, ZMWG most welcomed the decision for a shorter reporting cycle for supply and trade, reporting per year data on a biennial basis. For other obligations, Parties will report every four years. It was also agreed that each Party will submit its first biennial report by 31 December 2019 and its first full report by December 2021. Parties are also encouraged to submit an electronic form,  and the Secretariat is requested to make the Parties electronic reports available.

Furthermore, it was agreed that Parties would provide access to their data related to mercury emissions, under Article 8. Parties would also provide the rational on how they plan to ensure that facilities responsible for at least 75% of the emissions from a source category are subject to controls.

Waste Thresholds:          COP1 established an intercessional work group to further elaborate on waste thresholds, building on a document introduced by Japan. As recommended by NRDC/ZMWG, the terms of reference for the working group were focused more on determining which mercury wastes warrant thresholds rather than assuming thresholds are appropriate for all wastes. The expert group will identify the types of waste that fall within the categories specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11, provide related information; prioritising the types of waste identified that are most relevant for the establishment of waste thresholds, and identify possible approaches to establishing any needed thresholds for those prioritised waste for consideration at COP2. We were also pleased to see COP1 approving the participation of civil society within the working group, another ZMWG priority.

Interim Storage:                             COP1 requested the Secretariat to undertake further revision of the draft guidelines through input from relevant experts, including technical experts from the Basel Convention and present a revised draft for consideration at COP2. Provisional use of the current draft guidelines is encouraged.

Effectiveness Evaluation:             COP1 adopted a draft road map for establishing arrangements both for providing comparable monitoring data and elements of an effectiveness evaluation framework, as ZMWG had sought.  To that end an ad hoc group of experts was established including 25 experts nominated by the Parties – 5 per region, as well as 10 civil society experts, including NGOs, as observers.

Matters for Future Action (Article 3) - (Article 14):              Several matters were brought up for consideration. Under Article 3, trade in mercury compounds was one of several issued identified for future consideration by the COP. In regards to Article 14 – Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, Parties and other stakeholder were invited to submit relevant information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the Secretariat to compile and present at COP2.

Despite progress made, challenges remain, both related to the location and structure of the Minamata Convention Secretariat and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the financial mechanism of the Convention with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The Secretariat will be temporarily located in Geneva, with further review of arrangements at COP2.

In summary, the final road map is now in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury pollution, but critical work remains.   ZMWG looks forward to a productive second meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Geneva 19-23 November 2018.   



[1] All ZMWG interventions are available on our website http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_content&;;view=article&id=309:unenvironment-minamata-mercury-cop1-24-29-september-2017-geneva-switzerland&catid=54:developments-main-category&Itemid=104

Home Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
NEWS REFERENCES of the 24th UNEP Governing Council, 5-9 February 2007, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 13:34
New UN-backed voluntary programme seeks to curb toxic mercury pollution

 


14 February 2007 – Governments have two years to see whether a voluntary programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury is working under a new United Nations-backed initiative or if a legally-binding treaty is needed to curb the heavy metal linked with a wide range of medical problems, including neurological damage to babies.

The programme, agreed to by 140 governments at the close of a gathering of environment ministers at the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, last week, calls for developing partnerships between governments, industry and other key groups to curb mercury emissions, ranging from power stations and mines to industrial and consumer products.

After two years, governments will gauge its success and reflect on whether the voluntary initiative has worked or whether negotiations should commence on a new international and legally-binding treaty.

Part of the new programme may mirror a successful UNEP-coordinated partnership to clean up vehicle fuels in developing countries. In four years this voluntary partnership, launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, has phased out lead, another notorious heavy metal, from petrol pumps across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The mercury decision… underlines a new determination by environment ministers to rise to the challenges of our time,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. “For too long environment ministers have met and spoken but their collective voice has not been loudly and decisively heard in the world. This, I believe has changed at this 24th session of the UNEP Governing Council.”

An estimated 2,000 tons of mercury are released into the environment each year, mainly from coal-fired power stations, waste incinerators and as a result of artisanal mining of gold and silver. The metal is also used in such products as fluorescent light bulbs, dental fillings and thermometers.

Action is to be taken to improve communication of the risks of mercury to vulnerable groups, including pregnant mothers who may put the foetus at risk if they eat too much mercury-contaminated fish or marine mammals such as seals.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=21565&Cr=mercury&Cr1=

New UN-backed voluntary programme seeks to curb toxic mercury ...
UN News Centre
14 February 2007 – Governments have two years to see whether a voluntary programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury is working ...
See all stories on this topic
Tackling global mercury pollution
E4: Engineering Fri, 16 Feb 2007 4:28 AM PST
An enhanced programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury pollution was agreed by 140 governments at an international gathering of environment ministers.
Tackling global mercury pollution
Engineer Online - London,UK
An enhanced programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury pollution was agreed by 140 governments at an international gathering of ...
Programme Seeks To Curb Toxic Mercury Pollution
Scoop.co.nz Wed, 14 Feb 2007 1:21 PM PST
Governments have two years to see whether a voluntary programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury is working under a new United Nations-backed initiative or if a legally-binding treaty is needed to curb the heavy metal linked with a wide range of medical problems, including neurological damage to babies.
New UN-Backed Voluntary Programme Seeks to Curb Toxic Mercury ...
NewsBlaze - Folsom,CA,USA
Governments have two years to see whether a voluntary programme to reduce health and environmental threats from toxic mercury is working under a new United ...
See all stories on this topic

Mercury Rising: U.S., India Block Global Regulations While the EU, Brazil, Japan, Philippines, Russia, African Region ...
U.S. Newswire via Yahoo! News Mon, 12 Feb 2007 6:00 AM PST
Anti-mercury advocates conditionally welcomed the mercury decision of the 24th United Nations Environment Program Governing Council meeting on February 5-9 in Nairobi, Kenya as a small step forward. However, advocates say that the meeting was a missed opportunity because a few countries, led primarily by the U.S. and India, blocked consensus for moving forward with binding regulations to curtail ...

Mercury Rising: US, India Block Global Regulations While the EU ...
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Anti-mercury advocates conditionally welcomed the mercury decision of the 24th United Nations Environment Program Governing ...
See all stories on this topic

Governments Agree Action on Mercury, but no Treaty
Planet Ark Sun, 11 Feb 2007 3:49 PM PST
NAIROBI - Governments agreed to phase out the use of deadly mercury in industries ranging from mining to chemicals manufacture and power generation on Friday, breaking a deadlock at a major UN environment meeting in Kenya.

Canada stalls on global mercury pollution treaty
CTV.ca Sat, 10 Feb 2007 6:28 PM PST
Canada's refusal to support a legally binding global pact to cut highly toxic mercury pollution is another Kyoto-style evasion that allies Ottawa with Washington, critics say.

Mercury pollution rising
Regina Leader-Post (subscription) - Regina,Saskatchewan,Canada
OTTAWA (CP) -- Canada's refusal to support a legally binding global pact to cut highly toxic mercury pollution is another Kyoto-style evasion that allies ...

UN forum makes limited progress on mercury emissions
AFP via Yahoo! News Fri, 09 Feb 2007 11:14 AM PST
A key UN environment meeting agreed to launch partnerships between governments and industries to slash mercury emissions, officials said.

Govts agree on action on mercury, but no treaty
Reuters via Yahoo! News Fri, 09 Feb 2007 8:12 AM PST
Governments agreed to phase out the use of deadly mercury in industries ranging from mining to chemicals manufacture and power generation on Friday, breaking a deadlock at a major U.N. environment meeting in Kenya.
Mercury pollution rising as Canada, U.S. opt to keep talking
CP via Yahoo! Canada News Fri, 09 Feb 2007 4:43 PM PST
Ottawa (CP) - Canada's refusal to support a legally binding global pact to cut highly toxic mercury pollution is another Kyoto-style evasion that allies Ottawa with Washington, critics say.
UN Delegates Agree Voluntary Reduction Of Mercury Emissions
Nasdaq Fri, 09 Feb 2007 8:06 AM PST
NAIROBI (AP)--Delegates to the U.N. Environment Program agreed on Friday to voluntary reductions in mercury use and emissions, setting up a program to monitor pollution from one of the most toxic substances known to man.
Mercury pollution rising
CNews Fri, 09 Feb 2007 11:52 AM PST
Ottawa (CP) - Canada has sided with the U.S. and India to delay international rules that would force countries to cut mercury pollution. Environmental groups blasted the delay, saying it's a missed chance that once again lines up Ottawa with Washington.

Ottawa's refusal to join protocol cutting mercury draws critics' fire
Globe and Mail - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
OTTAWA -- Canada's refusal to support a legally binding global pact to cut highly toxic mercury pollution is anoth
er Kyoto-style evasion that allies Ottawa ...

Governments agree action on mercury, but no treaty
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg,South Africa
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Governments agreed to phase out the use of deadly mercury in industries ranging from mining to chemicals manufacture and power ...

FYI. Below are links for Canadian media coverage out of the UNEP meetings:

680News website - http://www.680news.com/news/national/article.jsp?content=n020981A

The ChronicalHerald in Halifax - http://herald.ns.ca/Search/558384.html

Governments agree further action on mercury

ENDS Europe DAILY 2260, 12/02/07

World governments last week agreed to take further steps towards reducing mercury-related environmental and health risks at a biannual meeting of the UN environment programme (Unep) governing council.  Environmentalists deplored governments’ failure to agree to start drafting an international treaty on the toxic metal.

At the meeting’s close last Friday, governments agreed to set up a process to consider options for curbing mercury use, including "enhanced" voluntary measures and new international legal instruments.  A working group made of governments and other stakeholders will report on progress at the next meeting in 2009.

The agreement was a compromise between countries led by the EU pushing for legally binding rules on mercury and others opposed to it including the US and the G77 group of developing countries.  The latter support voluntary measures in this area.  However, they accepted to keep the door open to possible legal rules.

Environmental groups welcomed the creation of the working group but argued that governments had made no real progress since their previous meeting (EED 28/02/05). Current measures are failing to produce results, NGOs insisted (EED 01/02/07).

The meeting also featured debate on proposals to strengthen Unep’s mandate and to give greater financial resources to tackle global environmental challenges.  The EU reiterated its plan for turning the agency into a world environment organisation, which is now supported by several governments (EED 05/02/07).  Key opponents include the US, China and Russia.

Follow-up: Unep 24th governing council, plus Earth negotiations bulletin coverage.  See also NGOs’ reaction.

Article Index: chemicals, general, health/consumers

From: < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
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Subject: BMU Pressedienst Nr.041/07UNEP/Quecksilber

BMU-Pressedienst Nr. 041/07 UNEP/Quecksilber
Berlin, 09. Februar 2007
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Herausgeber: Bundesumweltministerium, Alexanderstraße 3, 10178 Berlin
Redaktion: Michael Schroeren (verantwortlich) Thomas Hagbeck, Juergen Maaß,
Frauke Stamer, Tobias Dünow
Tel.: 030/18 305-2010/-2011/-2012/-2014. Fax: 030/18 305-2016
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UNEP/Quecksilber
Quecksilbereintrag in die Umwelt soll weltweit reduziert werden
UNEP-Verwaltungsrat gelingt Durchbruch/Arbeitsgruppe soll Vorschläge
erarbeiten

Der Verwaltungsrat des UN-Umweltprogramms (UNEP) will den Eintrag von
Quecksilber in die Umwelt weltweit mindern. Zu diesem Zweck wurde am Freitag
in Nairobi eine Arbeitsgruppe eingesetzt, die bis zur nächsten
Verwaltungsratssitzung 2009 Maßnahmen zur Reduzierung von
Quecksilberemissionen vorlegen soll. International rechtsverbindlichen
Regelungen soll dabei besondere Aufmerksamkeit gewidmet werden.

Bundesumweltminister Sigmar Gabriel: "Der Quecksilbereintrag in die Umwelt
ist eine globale Bedrohung für die menschliche Gesundheit. Ich
beglückwünsche den UNEP-Exekutivdirektor Achim Steiner zu diesem Durchbruch.
Erstmals wurde ein organisierter und strukturierter Prozess verabredet, der
alle Handlungsoptionen einschließlich bindender rechtlicher Regelungen zu
Quecksilber berücksichtigt. Das fordert die Europäische Union seit Jahren."

In langwierigen Verhandlungen setzte die EU unter Leitung des Vorsitzenden
des EU-Umweltrates, Bundesumweltminister Gabriel, gemeinsam mit der
afrikanischen Gruppe, Norwegen, der Schweiz und einer Reihe anderer
Delegationen diesen Prozess durch. Die EU selber hat bereits 2005 eine
Quecksilberstrategie beschlossen, die ein Paket von Maßnahmen umfasst. Zwei
legislative Vorschläge werden derzeit in Brüssel behandelt: Ein EU-internes
Verbot der Vermarktung von Quecksilberthermometern und entsprechenden
Quecksilber enthaltenen Instrumenten sowie ein Verbot des Exports von
Quecksilber aus der EU.

Gabriel: "Die EU wird auch in Zukunft ihre Führungsrolle beibehalten. Mit
der europäischen Quecksilberstrategie und rechtsverbindlichen Maßnahmen
tragen wir entscheidend zur Verminderung des Quecksilbereintrages in die
Umwelt bei. Wir werden die UNEP und Achim Steiner nach Kräften unterstützen,
möglichst schnell zu einer globalen Lösung zu gelangen."

Beim diesjährigen Globalen Umweltministerforum standen die Themen
Globalisierung und Umwelt sowie die Reform der Vereinten Nationen im
Umweltbereich im Vordergrund. Gabriel: "Die Umweltminister waren sich einig,
dass die gegenwärtigen UN-Organisationsstrukturen im Umweltbereich
grundlegend reformiert werden müssen. Ich begrüße, dass sich immer mehr
Staaten für die Stärkung von UNEP und die Gründung einer
UN-Umweltorganisation einsetzen, die eine bessere Balance zwischen
wirtschaftlicher Globalisierung und dem Schutz der natürlichen
Lebensgrundlagen herstellen kann."


---------------------------------------------------------------
Hrsg: BMU-Pressereferat, Alexanderstraße 3, 10178 Berlin
Redaktion: Michael Schroeren (verantwortlich)
Tobias Dünow, Thomas Hagbeck, Jürgen Maaß, Frauke Stamer
Tel.: 030 / 18 305-2010. Fax: 030 / 18 305-2016
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - internet: http://www.bmu.de/presse

Campaigners call for global mercury ban
Environmental Data Interactive Exchange Wed, 31 Jan 2007 4:28 AM PST
A global coalition of environmental NGOs is putting pressure on governments around the world to phase out mercury and ban exports of the toxic metal.

 

Governments urged to agree curbs on mercury

ENDS Europe DAILY 2253, 01/02/07

NGOs have urged governments to agree tough limits on global trade in mercury at the annual ministerial-level meeting of the UN environment programme (Unep) in Nairobi next week (EED 28/02/05). Discussions will include possible further action in the area. Citing a Unep report to be presented at the meeting, NGOs claim that measures agreed so far are failing to produce results. The report highlights "significant ongoing trade" in mercury, "some of which is illegal and uncontrolled". See releases from NGOs and Unep and the report.

Article Index: chemicals, health/consumers, trade