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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

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:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

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

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
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