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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 SS GC 10, 20-22 February 2008, Monaco PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 13:50

The 10th Special Session of UNEP GC, took place in Monaco, 20-22 February 2008

The item related to mercury in this session was the follow up on the progress report after the First UNEP Open ended Working Group on Mercury (OEWG1), November 2007- Bangkok. EEB represented the Zero Mercury Working Group with general support of the Global Civil Society Forum and the NGOs who were there. The NGO intervention at the Committee of the Whole can be found here.

As expected the Progress report from OEWG 1 was acknowledged and no further changes were made.

The Decisions adopted by the Tenth Special Session of The Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum and the Summary of the President of the Discussions of Ministers and Heads of Delegation at the Tenth Special Session of the Council/Forum that took place in Monaco, February 2008, can be found here.

The proceedings of the GC/GMEF at its 10th Special Session, that took place in Monaco, 20-22 February 2008, can be found here.

As usual, just before the GC meeting , the Global Civil Society Forum took place - the Report of the 9th. Global Civil Society Froum (GCSF) held in Monaco can be accessed at http://www.unep.org/civil_society/GCSF9/pdfs/Report-GCSF9-2008.pdf

An Overarching Framework for the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership has been developed in response to UNEP Governing Council Decision 24/3 Paragraph 27. UNEP actively consulted with governments and stakeholders on the framework as mandated under UNEP Governing Council Decision 24/3 paragraph 27, including through the Meeting of partners and other stakeholders on the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership, Geneva, 1-3 April 2008.

A delegation of NGOs attended the above mentioned meeting and played a catalytic role in reaching agreement on the framework.

ZMWG comments on the UNEP report on Atmospheric Emissions of mercury: Inventory, Sources and Transport, the AMAP UNEP Report on Sources of mercury to the Atmosphiere: technical Background Document, and Mercury Fate and Transport in the Global atmosphere: measurements, models and policy iimplications produced by the Fate and transport partnership.
[10 August, 2008]