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

19-23 November, 2018, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the Second Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP2) in Geneva, Switzerland, 19-23 November 2018, and intervened as appropriate Our main priorities for COP2 were waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, and effectiveness evaluation. We also closely followed matters for future action, including the review process of annexes A and B; and harmonized custom codes to distinguish mercury-added products.

Waste Thresholds

Decision MC2/2 established a process to develop mercury waste thresholds. As advocated by ZMWG, an expert group will focus its efforts on establishing mercury content thresholds for “waste contaminated with mercury”.  The group will also develop lists of wastes falling under three definitional categories: “consisting of mercury,” “containing mercury” and “contaminated with mercury.”

Effectiveness Evaluation

Decision MC 2/10 amended the effectiveness evaluation roadmap set forth in COP 1, modifying the experts mandate and composition of its membership while agreeing on an outline of work.  The group will review the outcome indicators developed previously as part of the EE framework, and further elaborate on sources of information and baselines for those indicators. It will consider how to integrate monitoring data into the framework. In addition, the group will identify those categories of monitoring data most effective in providing information on global trends, what data could be used to assess the impact on levels and trends of mercury, and data limitations. Importantly, as advocated by ZMWG, the group will also assess the information, identify gaps and outline options to enhance the quality of the information.

Interim storage 

Decision MC 2/6 adopted the interim mercury storage guidelines which included a number of key elements to facilitate environmentally sound management.  We were pleased to see many of the important elements that ZMWG had proposed during the intersessional period are included in the guidelines, including provisions on financial assurances related to closure of the sites.


Decision MC 2/3 established an intersessional process to identify relevant point source categories of releases of mercury and mercury compound to land and water, including the establishment of a group of technical experts.

Contaminated sites

Decision MC 2/8 invites parties and other stakeholders to submit additional comments and information to complement and further improve the draft guidance, calling in particular for information and comments to make the guidance more practicable.

Review of Annex A and B

No specific decision was taken by the COP to start reviewing annexes A and B. However, a call for relevant information was launched by the Secretariat to prepare for COP3.

This is an important area for ZMWG; given the technological and political developments around the world since Annex A and B were adopted in 2013, we will be seeking to further strengthen the Convention.

HS Codes for mercury-added products

The Decision requests the Secretariat to suggest approaches for modifying customs codes to allow countries to distinguish mercury-added products from those products that do not contain mercury, including approaches for possible harmonization among countries. This is an important success for ZMWG, in support of the Global Mercury Partnership, recognizing the critical need for Parties to identify the production, import and export of mercury-added products to comply with Article 4.

Other issues

Other issues included a request for further information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer; as well as on the SIP; a small modification to the rules of procedure of the Implementation and Compliance Committee; and a decision that the secretariat of the MC will be autonomous and based in Geneva, with special arrangements with the BRS Secretariat. Finally, a new president, David Kapindula (Zambia), was elected for COP 3, along with new Bureau members.

ZMWG looks forward to a productive third meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Geneva 25-29 November 2019.   

Home Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
UNEP GC 25, 16-20 February 2009, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 14:28


PR: World governments support breakthrough agreement on mercury
[20 February 2009]

Final draft text of the agreement hereThe 25th UNEP Governing Council took place in Nairobi, Kenya , 16-20 February 2009. In preparation for that the 10th Global Civil Society Forum (GCSF) took on teh 14-15 February, Nairobi.

Sixteen NGO representatives, from 14 countries from around the world and covering all regions, participated to the above mentioned meetings.

A Preparatory NGO Strategy working group took place on the Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February 2009, in Nairobi., in parallel to the GCSF.

Information on the two meetings can be found at

10th, UNEP Global Civil Society Forum,
14-15 February 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

25th UNEP Governing Council
16-20 February 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

The NGOs had prepared and circulated a proposal for a GC Decision on mercury . Please find this below in EN, FR, and ES

A Preparatory NGO Strategy working group was organised by EEB/ZMWG on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th February 2009 , in Nairobi . In parallel the NGOs participated in relevant parts of the Global Civil Society Forum which took place on the same dates (14-15/2), in preparation of the GC.

As a result of the NGO strategy meeting three documents were formalised:

- A proposal for a GC Decision on mercury in EN, FR and ES

- A submission of the ZMWG, information document on desired outcome for the 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council

- Quick Views of Zero Mercury Working Group, on GC 25, developed in EN, FR and ES

At the opening of the meeting, EEB on behalf of the NGOs delivered the opening statement.

The proceedings of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (document UNEP/GC.25/17) in English is available on the UNEP website: http://www.unep.org/gc/gc25/ . The document has “advance” watermark pending the completion of the translation into all official languages of the United Nations.

Following UNEP Decision 25/5 as above an Open Ended Working Group (OEWG 3) on Mercury was held on 19-23 October 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand.

In preparation for the OEWG 3 an NGO meeting was held on the 17 October 2009, Bangkok, Thailand.

27 NGOs attended the meetings and gave valuable input to the discussions.

The following Zero Mercury Working Group Quick Views on a successful OEWG 3 on mercury was agreed among NGOs and circulated to the governement representatives. The ZMWG quick views were also translated in Portuguese, Arabic, Russian and French

At the opening of the meeting, EEB on behalf of the ZMWG/NGOs delivered the opening statement

The NGOs welcomed the outcome of the meeting with a press release on the 23 October 2009.

On 16-17th November 2009 a joint WHO-UNEP Experts Consultation of the "Future Use of Dental Restorative Materials" is foreseen to take place. The meeting is in response to UNEP GC 25/5 mandate to continue the existing work under the Global Mercury Partnership particularly in the areas of reducing mercury in products and processes and raising awareness of mercury-free alternatives, reducing mercury supply and enhancing storage capacities, and providing information on sound management of mercury.

Over 70 non-governmental organisations from around the world signed and addressed a letter to the meeting , calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a schedule to phase out the use of dental mercury fillings as soon as possible.