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As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

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 " target="_blank"> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

*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
UNEP GC 25, 16-20 February 2009, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 14:28

VICTORY!!! A GLOBAL AGREEMENT ON MERCURY

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.