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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
UNEP Hg INC 1, 7-11 June 2010, Stockholm, Sweden PDF Print
Friday, 10 September 2010 14:47

ZMWG preparatory work for the First session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, Stockholm, Sweden (INC1)

ZMWG Framework for a mercury treaty
June 2010

ZMWG observations on UNEP documents produced for INC 1
2 June 2010

ZMWG Though-started on Artisanal and Small scale gold mining (ASGM)
2 June 2010
and in ES

ZMWG fact sheet on mercury

ZMWG fact sheet on skin creams

March 2010 Working Draft

FR, ES, CHI, RU, Arab and PT,JP
18 March 2010


7-11 June 2010, INC1, Stockholm, Sweden

Fifty five representatives of NGOs, from 29 countries, participated at the Mercury INC 1, Stockholm, Sweden. An NGO preparatory meeting took place on the 5 June 2010. On the 6 June 2010 Technical Briefings were organised by UNEP, all presentations can be found here. In the afternoon, the ZMWG organised a demonstration and training of the NGOs on how to use a LUMEX monitoring instrument, to monitor mercury emissions in the air, with the help of an engineer from LUMEX.

A ZMWG exhibition booth was set up providing information on mercury in different products and processes (lamps, measuring devices, chlor-alkali, artisanal small scale gold mining etc) as well as our position papers. Pollution Probe's (Canada) booth exhibited the theme on mercury in products. IPEN had a booth on their Mercury Free Campaign.

Two films on how mercury is freely traded in the New Delhi market , as well as one on Mercury use in hospitals in India, was produced by Toxics Link under the Zero Mercury Campaign and projected at the ZMWG exhibition booth during the week. A powerpoint presentation made by CACP (Japan) on the Minamata disease and mercury in Japan was also projected during the week.

During the week the ZMWG Say.... aaaHg!!! action took place - governmnent delegates had the possibility to measure mercury in their breath mainly coming from dental amalgams containing mercury, by using the LUMEX - portable mercury monitoring instrument.

During the meeting the NGOs presence was very evident. Statements were given in a coordinated, complementary manner by the NGOs' network representatives and received very positive feedback. Below you can see statements made by the Zero Mercury Working Group as well as Joint statements.

ZMWG statements/Press releases

7 June
Joint Press release - ZMWG, IPEN , SSNC
Opening Statement
Indigenous NGOs opening statement
Joint (ZMWG+IPEN) statement on Objectives
8 June
Joint (ZMWG+IPEN) statement on Treaty Structure
Statement on Finances and Compliance

Statement on Compliance and Reporting

9 June
Statement on Supply

Statement on Demand
Joint (ZMWG+IPEN) statement on Waste and contaminated sites
10 June
Statement on Storage
Statement on mercury in Atmospheric Emissions
ICC statement on emissions
Statement on Awareness raising and information
CEPHED statement
11 June
CACP statement on Minamata
Joint (ZMWG+IPEN) final statement
ZMWG final Press release

Photo Gallery
Lumex NGOs training 1 , 2
The ZMWG exhibition booth
Say....aaaHg! ZMWG action 1 , 2 , 3

The participation of 132 countries’ reaffirmed the importance and international commitment to address the global mercury problem. We hope that this first round of discussions covering all issues will open the way to more substantive discussions on legally binding control measures in order to minimise and, where feasible, eliminate mercury from use, supply and emissions globally.

During the meeting countries expressed their views on potential targeted control provisions on mercury issues such as supply; storage of excess mercury; use of mercury in products and processes; artisanal small scale gold mining; trade; atmospheric emissions of mercury; waste and contaminated sites; as well as on compliance, finances, capacity building and technical assistance and awareness raising. Countries and regions also expressed their opinions on how discussions should unfold during the coming INCs.

We now look forward to engaging in focused discussions in areas such as supply, trade and storage of surplus mercury where substantial progress can be made. UNEP has now been tasked to draft options on measures to reduce supply, demand and emissions, to be discussed at INC 2, Tokyo, Japan, January 2011.