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Press Release

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 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

ZMWG PROPOSED PARTIAL CONCEPTUAL TEXT FOR A GLOBAL MERCURY TREATY
March 2010 Working Draft
(EN)

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.