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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 Press Releases EU ‘sees the light’ on energy efficient lamps: mercury content going down
EU ‘sees the light’ on energy efficient lamps: mercury content going down PDF Print
Friday, 01 October 2010 01:00

1st October 2010

Environmental NGOsi welcome the European Commission's decision to reduce the maximum mercury content in certain energy efficient lampsii It is not only a good step for the EU but also establishes a global precedent for others to follow, they say.

“We are pleased to see that Commission took steps to reduce mercury in energy efficient lamps going on the market,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB Zero Mercury Project Coordinator. “Many more types of lamps will require a reduction in their mercury content and the limits are much lower for those covered before. We are particularly pleased with the lowest limit introduced (2.5 mg Hg/lamp) for commonly used compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) “

“This Commission decision on mercury content in lamps now firmly establishes a global precedent that others should follow,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project and Co-Coordinator of the Green Lighting Campaign.

“The new RoHS3 mercury standards promise to transform the lighting industry on a global scale,” said Alicia Culver, Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network and Co-Coordinator of the Green Lighting Campaign. “Workers will be better protected because these lower limits can generally only be reached by accurate and encapsulated (metered) dosing systems that prevent workers from becoming exposed to this persistent toxic chemical. Consumers will also face a lower health risk if a fluorescent lamp breaks in their home or office.”

Nevertheless, considering the ban of incandescent lamps already in place, the increased use of energy efficient lamps (mainly in households) and the global relevance of the issue, NGOs still have some serious reservations.

Since 2008, during the comment period, NGOs had expressed concerns that: even lower, than the proposed, limits could be set for most categories, since lamps complying with those levels are already on the market – from at least two international manufacturers; transition periods for requiring lower mercury content were too long and were not necessary, and stated that there should also be expiry dates to drive future innovation of the mercury free market.

In addition, the NGOs are disappointed that there was no maximum limit set for some lamp categories such as metal halides and some high-pressure sodium lamps (HPS) lamps, which are commonly used for lighting streets and other outdoor areas, and that the ban was not applied to certain applications such as exit signs. Ultimately, however, they strongly believe that mercury-containing lamps should only be used for a limited period of time, and be replaced with other energy-efficient and mercury-free ones such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

Complementary, on-the-ground action is now necessary to ensure control, safe disposal and limit exposure to citizens.

strengthen safe separate waste collection and recycling of mercury containing lamps. Awareness raising campaigns are necessary to inform the public about mercury and measures to be taken for safe use and disposal, including at selling points”, said Lymberidi-Settimo.

‘In addition, EU decision makers must push for strong revised RoHS and WEEEiii Directives, with stringent review procedures as well as collection and recycling targets specifically for mercury-containing lamps.”

For more information contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator Zero Mercury Campaign, European Environmental Bureau, T: +32 2 2891301, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Michael Bender, Co-Coordinator , Green Lighting Campaign; Mercury Policy Project, T: +1 802-223- 9000, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Alicia           Culver,           Director,            Responsible       Purchasing       Network,      T:       1      +510-547-5475, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Notes for editors

Under the current RoHS Directive (2002/95), its annex has been under review through the commitology procedure. A new annex has now been adopted in the form of EC Decision 2010/571, including exemptions to the prohibition of using certain hazardous substances in electr(on)ic products, such as maximum allowed limits of mercury in energy saving lamps.

In parallel the RoHS and the WEEE directives as a whole are currently under revision (recast) under the EU co- decision procedure which still has to be completed.

The new annex (EC decision 2010/571) as adopted, is currently considered as part of the existing RoHS directive (2002/95) and will be incorporated into the revised version of the directive as soon as this is agreed upon.

See also:

7 October 2009

NGO’s Comments on the classification of CFLs and their mercury content ((RoHS Annex review)

31 August 2009

Letter to Member States

Summary table

NGOs Consolidated comments on RoHS review, concerning mercury in lamps Annexes

i The European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of more than 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all EU Member States and most Accession Countries, as well as in a few neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and international. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

The Mercury Policy Project (MPP), www.mercurypolicy.org, began in 1998, and works to promote policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. We co-founded the Green Lighting Campaign in collaboration with the Green Purchasing Institute and strive to work harmoniously with other groups and individuals who have similar goals and interests.

The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN), www.ResponsiblePurchasing.org, is committed to leveraging the power of responsible procurement to conserve resources, mitigate pollution and waste, and promote a healthy economy. Conventional institutional procurement of products and services throughout the United States often results in extensive negative impacts on public health and the environment. We are committed to the identification, utilization and dissemination of standards and practices that minimize or eliminate destructive impacts without compromising performance or cost-effectiveness.

ii EC Decision 2010/571, amending the Annex of the Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment, 2002/95 , under the Comitology procedure

http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:251:0028:0034:EN:PDF and corrigendum http://eur­lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:201 0:254:0048:0048:EN:PDF

iii Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Directive(2002/95), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2002/96)