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22 September 2017

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New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland

Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

The First Conference of the Parties will take place from 24 to 29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.  Over 1,000 delegates and around 50 ministers are expected to assemble in Geneva to celebrate and lay the groundwork for the treaty’s overall effectiveness.
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

Mercury is a global pollutant that travels long distances. Its most toxic form – methylmercury - accumulates in large predatory fish and is taken up in our bodies through eating fish, with the worst impacts on babies in utero

For more information, see:




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

For information on reporting, please contact 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information, please contact:

*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 3, 31 October - 4 November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya PDF Print
Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:09

3rd meeting of the Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee - INC3
31st October - 4th November 2011
,Nairobi, Kenya

The third Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee took place in Nairobi, Kenya, 31st October - 4th November 2011.   All relevant documents and details about the meeting can be found at http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/Mercury/Negotiations/INC3/tabid/3469/Default.aspx

In preparation for the INC 3 on Mercury, the following ZMWG position papers have been developed (September 2011):

ZMWG Preliminary Views on the INC 3 Draft Treaty text - English version

ZMWG Position Preliminaire INC 3 Draft - FR

ZMWG Preliminary Views on The INC3 Draft treaty - Arabic Version

ZMWG Preliminary Views on the INC 3 Draft Treaty text - Japanese Version

ZMWG Position for INC 3 - Abridged version(EN) , in FR, ES


ZMWG published two press releases - one at the start and one at the end of the meeting:

ZMWG PR: Mercury treaty negotiation moves forward in ‘fits and starts’
Nairobi, 4 November 2011

ZMWG PR:NGOsi Urge World Governments to Negotiate a Strong Mercury Treaty
Nairobi, 31 October 2011


ZMWG Statements while at INC 3

Opening statement
Suppy and Trade
Allowable use exemption
Artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM)
Emissions and releases
Storage (Joint IPEN/ZMWG statement)
Financing and technical assistance
Awareness raising and information in EN and Arabic

The ZMWG exhibition booth featured posters from the projects in different countries, position papers, publications and video screaning from iLima organisation.

INC 3 Nairobi, Kenya 11/2011        INC 3 Nairobi, Kenya 11/2011

Conference Room Papers that were circulated during INC 3

CRP1 Swiss Waste

CRP2 Japan threshold

CRP3 Japan trade

CRP4 Japan products


CRP6 EU stockpiles


CRP8 Norway processes

CRP9 Norway emissions

CRP10 IndiaChina

CRP11 Artengtina Preamble

CRP12 India emissions

CRP13 Final provisions

CRP14rev1 LAC countries products


CRP16 oil and gas

CRP17 Chile WTO

CRP18 EU products

CRP 19 GRULAC health

CRP20 settlement of disputes

CRP21 waste-storage-contsites

CRP22rev awareness raising

CRP23 Brazil Chile BAT