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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

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:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts:


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 Press Releases Best way to honor Minamata is to adopt a strong mercury treaty, say NGOs
Best way to honor Minamata is to adopt a strong mercury treaty, say NGOs PDF Print
Monday, 24 January 2011 00:00
zeromercury_logoeeb_logoCACP_logohealth_care_without_harm_logo

[Monday 24 January, Chiba, Japan] – As delegates from more than 100 countries today begin the second round of negotiations for a legally binding treaty on mercury , environmental and health NGOs and indigenous nation representatives from around the world urged them to truly honor the Minamata tragedy by agreeing to adopt strong measures to reduce exposure to mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin.

“If the world’s governments really want to call this the “Minamata Treaty” when the treaty is signed there in 2013, then they should back up their words with meaningful actions,” said Takeshi Yasuma, of Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution, a Japanese NGO, noting that a Japanese official had proposed calling it the “Minamata Treaty” during the first negotiation session last year, echoing an earlier statement from the Prime Minister of Japan.i

Meaningful actions means strong treaty measures to:

·         Phase out the use of mercury in the vast majority of products and industrial processes;

·         Reduce the global supply of mercury by phasing out mercury mining, and strictly limiting mercury trade to the few allowable uses under the treaty;

·         Require best available control technologies to minimize mercury emissions from new and existing priority sources, such as coal-fired power plants and non­ferrous smelters;

·         Require governments to implement action plans to reduce mercury use and releases from artisanal small scale gold mining .

·         Improve global capabilities to safely manage mercury waste and respond to contaminated sites, including addressing the needs of vulnerable populations in harms way; and

·         Provide sufficient funding as needed to assist countries within the developing world.

The starting draft is extremely weak in some of these crucial areas, such as the failure to control air emissions from existing facilities. Without strengthening provisions, mercury pollution from thousands of miles away will continue to affect indigenous peoples and contaminate their food sources.

“Today, mercury pollution threatens public health across the globe,” said Josh Karliner, International Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm. “The governments gathered here have an opportunity to protect people and the environment for generations to come. But to do so, they must significantly strengthen the draft text they’ve been given. “

“We look forward to working with governments at INC 2 to develop the kind of treaty text that will be required to meet these objectives,” said Rachel Kamande of the European Environmental Bureau / Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG).

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

CACP

Takeshi Yasuma, Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , http://www.ne.jp/asahi/kagaku/pico/

ZMWG

Rachel Kamande, Project officer ‘ Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau/ZMWG, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Mobile:+32 477 367289,

Linda E. Greer, Ph.D., Director ­Health Program, Natural Resources Defense Council/ZMWG, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Mobile: 1 202 281 4098,

Josh Karliner, International Coordinator, Health Care Without Harm, +1 415 613 5386, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

Note to the editor background documents

 

23 January 2011, Chiba Japan,

CACP/ZMWG NGO lunch event - Honoring Minamata. Poster-invitation also in Japanese

ZMWG comments on the Elements paper

ZMWG summary of changes to the elements paper

ZMWG comments on the UNEP INC 2 Draft elements paper

(i) Environmental NGOs include :

Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution (CACP), a Tokyo based NGO was established in 1997 and since then it has been working on policies and issues related to chemicals pollution in humans and environment. For more information see: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/kagaku/pico/index.html

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of more than 93 public interest environmental and health non­governmental organizations from 45 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. (www.zeromercury.org )

 

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), www.eeb.org , is a federation of over 150 environmental citizens’ organisations based in most EU Member States, most candidate and potential candidate countries as well as in a few neighbouring countries. EEB is the environmental voice of European citizens, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. We want the EU to ensure all people a healthy environment and rich biodiversity.

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), www.noharm.org, Health Care Without Harm is a global coalition of thousands of health professionals, hospitals and health systems working in 52 countries to promote public health and environmental sustainability.

i See: http://mercurypolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/hatoyama-apologizes-to-minamata-victims-2010.pdf