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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 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