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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

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Lebanon PDF Print
Sunday, 02 October 2011 18:56

Coordinating NGO for EEB/ZMWG funded project:                   The League of Indipendent Activists (IndyAct)

Contact details:            Naji Kodeih- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Local dental workers at risk from mercury use, Emma Gatten, The Daily Star, 30 March 2012

dentalPicIdnyact


BEIRUT: Dental workers in Lebanon are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of mercury due to their continued use of the substance in dental work, despite widespread global acceptance of the risks, according to a report released Thursday by NGO IndyAct.

“The results showed that the health care sector, and the dental sector in particular, have high levels of mercury, and the workers in this sector are exposed to medium to high risk levels,” said Naji Kodeih, a toxic chemist with IndyAct who led the research.

The study, conducted in October last year, assessed levels of mercury in different sectors across Lebanon and Morocco, including cement and chemical industry zones, dumps and the health care sector.

Kodeih estimated that around 30 percent of dental surgeries still use amalgam fillings which contain mercury, putting their mercury concentration levels up to 25 as high as those that do not.

A highly toxic substance, mercury can be fatal if inhaled directly, and is harmful when absorbed. As well as in dental fillings, it is also used in medical equipment including thermometers and as a component of paint and batteries.

Long-term exposure to the chemical can cause symptoms including paralysis, insomnia and damage to vision and hearing but its real danger lies in the potential, and irreversible, harm to fetal and child development, particularly neurologically.

Kodeih said the government could do much more to try and control the problem, and bring Lebanon in line with other countries’ regulations.

“We call on the government to give high attention to this problem, and to set up the necessary legislation and national strategy and policy, and to take a more active role in international negotiations,” he said.

Mona Haddad, representing the Syndicate of Hospitals, said the cost of replacement and a lack of awareness of the dangers of mercury poisoning both played a large part in its continued use in hospital equipment, one of the major sources of demand for mercury-containing products.

“In major hospitals they do know about it, but if you go to the rural areas that’s where you see a lack,” she said.

Haddad said Lebanon lacks basic regulation over mercury disposal, which means it is often dumped and ultimately enters the water system.

Haddad said Lebanon could look to other countries for responsible disposal methods, particularly Sweden which is on track for a centralized collection point for mercury waste by 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 30, 2012, on page 4. Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Mar-30/168472-local-dental-workers-at-risk-from-mercury-use.ashx#ixzz1qbmb78cG 
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)




2011 Project title:               Measuring Mercury Pollution in the air in Lebanon and Morocco

 Project objectives:     Use the Lumex machine to analyze mercury content in different usages

Activities:

ð     Analyze mercury emissions in open dumpsites and hospital waste incinerators, work coordinated with the Zero Waste coalition in Lebanon and in Morocco

ð     Increase local awareness of mercury hazards

Status:  completed, summary of the project activitiesFinal report

2010 Project

IndyAct, with technical and financial support by the EEB/ZMWG, will be organising a workshop for representatives of Arab states and representatives of Arab NGOs, in preparation for the second session of negotiations on mercury. It is believed that this, will greatly help to bring views together, increase the understanding of Arab delegates on the issue, and shape positions that would help achieve an effective, comprehensive and binding Convention on mercury.

The workshop aims to achieve the following objectives:

  •  Strengthening the awareness of participants about the dangers of mercury, and policy options to avoid these dangers based on science.
  • Provide the participants (especially negotiators) with information on the most important issues being negotiated.
  • Work to bring the views together to achieve a unified Arab position on key issues being negotiated.
  • Activate the role of the Arab groups (especially NGOs) in the negotiations to achieve a comprehensive, strong, and binding agreement on mercury.
  • To develop an official Lebanese and Arab position, clear and consistent with the overall objectives of the potential agreement to come.

Deliverables

The workshop took place on the 4-5 November 2010 , in Beirut, Lebanon.
Over 11 Arab country representatives participated actively to the meeting, UNEP, the Mercury INC Chair, ZMWG, and many NGOs from the Arab region.

The outcome of the meeting was a Position Paper issued by the Arab Consultative Workshop . The paper is also available in Arabic.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 10:40