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New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “Mercury respects no boundaries and exposes people everywhere”
“Only a global pact can curtail this dangerous neurotoxin.”

In October 2013 the convention text was adopted and signed by 128 countries, but would not take legal effect until at least 50 countries had ratified it formally.  This milestone was reached in May of this year, and the convention enters into force today 16 August. 

“We are now on the right track,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Manager, European Environmental Bureau and ZMWG co- coordinator. 

“Over time, the Convention is expected to provide the necessary technical and financial resources to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury worldwide. Governments must therefore move swiftly towards efficient implementation of the Treaty’s provisions”.

The aim of the Convention is "to protect the human health and the environment” from mercury releases.

The treaty holds critical obligations for Parties to ban new primary mercury mines while phasing out existing ones and also includes a ban on many common products and processes using mercury, measures to control releases, and a requirement for national plans to reduce mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.  In addition, it seeks to reduce trade, promote sound storage of mercury and its disposal, address contaminated sites and reduce exposure from 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.

The Minamata Convention joins 3 other UN conventions seeking to reduce impacts from chemicals and waste – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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 " 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 "> 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

Notes to the editors:

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 and small children. 

*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.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. We are also active on overarching issues as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond.

We have over 140 members in over 30 countries.

EC register for interest representatives: Identification number 06798511314-27
International non-profit association - Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL)

 
Home Press Releases NGOs Urge World Governments to Negotiate a Strong Mercury Treaty
NGOs Urge World Governments to Negotiate a Strong Mercury Treaty PDF Print
Monday, 31 October 2011 00:00
eeb logozeromercury logo

NGOs[i] Urge World Governments to Negotiate a Strong Mercury Treaty

Nairobi, 31 October 2011—Today, delegates from more than 100 countries begin the third round of negotiations for a legally binding treaty on mercury. Environmental and health NGOs from around the world call on governments to begin hammering out specific measures to curb the rising tide of mercury pollution worldwide. 

Delegates have proposed draft treaty text and are expected to begin using it as the starting point for negotiations.

 “Too many options are on the table,” said Elena Lymberidi- Settimo, ZMWG co-coordinator at EEB.   “It’s time to weed out the weak options on the way to building a strong mercury treaty.”

 “Governments are almost halfway through the negotiation process, so they need to start agreeing on meaningful actions,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator at MPP. "Without coordinated action by the international community, mercury pollution will continue to threaten vulnerable populations worldwide,"

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 risks to vulnerable populations; and

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

The case on taking bold and decisive action is clear,” said Richard Gutierrez, Ban Toxics!, “We need to build off from well established values such as the precautionary principle, polluter pays, and environmental justice, among others.”

NGOs look forward to working with governments at INC 3 to achieve these objectives, so that by INC 4 the basic outlines of the treaty are clear.

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For more information:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo,ZMWG co-coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Mobile:+32 496 532818, www.zeromercury.org

Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator, 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 , Mobile +1 8029174579

Note to the editor

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

UNEP INC 3 Negotiations:  http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/Mercury/tabid/434/Default.aspx



[i] The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of more than 94 public interest environmental and health nongovernmental organizations from 52 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 140 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.