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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 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.