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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 Mercury treaty negotiation moves forward in ‘fits and starts’
Mercury treaty negotiation moves forward in ‘fits and starts’ PDF Print
Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00
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Mercury treaty negotiation moves forward in ‘fits and starts’

[4TH November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya] - Over 500 delegates from 125 countries met this week to continue constructing a legally-binding global mercury treaty. While the content of the draft treaty text was discussed, public interest NGOs tried to ensure that important control measures are in the streamlined new treaty text.

“Although some progress was made in terms of narrowing down the options important issues such as air emissions remain deadlocked,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. Due to its capacity for long-range transport, atmospheric emissions of mercury contribute the most to contaminating the global fish supply, threatening human health and the environment.

The delegates discussed various sources of mercury pollution to the global pool.  These ranged from polluting practices in artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM); emissions to air and releases to water and land; products and processes; waste, storage, and contaminated sites.

Relative progress was made on mercury storage and waste sections, where new draft treaty text was agreed as a basis for discussions for the next meeting of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC).

“The new treaty text provides a starting framework for the storage of mercury and safe management of waste,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator. “We are still concerned over what seems to be the blocking of progressive moves to prohibit mercury waste dumping in developing countries.”

The new text now reflects significant agreement to address mercury use in ASGM, a large and growing source of mercury pollution. Among the remaining issues still to be resolved, is which countries will be covered by the relevant provisions and whether mercury can be imported for this use. 

On products and processes, NGOs welcomed the fact that the option on voluntary approaches was removed. “It is important that such areas are regulated”, said Dr. Mahmood Khwaja, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Pakistan. “Removing mercury from products will be one step forward towards controlling the spread of mercury contamination and is huge step towards prevention and minimisation of mercury waste”.

An expert meeting was agreed to take place before the next INC meeting (number four)  to advance discussions on finances since relevant discussions stalled at this session. UNEP has been asked to prepare a revised draft treaty text as a basis for discussions at the next meeting.

“Multilateralism has to work, for our world’s sake,” stated Richard Gutierrez of Ban Toxics!, Philippines.  “We can achieve this only if countries get out of their positions and begin engaging in meaningful compromises for our world and for future generations.   

Notes for the editor

Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, contaminates fish supplies around the world, and poses particular risks to women and young children. The anticipated mercury treaty will address mercury pollution globally.

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

ZMWG Position for INC 3 - Abridged version EN

Other language versions available at www.zeromercury.org

CONTACTS:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator 'Zero Mercury Campaign' , European Environmental Bureau/ZMWG, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Mobile: +32 496 532818 , in Kenya +254 706 045 272.

Michael Bender, Director, Mercury Policy Project/ZMWG, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , T: +1 802 223 9000

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of more than 94 public interest environmental and health non-governmental 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 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.