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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 CLOCK TICKING: TIME RUNNING OUT TO ADDRESS THE GLOBAL MERCURY CRISIS
CLOCK TICKING: TIME RUNNING OUT TO ADDRESS THE GLOBAL MERCURY CRISIS PDF Print
Monday, 02 July 2012 23:41

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

 CLOCK TICKING: TIME RUNNING OUT TO ADDRESS THE GLOBAL MERCURY CRISIS

 

[2nd July 2012]; Punta del Este, Uruguay -- Governments meeting at the 4th of only 5 negotiations are running out of time to meaningfully address key issues before finalizing a legally binding treaty on mercury, say NGOs.   Most major policy issues remain unresolved and the Zero Mercury Working Group, a global coalition of NGOs, expressed concern over the lack of progress at such a late stage.

 

“There has been no substantial progress with respect to the biggest sources of mercury pollution, emissions to air, nor in reconciling the different positions of governments,” said. Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator “This issue is critical to diffuse the ticking mercury time bomb.”

 

Issues as straightforward as the phase out of mercury in products and processes and supply and trade did not progress any better. 

 

“Time is running out on deciding which products to phase out and by when,” explained Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, co-coordinator of ZMWG.  “Nor has any substantive progress been made on banning primary mining or ending the toxic trade in mercury.”

 

Barely visible in the draft treaty are core requirements for the environmentally sound management of elemental mercury and mercury waste, which are contingent on future decisions.  At the same time, the issue of contaminated sites has only been minimally addressed and no support given to the polluter pays principle.

 

One small light in the dark tunnel of the negotiation was a resolution on reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining through developing national action plans.  Yet even this small advance was overshadowed by the loophole on determining who are “significant” users of mercury. Unless this is defined, large users may walk away from their responsibility.

 

Regrettably, countries from the north are united in opposing a separate health article in the treaty to help countries assess and reduce exposure to mercury.  This is something that China, the Latin American and African regions have all called for.

 

“This is an example of north – south double standard over whether health issues will be addressed equitably, even though the whole reason for negotiation is to protect human health,” stated Rico Euripidou from Groundwork, South Africa, a member of the ZMWG.”Mercury is a basic human rights issue, as it affects millions of people. Health strategies to address reducing exposure to mercury must be included in this treaty.”

 

“One last round of negotiation is left to get things right,” said Richard Gutierrez, director of Ban Toxics!, a member of the ZMWG.  “Countries need to now get out of their positions and engage in meaningful compromises for our world and for future generations’.    

 

Notes to the editors

 

Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, contaminates fish supplies around the world, and poses particular risks to women and young children.  The anticipated Mercury Convention, projected to be finalized in January 2013 at the fifth negotiation in Geneva, is expected to address mercury pollution globally.

 

ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP PRELIMINARY VIEWS ON INC 4 DRAFT TREATY TEXT MAY 2012 - English version

 

PRELIMINARY DRAFT ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP RESPONSE TO CO-CHAIRS PROPOSED APPROACH TO EMISSIONS AND RELEASES May 2012

 

Zero Mercury Working Group Initial Comments on Products/Processes Discussion Paper June 2012

 

ZMWG Views on Mercury Use in Dental Amalgam, June 2012

 

ZMWG INC 4 BRIEFING PAPER SERIES Phasing out Mercury Use in Button Cell Batteries (

 

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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Mobile: +32 496 532818

 

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: +802 917 4579