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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 Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
UNEP Hg INC 5, 13-18 January 2013, Geneva, Switzerland PDF Print
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 18:05

5th meeting of the Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee - INC 5

13-18 January 2013, Geneva, Switzerland

 A letter has been sent to INC delegates on 7th January 2013 -

ZMWG letter: Last chance to develop strong treaty to reduce mercury exposure, 7 January 2013 

 Press releases

Last Chance for Governments to Develop Strong Global Mercury Treaty 12 January 2013

Mercury treaty rises but weak emissions regime undercuts progress  19 January 2013

 Collection of INC 5 related press clips

All UNEP relevant documents and details about the meeting can be found at the UNEP website:

http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/Mercury/Negotiations/INC5/INC5MeetingDocuments/tabid/3495/language/en-US/Default.aspx

In preparation for the INC 5 on Mercury, the following ZMWG position papers have been developed:

 November 2012

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5, November 2012 - English

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5 November 2012 - French

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5 November 2012- Spanish

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5 - November 2012- Portuguese

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5 -  November 2012 -Arabic

ZMWG preliminary views on the Chair's draft text for INC 5 - November 2012- Russian

 

ZMWG INC 5 BRIEFING PAPER SERIES - ASGM and Mercury Trade , November 2012

ZMWG views on dental amalgam, January 2013

 

ZMWG STATEMENTS @ INC 5

Opening statement 13/01/13

Products and Processes 13/01/13 (EN and FR)

FInance and Technical assistance 13/01/13 in EN in EN and in RUS

Emissions and Releases 14/01/13

Supply and Trade 14/01/13

ASGM 14/01/13

Storage and Waste  14/01/13  in EN and Arabic

Article 20 bis on health

 

COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES

In preparation for  INC 5 ZMWG is undertaking a series of Communication activities:

Two Global ZMWG Webinars set for 4th December 2012, Webinar 1: 8.30 AM CET , Webinar 2: 16:00 PM CET , Instructions on how to get on the webinar

On the 4th December 2012, the Zero Mercury Working Group, in cooperation with scientists from the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and with other prominent scientists, is organizing a global webinar to release new findings that demonstrate extensive mercury contamination of seafood and to summarize recent studies that show health effects from methylmercury occurring below the level that was considered “safe” just a few years ago. Scientists will highlight new research and explain why current government “safety limits” should be strengthened worldwide. The reports will be released accompanied by a press release on the 4th December 2012. . This comes ahead of the final round of United Nations negotiations, scheduled in January 2013, for a global mercury treaty.

Slides from the webinar presentations now available now available!

The actual webinar video can be downloaded here.

Press Release - 4 December 2012 - Evidence shows mercury threat underestimated ahead of UN treaty talks
Also from colleagues around the world - SDPI Pakistan, AWHHE- Armenia, EeA- Spain, EEB/ZMWG FR version

Reports are now available:

BRI report:  Mercury in the Global Environment - Patterns of Global Seafood Mercury Concentrations and their Relationship with Human Health

Groth report for ZMWG: An Overview of Epidemiological Evidence on the Effects of Methylmercury on Brain Development, and A Rationale for a Lower Definition of Tolerable Exposure

ZMWG summary/recommendations - Mercury Contamination, Exposures and Risk: A New Global Picture Emerges

ZMWG News Clips from Global Webinar