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Press Release

As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

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 " target="_blank"> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

*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 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