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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 ZMWG welcomes new Mercury Convention, calls for its speedy ratification - 50 by 2015: Make it Happen...
ZMWG welcomes new Mercury Convention, calls for its speedy ratification - 50 by 2015: Make it Happen PDF Print
Monday, 07 October 2013 02:14
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Zero Mercury Working Group welcomes new Mercury Convention, calls for its speedy ratification - 50 by 2015: Make it Happen!

Kumamoto, Japan; 7 October 2013 -  As more than 140 countries are expected to convene near the small town of Minamata, Japan, in the next few days to adopt a new legally binding treaty on mercury, the Zero Mercury Working Group[i] welcomes the new treaty.  It also urges governments pay homage to Minamata and the tragedy that befell this bucolic village by undertaking concrete activities that begin reducing global mercury pollution and ratifying the treaty quickly so that it legally enters into force.

“Governments and all the stakeholders involved need to build upon this momentum by continuing to undertake mercury reduction activities in parallel, and ratifying the treaty as fast as possible,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, ZMWG International Coordinator.  “We urge 50 countries to step up and ratify by 2015 — “50 by 2015 – Make it Happen!”

The treaty holds critical obligations that affect primary mining of mercury, mercury product phase-outs, mercury use, trade, emissions and disposal, among others, that taken together will eventually lead to global mercury reductions. 

“Delays in ratification not only translates to more mercury pollution,” said Lymberidi-Settimo, but it invariably raises the human and environmental costs of unabated mercury pollution.

During the preparatory meeting at the beginning of next week, governments must also decide on how to move collectively forward during the interim period until the treaty is ratified. 

“The Preparatory Meeting will need to agree interim activities of work to facilitate immediate mercury reduction and early ratification,” said Rico Euripidou of GroundWork South Africa, a member group of ZMWG.  “Countries need to take action while the treaty is in legal limbo. This must include providing the information and guidance necessary for developing countries to begin addressing crucial areas such as reducing mercury use in artisanal small-scale gold mining.”

The NGO group also expressed their preference that the resolutions to be adopted during this meeting, include language whereby NGO participation throughout the interim period is both facilitated and ensured. 

“This is particularly important where expert groups are created,” said Michael Bender, Coordinator of the ZMWG.  “NGO are needed to ensure that the process is balanced, transparent, and our technical experts can contribute their knowledge and experience.”

The ZMWG  expects a large number of countries to sign the treaty by the end of this week, opening the way to quick ratification.

Contacts

 

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator ‘Zero Mercury Campaign’, European Environmental Bureau, T: +32 2 2891301, Mobile: +32 496 532818, 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

Alison Abrahams, EEB Communications Officer at 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 +32 (0) 2289 13 09 or +32 (0) 489 304 962

Michael Bender, ZMWG International Coordinator, T: +802-917-4579, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Background reading:

http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/MinamataConvention/ConferenceofPlenipotentiaries/DipConMeetingDocuments/tabid/105833/Default.aspx



[i] Zero Mercury Working Group is an international coalition of over 95 NGOs from more than 50 countries,  see: www.zeromercury.org