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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)

 
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UNEP Hg INC 6, 3-7 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand PDF Print
Thursday, 23 October 2014 01:59

 6th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Mercury Treaty -  INC 6

3-7 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand


All UNEP relevant documents and details about the meeting can be found at the UNEP website:  http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/INC6/tabid/3563/Default.aspx 


ZMWG  publications and position papers

 27 October 2014
Minamata Convention on Mercury - Ratification and Implementation Manual

27 October 2014
ZMWG Action Challenge Interim Report

ZMWG Preliminary views On Selected INC6 Proposals

ZMWG STATEMENTS @ INC 6

Monday 3 November

ZMWG INC 6 Opening Statement 

Tuesday 4 November

ZMWG Statement Art. 3

ZMWG Statement Art. 6

Wednesday 5 November

ZMWG Statement Art. 21

Thursday 6 November

ZMWG Statement Art. 7

ZMWG Statement Art. 10


COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES

Press releases

29 October 2014:

‘Zero Mercury’ Group: Governments Must Do More to Curb Supply and Trade; Gives governments ‘C-’ grade since mercury treaty approved

Side event

Preliminary Dialogue on Mercury Trade in South East Asia Region with selected exporter countries., 6 November 2014, Room F, Bangkok, , INC 6

ZMWG Blog

Summary of Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) 6

[7November 2014, Bangkok]

The Zero Mercury Working Group (Zero Mercury) closely followed the Mercury INC 6 negotiations in Bangkok, 3-7 November 2014.  These negotiations were held in preparation for the first meeting of the Conference of Parties once the Minamata Convention enters into force. 

Our main priorities for INC 6 were related to how to best translate the Convention’s requirements into measureable and substantial reductions in global mercury use, trade and emissions.   We also noted that monitoring and reporting data are vital to determining compliance, ensuring accountability and enhancing interest by donors in supporting the Convention — both now and into the future.

INC 6 saw progress on several important fronts. First, regarding financial matters, there was movement in development of a Memorandum of Understanding for working with the Global Environment Facility, which will be the main financial instrument for the Convention.  Second, an expert group was established to work on the Special International Programme (SIP), which is an additional Convention financial assistance mechanism.  The expert group is charged with providing input to INC 7 and/or COP1 regarding the appropriate direction for the SIP to take.

One of our top priorities for INC 6 was to ensure that countries collect and exchange critical mercury trade information in a timely manner. We are pleased to note that the import consent form now includes  space for denial of consent  as well as information that the importing country needs from the exporter regarding the sources, amounts and proposed uses for the mercury.

Regarding the reporting form that countries must submit to describe progress in implementing the Convention, many important issues were raised, several of which were pointed out in our intervention on 5 November[1]. However, due to time constraints these issues were left for resolution at INC 7. 

Finally, on another important issue, several countries supported using the draft guidance on National Action Plans (NAP) produced by the Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining Partnership as the basis to create NAP guidance for the Convention. This development is important because countries are already working on National Action Plans so the sooner the guidance can be completed the better.

All told, INC 6 has laid the groundwork for the final INC 7.  The final road map is almost in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury use.   Zero Mercury urges all countries to now follow through on their commitments and we stand ready to assist as appropriate.

[1] http://www.zeromercury.org/phocadownload/Developments_at_UNEP_level/INC6/ZMWG_INC6_Article_21_Intervention.pdf



 

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