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Summary of the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

24th-29th September, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, 24th-29th of September 2017 and intervened as appropriate[1]. We were pleased to see the COP1 reached consensus on pending matters from prior meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) which resulted in establishing an effective Convention operational framework for achieving significant mercury reductions.

Our main priorities for COP1 included adoption of forms and guidance that was approved at INC 7, and addressing the issues of reporting, waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, effectiveness evaluation, and matters for future action, which included the following decisions.

  • Article 3 guidance on identifying mercury stocks, and the forms/instructions for complying with mercury trade consent and related certification requirements;
  • The product and process exemption forms and associated register of exemptions under Article 6 of the Convention; a registrar will be kept by the Secretariat and these will also be available to the public
  • Article 8 (air emissions) guidance on BAT/ BEP, options for existing facility control requirements, preparing emissions inventories, and selection of “relevant sources” within the specified source categories; and
  • The Guidance for preparing the ASGM National Action Plan (NAP) under article 7.

COP1 also saw significant progress concerning various other ZMWG priorities, including :

Reporting:          Forms were adopted for use by Parties to report back on the measures undertaken to meet Convention obligations and on the effectiveness of those measures.  In particular, ZMWG most welcomed the decision for a shorter reporting cycle for supply and trade, reporting per year data on a biennial basis. For other obligations, Parties will report every four years. It was also agreed that each Party will submit its first biennial report by 31 December 2019 and its first full report by December 2021. Parties are also encouraged to submit an electronic form,  and the Secretariat is requested to make the Parties electronic reports available.

Furthermore, it was agreed that Parties would provide access to their data related to mercury emissions, under Article 8. Parties would also provide the rational on how they plan to ensure that facilities responsible for at least 75% of the emissions from a source category are subject to controls.

Waste Thresholds:          COP1 established an intercessional work group to further elaborate on waste thresholds, building on a document introduced by Japan. As recommended by NRDC/ZMWG, the terms of reference for the working group were focused more on determining which mercury wastes warrant thresholds rather than assuming thresholds are appropriate for all wastes. The expert group will identify the types of waste that fall within the categories specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11, provide related information; prioritising the types of waste identified that are most relevant for the establishment of waste thresholds, and identify possible approaches to establishing any needed thresholds for those prioritised waste for consideration at COP2. We were also pleased to see COP1 approving the participation of civil society within the working group, another ZMWG priority.

Interim Storage:                             COP1 requested the Secretariat to undertake further revision of the draft guidelines through input from relevant experts, including technical experts from the Basel Convention and present a revised draft for consideration at COP2. Provisional use of the current draft guidelines is encouraged.

Effectiveness Evaluation:             COP1 adopted a draft road map for establishing arrangements both for providing comparable monitoring data and elements of an effectiveness evaluation framework, as ZMWG had sought.  To that end an ad hoc group of experts was established including 25 experts nominated by the Parties – 5 per region, as well as 10 civil society experts, including NGOs, as observers.

Matters for Future Action (Article 3) - (Article 14):              Several matters were brought up for consideration. Under Article 3, trade in mercury compounds was one of several issued identified for future consideration by the COP. In regards to Article 14 – Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, Parties and other stakeholder were invited to submit relevant information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the Secretariat to compile and present at COP2.

Despite progress made, challenges remain, both related to the location and structure of the Minamata Convention Secretariat and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the financial mechanism of the Convention with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The Secretariat will be temporarily located in Geneva, with further review of arrangements at COP2.

In summary, the final road map is now in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury pollution, but critical work remains.   ZMWG looks forward to a productive second meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Geneva 19-23 November 2018.   



[1] All ZMWG interventions are available on our website http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_content&;;view=article&id=309:unenvironment-minamata-mercury-cop1-24-29-september-2017-geneva-switzerland&catid=54:developments-main-category&Itemid=104

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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