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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.

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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