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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.

Home Press Releases ‘Zero Mercury’ Group: Governments Must Do More to Curb Supply and Trade; Gives governments ‘C...
‘Zero Mercury’ Group: Governments Must Do More to Curb Supply and Trade; Gives governments ‘C-’ grade since mercury treaty approved PDF Print
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:01

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

 

[Brussels, 29 October 2014] —Governments around the world are not doing enough to reduce the global supply and trade of mercury, according to a new report released today by the Zero Mercury Working Group (‘Zero Mercury.’).  But they are showing progress in other areas such as developing plans to reduce mercury use in small scale gold mining and phasing out mercury-based chlorine plants.

The 95-member international coalition of public interest, environmental and health groups graded governments based on an initial assessment of global mercury reduction activities to promote rapid implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury adopted a year ago.

There are worrying trends in mercury trade and production,” said Margherita Tolotto of the European Environmental Bureau. “We call on governments to do a better job of curtailing mercury flows to promote global mercury use and release reductions, and better protect public health.” added Michael Bender, Zero Mercury Co-Coordinator.

Mercury, a neurotoxin, can cause brain and nervous system damage, and is a particular hazard for the developing fetus and small children.

The countries were graded based on an “Action Challenge” issued by Zero Mercury when the treaty was adopted in October 2013. Grades were based on both government actions and any significant global trends or global activities. 

The report graded progress in reducing mercury in the following areas:

  • Mercury Supply and Trade:  Global Grade C-. 

  • Mercury Products Phase Out: Global Grade C. 

  • Mercury Cell Chlor Alkali Phase Out: Global Grade B-.

  • Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining National Action Plans: Global Grade B

  • Mercury Emissions Standards and Controls: Global Grade C+. 

While the report praised the good progress made in the development and implementation of Nation Action Plans to address small-scale gold mining, achieving mercury use and emissions reductions for this sector will require better performance on supply and trade.

Recently, there have been disturbing international developments pointing to increased mercury production at a time when production should start declining,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.  “Also, much of the mercury trade is for small-scale gold mining, a highly polluting activity.  This reinforces the critical importance for more nations to take decisive actions to reduce production and/or ban mercury exports.

 

The report notes that developments on supply and trade also have important implications for the Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) meeting in Bangkok (3-7 November). 

These developments highlight the need for the INC to provide for timely information on mercury production and trade,” said Richard Gutierrez, Executive Director of Ban Toxics.  “At the upcoming Convention meeting, governments should develop reporting requirements for mercury production and trade so the Convention can quickly address issues as they arise.”  

Zero Mercury also urges governments to request that the Minamata Convention Interim Secretariat provide an update on global mercury supply, demand and trade report in advance of the next Convention meeting, INC 7, to be held in late 2015 or early 2016. 

ENDS

For more information:

The ZMWG Action Challenge, September 2013

ZMWG Action Challenge Interim Report

www.eeb.org

www.zeromercury.org

Contact: Margherita Tolotto, Project Support Officer, Zero Mercury Campaign, 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 Co-Coordinator, +802-917-4579; 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

Press release URL: http://bit.ly/1wFvkVg