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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)

 
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