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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

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. 


For more information:

The ZMWG Action Challenge, September 2013

ZMWG Action Challenge Interim Report



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