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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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Contributing to the preparation/implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, with a focus on developing strategies for phasing out mercury-added products and on reducing mercury use in Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining through development of PDF Print
Thursday, 03 September 2015 15:52

 

 

EEB/ZMWG[1]-FAO/EC Project Overview: 

Contributing to the preparation/implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, with a focus on developing strategies for phasing out mercury-added products and on reducing mercury use in Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining through development of National Action Plans.”



Updates

EEB/ZMWG supported projects focusing on phasing out mercury added products

EEB/ZMWG supported projects focusing on developing ASGM NAPs

African Regional Conferences, Nairobi, 22-26 May 2017 - blog 

African Regional Conferences, Nairobi, 22-26 May 2017 -  on ASGM 23-24 May 2017, on Products 24-25 May 2017

Report from the Project Inception Workshop in Mauritius - January 2016

Report from the Project Inception Workshop in Nigeria

Report from the Project Inception Workshop in Tanzania

Report from the 1st Miners Regional Workshop in Tanzania (Geita)

Report from the Project Inception Workshop in Ghana

Report from the 1st Miners Regional Workshop in Ghana (Tarkwa)



  1. Background and context

Following its 2009 Decision 25/5, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council convened an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to prepare a legally binding instrument on mercury.  Five INC meetings took place and the treaty text was finally agreed to on 19th January 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. In October 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan, the Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted and opened for signature.

Over the next three to five years, many countries signing on the Convention will likely need to conduct their Minamata Convention preparation activities. Related to this, a number of countries have already accessed funding from the Global Environment Fund for Minamata Implementation Activities and other related activities.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) European Environmental Bureau, in collaboration with the Zero Mercury Working Group, will work with local NGOs in four countries from the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group, specifically in the African region. In view of this work, we respectfully extend our offer to support these countries in preparing to conduct their Minamata Convention obligations in regard to provisions for 1) developing National Action Plans designed to reduce mercury use and release in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and 2) the phase-out of mercury-added products.

  1. Overall objectives of the project

With funding provided by the European Commission (EC) through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the European Environmental Bureau, in collaboration with the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG), (hereafter referred to as EEB/ZMWG), will support at least in part the preparation for ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in four countries in the African region, which may then be used as a model for other countries in the ACP regions and perhaps elsewhere, by delivering the following outcomes, subject to discussions with the governments as relevant:

  • Formulation of specific strategies in two selected African countries for addressing the mercury-added products phase-out provisions of the Minamata Convention;

  • Technical assistance to the two selected countries in developing National Action Plans (NAP) for reducing mercury in Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining (ASGM)  as per the Minamata Convention;

  • A summary of the above activities together with model legislation/ action plans that may also be developed, will be presented during regional conferences, contributing support and awareness raising for national and regional stakeholders interested in mercury reduction initiatives particularly related to the Minamata Convention.

The mercury-added product phase out initiatives and ASGM national action plans created under this project will enhance the ability of the selected African countries to work toward ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention. Specifically, by the end of the project, it is hoped that, countries’ representatives will have more clarity and direction on their overall Convention ratification and implementation obligations vis a vis the two specified areas – phasing out mercury-added products and reducing mercury use and release in ASGM, whilst becoming well prepared to put in place the Convention obligations in these two areas.

  1. Project Partners

The EEB/ZMWG, with resource person assistance provided by the Mercury Policy Project (USA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (USA) and groundwork (South Africa), plans on working collaboratively with  local NGO Partners, including: Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) in Nigeria; Pesticide Action Network (PANeM) in Mauritius; Friends of the Nation (FoN) in Ghana; and AGENDA for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA) in Tanzania in implementing the projects where these local NGOs reside, as per the goals of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the aspirations of each of the governments in the four African countries. The focus area in Nigeria and Mauritius will be the phase out of mercury added products, while in Tanzania and Ghana the reduction of emissions and use of mercury in ASGM.

 

  1. Opportunities for Cooperation

    Aware that multiple endeavours related to mercury awareness raising, exposure and pollution reduction initiatives are, were, or maybe on-going in the four respective project countries, the EEB/ZMWG, with its partners in this project, would appreciate opportunities to discuss and where viable and appropriate, cooperate and coordinate our respective project work with UN agencies, government ministries, stakeholders, and other relevant parties.  To assure coordination, EEB/ZMWG would also welcome letters or expressions of interest in the project from the Ministries of Environment in the four selected project countries.



[1] The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), located in  Brussels, Belgium, is a federation of over 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in 30 EU Member States, in candidate, potential candidate and neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and international. Created in 1974, EEB aims to provide a focal point for our members to monitor and respond to the EU’s environmental policies.  EEB is the environmental voice of European citizens, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. We want the EU to ensure all people a healthy environment and rich biodiversity.

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.

 

For more information on EEB’s Zero Mercury Campaign and ZMWG, see: www.zeromercury.org , www.eeb.org






Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 March 2018 12:55