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22 September 2017

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New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs  

Geneva, Switzerland

Prior to the start of the first Conference of Parties (COP1), the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) welcomed the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. 

“While there are alternatives to mercury, there are no alternatives to global cooperation,” said Michael Bender, international ZMWG coordinator. “We applaud the world’s governments for committing to curtail 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.
During the prior negotiations, the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) approved many of the forms and guidance that the Convention specifies must be adopted at COP 1, which are needed for the swift and smooth launch and running of the Convention.  These include guidance documents on identifying stocks, determining best available technologies and reducing mercury use in small scale gold mining; as well as forms for trade procedures and for exemptions from certain deadlines.

“These INC approvals were achieved by consensus after considerable deliberations, and are ready for approval without further debate,” said Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India.

Among the most critical open issues to be discussed at COP1 are the reporting requirements, which will provide critical information on both the global mercury situation and the effectiveness of the Convention in achieving mercury reductions.   Particularly critical to collect will be data on mercury production and trade, which can change significantly in a short period of time.

 “Countries will not have readily available information about production and trade in bordering countries or within their region, unless there is frequent reporting under the Convention,” said David Lennett, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council “Many borders between countries are “porous,” and where a significant portion of mercury trade is informal/illegal.   Good data on legal trade flows will enable actions to address illegal trade, all of which has a huge impact on artisanal and small scale gold mining, the largest source of mercury pollution globally.

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

For more information, see:




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

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

For information on reporting, please contact 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information, please contact:

*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 Our work at UNEP Level Towards a Mercury Treaty
UN_Environment Minamata Mercury COP1, 24-29 September 2017, Geneva, Switzerland PDF Print
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 12:44

First Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1)

24-29 September 2017, Geneva, Switzerland.

All UN Environment relevant documents and details about the meeting can be found at : 


ZMWG  publications and position papers

ZMWG Views on COP 1 Decisions, September 2017, EN,  FR ES, RU

ZMWG Trade Fact Sheet, September 2017, EN, FR, ES, RU 

ZMWG/NRDC ASGM Trade Fact Sheet, September 2017, EN, FR, ES , RU 

UNEP brochure (co-drafted by MPP) - Lessons from countries phasing down dental amalgam use

ZMWG Statements @ COP1

Opening Statement, 24 September

Statement on Reporting of Mercury Supply and Trade, 25 September 2017 

Statement on Interim Storage, 25 September 2017

Statement on Waste, 26 September 2017 

Statement on Matters for Future Action Art 3, 26 September 2017

Statements on Matters for Future Action Art 14, 26 September 2017

 Closing Statement, 29 September 2017

Press releases

19 October 2017

ZMWG Blog - Summary  Minamata COP 1

26 September 2017

As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, note Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day , FR

22 September 2017

New treaty effectiveness will depend on adequacy of data to be collected, say NGOs 

16 August 2017

New treaty's entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs  ES, PT

Side events 

Furthermore EEB/ZMWG also participated to several side events during the COP1- namely at:

-          As part of the wider exhibition throughout the week, featuring the “Minamata Journey”, designed to step participants through a journey of the lifecycle of mercury and the Minamata Convention, a ZMWG exhibition booth was set up with the theme ‘Why should we take action?’ as per UN Environment request and a relevant poster was created. A second poster displayed trade data of mercury exports to countries with significant artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) activities. Many EEB/ZMWG publications were made available.

-          The Thematic Session on Land (EEB and JVE-Ivory Coast speakers) and the Thematic Session on Water (NRDC, ICC speaker); the outcomes of these discussions were forwarded to the Ministerial Roundtables held during the High-Level Segment as background to the Ministers’ discussions.

-          EEB was speaker/presented at a Show Case Event / GEF SGO Side event  ‘ Launch of Local to Global Coalitions on Chemicals , Waste and Mercury)

-          EEB/ZMWG- Agenda (Tanzania) and Friends of the Nation (Ghana)  also participated at a side event at the UNEP ASGM Partnership Booth presenting its experiences on how to conduct miners consultations. 

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