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New treaty’s entry into force set to curtail global mercury crisis, say NGOs


“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.


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 " 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)

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EEB/ZMWG African Regional Forum: Practical Considerations for the development of National Action Plans for Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining, 23-24 May 2017, Nairobi PDF Print
Monday, 05 February 2018 11:51

Conference Day 1 

08:30 - 09:30 - Registration

09:30 - 10:00 - Opening Sessions - Presenters: Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, European Environment Bureau (EEB); Ken Davis, UN Environemnt; Oluyomi (Yomi) Banjo, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - Welcome remarks and expectation for the meeting 

10:00 - 10:15 - Overview of the Minamata Convention and its ASGM requirements - Presenters: Global Mercury Partnership leaders: Ken Davis, UN Environment - Overview of the Minamata Convention and all requirements related to ASGM including (Annex C)

10:15- 11:00 - National Action Plan requirements - Presenters: Global Mercury Partnership leaders: Ken Davis, UN Environment: Oluyomi Banjo, UNIDO; Susan Keane, Natural Reseources Defense Council (NRDC) - Presentation of specific actions that are required in NAPS per Annex C

11:15 - 12:30 - Plenary discussion on Minamata Convention/ NAP Implementation - Facilitators: Rico Euripidou, groundWork; Malgorzata Stylo, Global Mercury Partnership - Opportunity for government representatives to share their status and experience so for, regarding NAP preparation

14:00 - 15:15 - Challenges of formalization - Facilitator: Susan Keane, NRDC/ Presenters: Mr. Joseph Kiruki, Division of Environment, Vice President's Office, Tanzania, Mr. Chacha Marwa Megewa, Assistant of the Assistant Commissioner of Small Scale Mining, Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Tanzania, Mr. Abel Chumba, Chief Superintending Inspector of Mines, Ministry of Mining, Kenya, Toni Aubynn, Ghana Minerals Commission, Mr. Julius Opiyo, Manager, Migori County Artisanal (MICA) Miners Cooperative Society Ltd., Kenya

15:30- 16:00 - Means of engaging stakeholders/ consultations with miners - Presenters/ Facilitators: Haji Rehani, AGENDA Tanzania; Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Friends of the Nation (FoN), Ghana. Discussion of miner consultations, including:

  • Involving key stakeholders
  • Practical aspects of miner engagement
  • Expected outcomes

16:00 - 17:00 - Technical approaches to reducing merucry use in ASGM - Presenters: Dr. Paul Cordy, Cordy Geosciences; Kirsten Dales, Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI); Facilitator: Susan Keane, NRDC -Informal session using videos and other visual aids to describe alternatives to mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining

Coonference Day 2

09:00- 9:15 -  Welcome to Day 2 - Presenter: Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB - Overview of the day’s sessions

9:15 - 9:45 - Relationships among government agencies in NAP developmentPresenter: Ken Davis, UN Environment; Malgorzata Stylo, Global Mercury PartnershipBrief introduction to the importance of stakeholder collaboration in implementing the NAP, particularly among government agencies

9:45 - 11:15 - Exercise on roles and responsabilities of various stakeholders in developing and executing NAPsFacilitator:  Rico Euripidou, groundWork - Role-play Exercise: A menu of several specific potential actions under the NAP will be presented to participants.  Working in groups, participants will discuss how they would implement selected actions/strategies

11:15 - 12:15 - Group presentations and discussion on exercise - Presenters: Observers from group exercise will share main obersationvs with plenary

12:15 - 13:00 - Summary and resources available - Presenters: Haji Rehani, AGENDA; Solomon Kusi Ampofo, FoN;  Malgorzata Stylo, Global Mercury Partnership; Oluyomi Banjo, UNIDO - Summary and discussion of resources available from NGOs and UN agencies to assist countries with NAP development

An executive summary of the report from the conference is available here: EN / FR 

A full report from the conference is available here: EN/ FR

A copy of the conference banner can be found here

 A full participants list for this confrence is available here

This conference was preceded, on 22 May 2017, by a  UN Environment  workshop on “Developing Baseline Estimates for the Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining sector: Introduction to the UN Environment toolkit”