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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)

EEB/ZMWG - UNDP/SGP Asian Workshop Agenda PDF Print
Thursday, 07 June 2018 10:39

EEB/ZMWG- UNDP/SGP Asian Workshop

Building Local to Global Coalitions for Chemicals and Waste Management

Towards Zero Mercury Use, Supply, Trade and Emissions


May 17-18, 2018

Bangkok, Thailand



9:00 Opening session - Presenters: Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, European Environmental Bureau (EEB); Mrs. Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager, GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP

9:20 Introduction of Participants - All

10:00 - 10:20 Mercury and Overview of the Minamata Convention - Presenter: Dominique Bally, CASE Ivory Coast (Overview of Mercury sources and effects. Overview of the Minamata Convention) 

10:20- 10:40 Overview of Art.4 requirements, Mercury added products (MAP) and their Convention compliant alternatives - Presenter: Anita Willcox, EEB

11:00 - 11:15 Presentation: guide and Checklist to phase out MAPs - Presenter: Michael Bender, MPP

11:15 - 12:30 Towards phasing out mercury added products under the MC - Experiences from developing some steps: 

-          Draft national roadmap

-          Linking Minamata Initial Assessments with mercury-added products phase out work.

-          Study on transition to Mercury free/ Convention compliant products

-          Developing a legal gap analysis related to the Art. 4

-          Shifting procurement practices in hospitals

Facilitators: Michael Bender, MPP  and Elena Lymberidi –Settimo, EEB (overview )

Panelists/Presenters: Panel - Case studies from Africa (5-7 min presentations as intro)

-          Nigeria, Leslie Adogame, SRADeV

-          Mauritius, Hemsing Hurrynag, PANEM

-          Kenya, Griffins Ochieng, CEJAD

-          India, Satish Sinha, Toxics Link

-          Nepal, Ram Charitra, CEPHED

Q and A , Discussion 

13:30 - 14:10 Overview of Art. 8 on Emissions, BAT/BEP guidelines - Presenter: Satish Sinha, Toxics Link India

Ideas from work on the ground- Presenter: Griffins Ochieng, CEJAD, Kenya 

14:10- 14:25 Overview of Art.7 and ASGM NAP requirements Presenter: Richard Gutierrex, Artisanal Gold Council (AGC)/ BAN Toxics Philippines (BT) 

14:25 - 15:50 Develoiping and Implementing an ASGM NAP 

-          Guidance (national obj, reduction targets, eliminate worst practices, reduce exposures, formalisation/regulation, trade, public health)

-          Technical approaches to reducing mercury use in ASGM

-          Challenges of formalization

-          Means of engaging stakeholders/ consultations with miners

-          Relationships among government agencies in NAP development

Facilitator:  EEB  


African case studies on ASGM 

-          Ghana, Solomon Ampofo, FoN

-          Ivory Coast, Dominique Bally, CASE

Asian case studies on ASGM

-          Philippines, Richard Gutierrez, AGC/BT

-          Indonesia, Hoetomo Hoetomo, YEAI

16:10-17:30 Dicussion on potential projects recapping above - Products, ASGM, Emissions - in break out groups as relevant

17:30 - 18:00 Summaries from breakout groups 

Facilitator:  Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, EEB /Michael Bender, MPP 


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

9:15- 10:00 Overview of SGP and Mercury Management Programming - Objective: To provide an overview of SGP’s mandate, rationale, approach and its programming in mercury management. The presentations will cover what the programme is about, structure, funding opportunities, process of approval, priorities to be considered, structure of the NSC and things to consider.

Presenters: GEF Small  Grants Programme: Overview and GEF-7 Programming, Ms. Yoko Watanabe; SGP’s Mercury Management: Programming, Priorities and Lessons Learnt, Ms. Sulan Chen, Programme Advisor, GEF Small Grants Programme

10:00-11:30 Developing an SGP Proposal - Issues to consider  Objective:To share good experiences and lessons learnt in project development, implementation, M&E and knowledge management

Presenters: Project life cycle: a country perspective, Ms. Catharina Dihastarini, SGP-Indonesia National Coordinator

Session continued:

11:30-12:00 Preparation for Group Exercises on Project Proposal Writing - Objective: Review project proposal template and prepare groups for project writing exercises - Presenter: Ms. Sulan Chen 

12:00-16:00 Group Exercise- SGP project drafting in 5 breakout groups - NGOs start drafting skeleton of project proposals with ZMWG/ SGP help 

16:00-17:00 Reporting of group exercises - Each group is given five minutes to present their group work experiences and challenges

17:00- 17:30 Summing up and closure