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22 September 2017

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PRESS RELEASE: 

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:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org

www.zeromercury.org

Contacts:


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 Press Releases World Governments Move Towards Global Treaty on Mercury
World Governments Move Towards Global Treaty on Mercury PDF Print
Friday, 23 October 2009 01:00
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[Bangkok, Brussels - 23 October 2009] – Today, world governments took the first significant steps towards a legally binding Treaty to control mercury pollution at a United Nations Environmental Program meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Their recommendations now provide countries with a basis to head into the International Negotiating Committee (INC) meetings starting in Stockholm, June 2010.

“We are happy that governments agreed on rules of procedures which allow NGO participation, and a time table to adopt a treaty by 2013,” said Elena Lymberidi–Settimo of the European Environmental Bureau and the Zero Mercury Working Group.

During the meeting, information on supply and trade, products and artisanal scale gold mining where provided. Countries and regions expressed their opinion on how discussions should unfold during the meeting and governments updated participants on activities controlling mercury in their own countries.

‘We look forward to engage in focused discussions in areas such as supply, trade and storage of surplus mercury where substantial progress can be made,” said Michael Bender of the Zero Mercury Working Group and director of the US-based Mercury Policy Project, “discussion on arrangements for technical and financial assistance, and mechanisms addressing compliance should also be addressed early on.”‘

Richard Gutierrez of the Philippine NGO Ban Toxics noted: “We are optimistic that the global community is now well on its way towards establishing a treaty to control mercury pollution and effectively safeguard the fish we eat from this poison.”

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that makes its way up the food chain into humans, and puts developing foetuses and young children at risk.

 

For further information:

Contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator, Zero Mercury Campaign, European Environmental Bureau: www.zeromercury.org, www.eeb.org; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 2289 1301; Mobile (Belgium) +32 496 532 818

Simon Nazer, EEB Press & Publications Officer: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 2289 1309 Michael Bender, mercurypolicy@aol .com, +1 802 223 9000

 

Editor’s notes

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.

In February 2009, world environmental ministers agreed to begin negotiating a treaty to control global mercury pollution. The decision represented the consensus of the more than 140 countries gathered for the 25th UNEP1 Governing Council meeting

For more information, see the Zero Mercury Campaign’s website, www.zeromercury.org, and

See also at www.zeromercury.org

PR: Mercury in Fish is a Global Health Concern [10 February 2009]

ZMWG Report: Mecury in Fish, a global Health Hazard [10 February 2009]

Executive summary in EN, FR, ES, PT, CHI

PR:New Study Raises Concern over Mercury Pollution from Burning Products [4 February 2009]

ZMWG Report: MERCURY RISING, Reducing global emissions from burning mercury-products [4 February 2009]

http://www.zeromercury.org/press/081205NGOS-PR-CouncilConclMercury-UNEP­GC25final.pdf

EEB letter to Environment Council [18/11/2008] http://www.eeb.org/activities/General/Eversion-Environment-Council-5December2008- 181108.pdf

ZMWG comments to the UNEP draft decision on mercury [27/11/2008] http://www.zeromercury.org/UNEP_developments/081127_ZMWG_comments_on_UNE P_draft_decision_GC25_Mercury-final .pdf

European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of over 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all EU Member States as well as in neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and international. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

The Zero Mercury Working Group, www.zeromercury.org, is an international coalition of over 75 public-interest non-governmental organisations worldwide formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project/Ban Mercury Working Group. The group’s aim is to reach “Zero emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all sources we can control, towards eliminating mercury in the environment at EU level and globally.”

1 United Nations Environment Programme