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

BRUSSELS - 16 AUGUST 2017
TODAY’S ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ESTABLISHES THE FIRST NEW MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT IN OVER A DECADE.  THE ZERO MERCURY WORKING GROUP* HAS BEEN CALLING FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY FOR OVER A DECADE AND WELCOMES THE NEW PROTOCOL.

“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.

ENDS 

For more information, see:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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 " 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)

 
Home Press Releases World Governments Support Breakthrough Agreement on Mercury
World Governments Support Breakthrough Agreement on Mercury PDF Print
Friday, 20 February 2009 01:00
zeromercury_logo eeb_logo

[Nairobi, Kenya 20 February 2009]– Defying expectations, world environmental ministers agreed today to begin negotiating a treaty to control global mercury pollution. The decision represents the consensus of the more than 140 countries gathered here for the 25th UNEP1 Governing Council meeting.

“This consensus is a huge breakthrough,” said Elena Lymberidi – Settimo of the European Environmental Bureau and the Zero Mercury Working Group. “The treaty will ensure that the EU and other countries of the world make a serious commitment to reduce global mercury emissions, supply and demand.”

The treaty will include actions to reduce mercury supply, its use in products and processes, and atmospheric mercury emissions, which will ultimately reduce human exposure to mercury globally. The preparations for negotiations on the global treaty will start later this year, with discussions beginning in earnest in 2010 with a view to wrapping up by 2013.

‘Developing a treaty is a critical first step towards solving the global mercury crisis’, said Michael Bender of the Zero Mercury Working Group, ‘

The agreement was made possible by a dramatic shift in the U.S. position by the Obama administration, which now supports the creation of a legally binding agreement. The Bush administration had stubbornly opposed any legally binding measures.

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.” A study released by the Zero Mercury Working Group this month highlighted the dangers from eating mercury-laden fish, now much more widespread than previously thought.

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 in Nairobi: +254 716 803265, Mobile (Belgium) +32 496 532 818

Vanessa Bulkacz, 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, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text50710 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +1 802 223 9000

1 United Nations Environment Programme


Editor’s notes:

For a digital version of this press release go to http://www.eeb.org/press/2009/090220UNEPNGOPRMercuryDecision-final.pdf

Final draft text: UNEP Governing Council Decision 25/X

Chemicals management including mercury http://www.eeb.org/activities/chemicals/Chemicalsmanagementincludingmercury­COWdraft1 90209. pdf

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. 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/UNEPdevelopments/081127ZMWGcommentsonUNE 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