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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 First Steps towards streamlining global solutions on mercury
First Steps towards streamlining global solutions on mercury PDF Print
Friday, 16 November 2007 01:00
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(Bangkok, - 16 November 2007) Anti-mercury NGO advocatesi believe that the first meeting of the UNEPii Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Mercury took important first steps, but there is still a way to go. On 12-16 November 2007, representatives of the world’s governments met in Bangkok to develop a global plan to control mercury pollution. “World countries’ representatives made first steps towards streamlining global solutions on mercury pollution, following the mandate of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) from February this year.” said Elena Lymberidi, from the Zero Mercury Working Group, “support for stronger legally binding commitments are however still necessary to ensure solution to this global crisis”.

The UNEP GC had given the mandate to the OEWG to review and assess options for enhanced voluntary measures and new or existing international legal instruments. The OEWG requested the UNEP secretariat to prepare for a second meeting with:

- An analysis on the way that different financial mechanisms would apply to a protocol to the Stockholm Convention, a new free-standing treaty and of voluntary arrangements, and a further analysis on how countries could pursue the development of such instruments to control mercury pollution, and

- An indication of which mercury control measures could be implemented at a national level (considering the national capacities), and which would benefit from a coordinated international framework, whether through legally binding instruments or voluntary arrangements.

- Other studies were commissioned.

“The outcome of the second meeting of this group will shape future global action,” said Ravi Agarwal of the Indian NGO Toxics Link. “That will be the difficult meeting, but we feel there is now good momentum towards establishing a global treaty to control mercury pollution.

For further information:

Elena Lymberidi, 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 (0)2 289 1301; Mobile: +32 (0)496 532 818

i Environmental NGOS include

The European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), www.eeb.org, is a federation of over 150 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 55 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.”

Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH), www.noharm.org, is an international coalition of hospitals and health-care systems, medical and nursing professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labour unions, environmental and religious organisations. HCWH is dedicated to transforming the health-care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment.

International POPs Eliminations Network (IPEN), www.ipen.org, is a global network of health and environmental organizations in more than 70 countries working together for a Toxics-Free Future.


ii United Nations Environment Programme