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Summary of the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

24th-29th September, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the First Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, 24th-29th of September 2017 and intervened as appropriate[1]. We were pleased to see the COP1 reached consensus on pending matters from prior meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) which resulted in establishing an effective Convention operational framework for achieving significant mercury reductions.

Our main priorities for COP1 included adoption of forms and guidance that was approved at INC 7, and addressing the issues of reporting, waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, effectiveness evaluation, and matters for future action, which included the following decisions.

  • Article 3 guidance on identifying mercury stocks, and the forms/instructions for complying with mercury trade consent and related certification requirements;
  • The product and process exemption forms and associated register of exemptions under Article 6 of the Convention; a registrar will be kept by the Secretariat and these will also be available to the public
  • Article 8 (air emissions) guidance on BAT/ BEP, options for existing facility control requirements, preparing emissions inventories, and selection of “relevant sources” within the specified source categories; and
  • The Guidance for preparing the ASGM National Action Plan (NAP) under article 7.

COP1 also saw significant progress concerning various other ZMWG priorities, including :

Reporting:          Forms were adopted for use by Parties to report back on the measures undertaken to meet Convention obligations and on the effectiveness of those measures.  In particular, ZMWG most welcomed the decision for a shorter reporting cycle for supply and trade, reporting per year data on a biennial basis. For other obligations, Parties will report every four years. It was also agreed that each Party will submit its first biennial report by 31 December 2019 and its first full report by December 2021. Parties are also encouraged to submit an electronic form,  and the Secretariat is requested to make the Parties electronic reports available.

Furthermore, it was agreed that Parties would provide access to their data related to mercury emissions, under Article 8. Parties would also provide the rational on how they plan to ensure that facilities responsible for at least 75% of the emissions from a source category are subject to controls.

Waste Thresholds:          COP1 established an intercessional work group to further elaborate on waste thresholds, building on a document introduced by Japan. As recommended by NRDC/ZMWG, the terms of reference for the working group were focused more on determining which mercury wastes warrant thresholds rather than assuming thresholds are appropriate for all wastes. The expert group will identify the types of waste that fall within the categories specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11, provide related information; prioritising the types of waste identified that are most relevant for the establishment of waste thresholds, and identify possible approaches to establishing any needed thresholds for those prioritised waste for consideration at COP2. We were also pleased to see COP1 approving the participation of civil society within the working group, another ZMWG priority.

Interim Storage:                             COP1 requested the Secretariat to undertake further revision of the draft guidelines through input from relevant experts, including technical experts from the Basel Convention and present a revised draft for consideration at COP2. Provisional use of the current draft guidelines is encouraged.

Effectiveness Evaluation:             COP1 adopted a draft road map for establishing arrangements both for providing comparable monitoring data and elements of an effectiveness evaluation framework, as ZMWG had sought.  To that end an ad hoc group of experts was established including 25 experts nominated by the Parties – 5 per region, as well as 10 civil society experts, including NGOs, as observers.

Matters for Future Action (Article 3) - (Article 14):              Several matters were brought up for consideration. Under Article 3, trade in mercury compounds was one of several issued identified for future consideration by the COP. In regards to Article 14 – Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, Parties and other stakeholder were invited to submit relevant information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the Secretariat to compile and present at COP2.

Despite progress made, challenges remain, both related to the location and structure of the Minamata Convention Secretariat and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the financial mechanism of the Convention with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The Secretariat will be temporarily located in Geneva, with further review of arrangements at COP2.

In summary, the final road map is now in place to ‘zero down’ global mercury pollution, but critical work remains.   ZMWG looks forward to a productive second meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Geneva 19-23 November 2018.   

[1] All ZMWG interventions are available on our website http://www.zeromercury.org/index.php?option=com_content&;;view=article&id=309:unenvironment-minamata-mercury-cop1-24-29-september-2017-geneva-switzerland&catid=54:developments-main-category&Itemid=104

Home Press Releases “Saga is over”: mercury in most measuring devices will soon be history
“Saga is over”: mercury in most measuring devices will soon be history PDF Print
Tuesday, 10 July 2007 01:00
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(Brussels/Strasbourg, 10 July, 2007) - Europe’s leading campaigners against mercury, the European Environmental Bureau, the Health & Environment Alliance, and the Zero Mercury Working Group, today warmly welcomed the European Parliament’s vote, which finally confirms that mercury barometers will not be exempted from a wider ban on household devices which contain the toxic metal.

“The saga’s over at last! We’ll soon have legislation banning the use of mercury from most non­electronic measuring devices,” said Elena Lymberidi of EEB's Zero Mercury campaign. “Reason has finally triumphed, and Parliament has come round to including mercury barometers in the ban. This latest move is a major boost in protecting our health.”

Thermometers and all other measuring devices for domestic use will soon be mercury-free. Barometers using the metal will be banned two years later, and by then the Commission will report on the availability of reliable, safer, mercury-free alternative measuring devices, especially blood pressure devices used in hospitals and doctors’ practices. The European Commission had initially proposed only banning mercury from fever thermometers and other measuring devices1 for public use, and fever thermometers used professionally. Professional measuring devices, such as blood pressure devices in hospitals, could therefore still be used.

“Parliament’s vote is a huge relief to everyone who wants to get rid of mercury,” said Lisette van Vliet of the Health & Environment Alliance. ”This is a good step forward. But it’s a pity that blood pressure devices for professional use which contain mercury haven’t been banned, because safe, precise and reliable alternatives are available. The Commission's impact assessment should have already considered that.”

The NGOs urge the Commission now to proceed swiftly with its report on the availability of reliable, safer alternatives, and a legislative proposal to extend the restriction to other mercury-containing professional devices, which will reduce the risk of mercury exposure in hospitals and laboratories, and other specialist workplaces.


For further information please contact:-

Elena Lymberidi, Project Coordinator, Zero Mercury Campaign:, 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

Lisette van Vliet, Toxic Policy Advisor, Health & Environment Alliance: www.env-health.org; www.noharm.org; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text59809 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 (0)2 234 3645

Peter Clarke, Press & Publications Officer, EEB: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tel: +32 (0)2 289 1309

Notes for editors: See our letters of:-

5 July  http://www.zeromercury.org/EUdevelopments/070705NGOlettertoMEPsPlenaryMeasrgEquip.pdf 4 June

http://www.zeromercury.org/EUdevelopments/070604NGOsonENVIMEPSVoteLimitations.pdf 30 May


7 May

http://www.zeromercury.org/EUdevelopments/070507NGOscommentsMeasDevicesENVIonCCP.pdf And related press releases of September 2006

http://www.zeromercury.org/press/140906 Mercury EP Env Cttee Press Release.pdf and 14 November 2006: http://www.zeromercury.org/press/061114NGOsPR-Plenary-Equipment.pdf

1 Manometers, barometers, and sphygmomanometers (blood pressure measuring devices).