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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 “Victory for common sense”: Parliamentary Committee cracks down on mercury barometers
“Victory for common sense”: Parliamentary Committee cracks down on mercury barometers PDF Print
Tuesday, 05 June 2007 01:00
eeb_logozeromercury_logohealth_environment_alliance_logohealth_care_without_harm_logo

(Brussels, 5 June, 2007) - Key European campaigners against the use of mercury, the European Environmental Bureau, the Health & Environment Alliance, Health Care Without Harm and the Zero Mercury Working Group, today applauded the outcome of this morning’s vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, which agreed not to exempt mercury-containing barometers from a wider ban on consumer devices which contain the toxic metal.

“This is a victory for common sense. We’re delighted that the Environment Committee has recognised that barometers must be banned”, said Elena Lymberidi of Zero Mercury. “Parliament’s earlier view that an exception should somehow be made to allow new mercury-containing barometers to continue being produced was unreasonable. Now the EU’s public health interests have been upheld.”

The European Commission had originally recommended banning mercury only from fever thermometers and measuring devices intended for public use, and fever thermometers used in professional healthcare. This meant measuring devices for professional use, such as blood pressure devices (sphygmomanometers) in hospitals could still be used. Last November Parliament voted to exclude barometers from the ban but to include sphygmomanometers used in healthcare. The Council compromised by adopting a ‘Common Position’ (CCP) in April this year, in which they gave barometers two years’ grace following adoption of the Directive, and stipulated that the Commission should report within two years to check whether alternatives to sphygmomanometers and other professional equipment which contains mercury were available. “The Environment Committee’s vote this morning on the Common Position is a source of great relief to everyone fighting to exclude mercury from our daily lives”, said Lisette van Vliet of the Health and Environment Alliance. ”This is the best compromise we can realistically hope to obtain.”

 

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 and Environment Alliance / Health Care Without Harm Europe: 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_text70126 ); 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

4 June  http://www.zeromercury.org/EUdevelopments/070604NGOsonENVIMEPSVoteLimitations.pdf and

30 May  http://www.noharm.org/details.cfm?ID=1631&type=document

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