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22 September 2017

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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:




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.




DateName of eventPlaceCategory
January 2018
26.01 - 12.02.2018CALL FOR TENDER: EEB/ZMWG WEBSITE RESTRUCTURINGBrussels Events organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
September 2017
24.09 - 29.09.2017First Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on MercuryGeneva, SwitzerlandAll events
22.09.2017Global Mercury Partnership - 8th Partnership Advisory Group Geneva, SwitzerlandAll events
May 2017
24.05 - 25.05.2017EEB/ZMWG African Regional Conference on Phasing out mercury added productsNairobi, KenyaEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
23.05 - 24.05.2017EEB/ZMWG African Regional Forum on ASGM Nairobi, KenyaEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
November 2014
03.11 - 07.11.2014Sixth session of the Intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury (INC 6)Bangkok, Thailand All events
September 2014
22.09 - 26.09.201417th International Conference on Heavy metals in the Environment (ICHME)Guiyang, ChinaAll events
October 2013
07.10 - 11.10.2013UNEP Diplomatic Conference on MercuryKumamoto, Minamata, JapanAll events
July 2013
28.07 - 02.08.2013International Conference on Mercury as a Global PollutantEdinburgh, ScotlandAll events
January 2013
13.01 - 18.02.2013UNEP INC 5 on MercuryGeneva All events
September 2012
23.09 - 27.09.201216th International Conference on Heavy Metals in the EnvironmentRome, ItalyAll events
June 2012
27.06 - 02.07.2012UNEP Hg 4th Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) Punta de l'Este, UruguayAll events
April 2012
11.04 - 13.04.2012UNEP Hg Intersessional work on financial resources and technical and implementation assistanceBudapest, HungaryAll events
February 2012
20.02 - 22.02.201212th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment ForumNairobi, KenyaAll events
18.02 - 19.02.201213th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF-13) Nairobi, KenyaAll events
09.02 - 11.02.2012Workshop on Sustainable ASGM Practices Mataram, IndonesiaAll events
07.02 - 08.02.2012 International Conference on Environmental, Socio-Economic and Health Impacts of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Malang, IndonesiaAll events
November 2011
05.11 - 06.11.2011UNEP 3rd Partnership Advisory Group (PAG) meetingNairobi, KenyaAll events
October 2011
31.10 - 04.11.2011UNEP Hg Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3)Nairobi, KenyaAll events
17.10 - 21.10.201110th COP Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their DisposalCartagena de Indias, ColombiaAll events
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