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


“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.


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 " 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 Events

Show: ArrowAllArrowEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercuryArrowAll events

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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