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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

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Show: ArrowAllArrowEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercuryArrowAll events

DateName of eventPlaceCategory
October 2011
05.10 - 06.10.2011CEE regional meeting in preparation for the Hg INC 3Brno, Czech Republic All events
September 2011
26.09 - 28.09.2011Asia Pacific regional meeting in preparation for Hg INC 3Kobe, JapanAll events
19.09 - 23.09.2011GRULAC regional meeting in preparation for Hg INC 3Panama City, PanamaAll events
12.09 - 16.09.2011African Regional meeting in preparation for Hg INC 3Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoAll events
February 2011
21.02 - 25.02.201126th Session of the UNEP Governing Council Global Ministerial Environment ForumNairobi, KenyaAll events
January 2011
24.01 - 28.01.20112nd (UNEP) Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting for the development of a mercury treatyChiba, JapanAll events
23.01.2011ZMWG/CACP NGO lunch event - Honoring MinamataChiba, JapanEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
November 2010
30.11.2010GRS/BMU International Conference on Underground Hazardous Waste DisposalBraunschweig, GermanyAll events
September 2010
21.09 - 22.09.2010UNEP Mercury Partnership, Partnership Advisory GroupGenevaAll events
20.09.2010En.Lighten 1st Taskforce meeting GenevaAll events
June 2010
18.06.2010Review of the EU Mercury strategy - consultation meetingBrusselsAll events
07.06 - 11.06.20101st Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee(INC) on Mercury Stockhom, SwedenAll events
May 2010
10.05 - 14.05.2010Basel Convention, OEWG 7Geneva, SwitzerlandAll events
April 2010
20.04 - 25.04.20102010 International Mercury EXPOThe College of William and Mary All events
March 2010
05.03 - 13.03.2010SAICM regional meeting for Latin American and the Caribbean , together with regional mercury consultations (UNEP) and a nanotechnology workshop (OECD/UNITAR/IOMCKingston, JamaicaAll events
February 2010
24.02 - 26.02.201011th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment ForumBali, IndonesiaAll events
22.02 - 26.02.2010Simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm ConventionsBali, Indonesia All events
21.02 - 22.02.201011th Session of UNEP Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) Bali, IndonesiaAll events
January 2010
25.01 - 29.01.2010Africa regional meeting on SAICM, workshop nanotechnology and industrial chemicals, Abidjan, Cote D'ivoireAbidjan, Cote D'ivoireAll events
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