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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)

 
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Events
Show: ArrowAllArrowEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercuryArrowAll events

DateName of eventPlaceCategory
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
01.02 - 03.02.20105th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHILDREN'S HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENTBangalore, IndiaAll 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
December 2009
07.12 - 11.12.2009Third Central and Eastern European regional meeting on SAICM and associated workshops on mercury and a workshop on nanotechnology, Lodz, PolandLodz, PolandAll events
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