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Summary of the Second Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury

19-23 November, 2018, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) closely followed the Second Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP2) in Geneva, Switzerland, 19-23 November 2018, and intervened as appropriate Our main priorities for COP2 were waste thresholds, interim storage guidelines, and effectiveness evaluation. We also closely followed matters for future action, including the review process of annexes A and B; and harmonized custom codes to distinguish mercury-added products.

Waste Thresholds

Decision MC2/2 established a process to develop mercury waste thresholds. As advocated by ZMWG, an expert group will focus its efforts on establishing mercury content thresholds for “waste contaminated with mercury”.  The group will also develop lists of wastes falling under three definitional categories: “consisting of mercury,” “containing mercury” and “contaminated with mercury.”

Effectiveness Evaluation

Decision MC 2/10 amended the effectiveness evaluation roadmap set forth in COP 1, modifying the experts mandate and composition of its membership while agreeing on an outline of work.  The group will review the outcome indicators developed previously as part of the EE framework, and further elaborate on sources of information and baselines for those indicators. It will consider how to integrate monitoring data into the framework. In addition, the group will identify those categories of monitoring data most effective in providing information on global trends, what data could be used to assess the impact on levels and trends of mercury, and data limitations. Importantly, as advocated by ZMWG, the group will also assess the information, identify gaps and outline options to enhance the quality of the information.

Interim storage 

Decision MC 2/6 adopted the interim mercury storage guidelines which included a number of key elements to facilitate environmentally sound management.  We were pleased to see many of the important elements that ZMWG had proposed during the intersessional period are included in the guidelines, including provisions on financial assurances related to closure of the sites.


Decision MC 2/3 established an intersessional process to identify relevant point source categories of releases of mercury and mercury compound to land and water, including the establishment of a group of technical experts.

Contaminated sites

Decision MC 2/8 invites parties and other stakeholders to submit additional comments and information to complement and further improve the draft guidance, calling in particular for information and comments to make the guidance more practicable.

Review of Annex A and B

No specific decision was taken by the COP to start reviewing annexes A and B. However, a call for relevant information was launched by the Secretariat to prepare for COP3.

This is an important area for ZMWG; given the technological and political developments around the world since Annex A and B were adopted in 2013, we will be seeking to further strengthen the Convention.

HS Codes for mercury-added products

The Decision requests the Secretariat to suggest approaches for modifying customs codes to allow countries to distinguish mercury-added products from those products that do not contain mercury, including approaches for possible harmonization among countries. This is an important success for ZMWG, in support of the Global Mercury Partnership, recognizing the critical need for Parties to identify the production, import and export of mercury-added products to comply with Article 4.

Other issues

Other issues included a request for further information on capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer; as well as on the SIP; a small modification to the rules of procedure of the Implementation and Compliance Committee; and a decision that the secretariat of the MC will be autonomous and based in Geneva, with special arrangements with the BRS Secretariat. Finally, a new president, David Kapindula (Zambia), was elected for COP 3, along with new Bureau members.

ZMWG looks forward to a productive third meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Geneva 25-29 November 2019.   

Home Events

Show: ArrowAllArrowEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercuryArrowAll events

DateName of eventPlaceCategory
June 2008
27.06.2008EEB conference: "Mercury-containing lamps under the spotlight"BrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
27.06.2008EEB conference: "Mercury-containing lamps under the spotlight"BrusselsAll events
February 2008
20.02 - 22.02.2008UNEP Governing Council, 10th Special SessionMonaco, MonacoAll events
November 2007
12.11 - 16.11.2007UNEP Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group on MercuryBangkok, ThailandAll events
October 2007
24.10 - 26.10.2007South Africa - The First Southern Africa Conference for the Elimination of Mercury in Health CareJohannesburg, South AfricaAll events
16.10 - 19.10.20072007 China NGOs Skillshare on Chemical Safety Draft Agenda Beijing, ChinaAll events
September 2007
27.09 - 28.09.2007Reducing Mercury Dependancy: Usage, Processes and Impacts in India (Toxics Link)New Delhi, IndiaAll events
15.09 - 18.09.20083rd GAIA Global MeetingGuipuzkoa, SpainAll events
08.09 - 12.09.20077th Annual CASM Conference (7th ACC)Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia All events
03.09 - 07.09.2007Basel Convention: The sixth session of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG6)Geneva, SwitzerlandEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
August 2007
15.08 - 17.08.2007Conference: Regulating Chemical Risk Stockhom, Sweden All events
June 2007
18.06 - 21.06.2007EU Mercury export ban - Plenary voteStrasbourg, FranceAll events
13.06 - 15.06.2007Intergovernmental Midterm Review of the Paneuropean Environment and Health process Vienna, AustriaAll events
10.06 - 12.06.20074'rd International Conference on Children´s Health and the Environment - "Reducing enviromental risks for our children"Vienna, AustriaAll events
06.06 - 08.06.2007Fourth Meeting, Task Force on Heavy Metals - LRTAPVienna, AustriaAll events
May 2007
26.05.2007Zero Mercury Working Group - NGOs only meetingBrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
26.05.2007Zero Mercury Working Group - NGOs only meetingBrusselsAll events
25.05.2007EEB-HEAL-ZMWG Conference "Dental Sector as a source of mercury contamination"BrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
11.05 - 13.05.200713th MELISA Study Group The Emerging Role of Metals in Chronic Disease Bremen, GermanyAll events
03.05.2007EU Mercury export ban - First reading Vote - ENVI BrusselsAll events
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