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Press Release

As new global mercury treaty enters into force, worldwide mercury production skyrockets, 
notes Global NGO Coalition on World Environmental Health Day

Geneva, 26 September 2017- As 156 countries convened for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, 
a new UN report shows mercury mining skyrocketing in the last 5 years. Moreover, much of that mercury is used in artisanal and 
small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest source of global mercury pollution.

Currently, countries do not have reliable information about trade in neighboring countries and within their own region. 
This problem is compounded where borders between countries are “porous,” and a significant portion of trade is informal or illegal. 
For example, mercury may enter a region through legal trade to one country, but then be traded illegally across borders to neighboring countries. 

“Informal trade is difficult to track, and therefore does not appear in the official trade statistics,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, 
Project Manager, Zero Mercury Campaign at the European Environmental Bureau. 
“With timely reporting, Parties can better understand mercury flows in order to better enforce trade restrictions in the Convention.”

“In recent years there have been a number of shocks to the global market, resulting in a doubling of the price of mercury in the last 12 months alone,” 
said Michael Bender, Co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. “In addition, EU and US export bans now in place have resulted 
in a major shift in the main trading hub to Asia.”

“The emergence over the past five years of new small-scale producers of mercury in Mexico and Indonesia has made a difficult situation worse,” 
said Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxics Link in India. “Between these two countries alone, around 1000 tonnes are produced annually.”

“The main objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment by, in part, simultaneously 
reducing mercury supply and demand,” said  Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaign Manager at groundWork 
in South Africa. Without adequate reporting on the global movement of mercury it will 
be difficult to monitor the overall effectiveness of the Convention, say NGOs.

“Annual reporting is consistent with the requirements of other environmental conventions such as Basel and the Montreal Protocol,” 
said Leslie Adogame, Executive Director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development in Nigeria.
“Legal trade flows must be understood before informal or illegal trade can be adequately addressed.”

An analysis of publicly available UN COMTRADE data over the period 2013-2016 (see below) reveals that the majority of global mercury flows 
from commodity trading centres (such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE) to developing country regions (such as Africa and Latin America) 
where mercury use in ASGM is prolific in response to the largest global gold rush the world has ever seen. 

see table at the pdf

see also PR in FR 

Notes to the editor

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

 https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/21725/global_mercury.pdf?sequence=1&;;isAllowed=y

http://www.ifeh.org/wehd/

www.zeromercury.org

For further information, please contact:                                         

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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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 " target="_blank"> 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 ">  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

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 " target="_blank"> 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 "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> 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

*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.

Home Events

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

DateName of eventPlaceCategory
April 2007
25.04.2007International symposium Epidemiology of toxic metals - problems and solutions Portorož, SloveniaAll events
February 2007
05.02 - 09.02.200724th UNEP Governing Council Nairobi, KenyaAll events
03.02 - 04.02.20078th Global Civil Society Forum Nairobi, KenyaAll events
January 2007
10.01.2007Launch of the HEAL-HCWH “Stay Healthy, Stop Mercury” campaign reportBrusselsAll events
November 2006
27.11 - 01.12.2006COP8 on the Basel Convention Nairobi, KenyaAll events
October 2006
26.10 - 28.10.2006Environmental and Health NGOs internal meeting on global strategies concerning mercury.BrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
26.10 - 27.10.2006European Commission: International mercury conference - How to reduce mercury supply and demandBrusselsAll events
26.10 - 28.10.2006Environmental and Health NGOs internal meeting on global strategies concerning mercuryBrusselsAll events
26.10 - 27.10.2006UNEP Civil Society Regional Consultation MeetingAfrica, NairobiAll events
23.10 - 25.10.2006UNEP Civil Society Regional Consultation MeetingsSwitzerland, GenevaAll events
September 2006
23.09.2006Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety, Forum V Side Event on Heavy Metals, Health and Environmental concerns associated with Heavy Metals; global needs for further action?Budapest, Hungary All events
August 2006
07.08 - 10.08.2006International conference - side event “Finding Solutions to the Global Mercury Crisis”.Madison, Wisconsin, USAEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
07.08 - 10.08.2006International conference - side event “Finding Solutions to the Global Mercury Crisis”.Madison, Wisconsin, USAAll events
06.08 - 11.08.2006International Conference: Mercury as a global pollutantMadison, Wisconsin, USAAll events
June 2006
19.06.2006EEB Conference: "EU Mercury surplus management and mercury use in measuring and control equipment”BrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
19.06.2006EEB Conference: "EU Mercury surplus management and mercury use in measuring and control equipment”BrusselsAll events
18.06.2006Zero Mercury Working group internal NGOs meeting on mercuryBrusselsEvents organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury
18.06.2006Zero Mercury Working group internal NGOs meeting on mercuryBrusselsAll events
May 2006
29.05 - 31.05.2006CleanMed, The International healthcare congress on sustainable products and practices.Stockholm, SwedenAll events
February 2006
21.02 - 23.02.2006“CEC-Americas Workshop to Reduce Mercury Use in Products”Merida, Yucatan, MexicoAll events
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