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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)

 
Home Events Event details

EEB/ZMWG/HCWH Conference 'EU mercury phase out in measuring and control equipment'

Date:
18.06.2009
Place:
Brussels
Category:
Events organized by EEB/ZMWG on mercury

Additional Information

Invitation for Public Registration 4 Public Invitation for NGOs Registration 4 NGOs

Thursday 18 June 2009
Brussels, Belgium
VENUE: Goethe Institut, rue Belliard 58, 1040, Brussels, Belgium
(how to reach the venue, Brussels Metro map)

For General Public:   Invitation,     Registration form,
For NGOs:                      NGO Invitation, NGO Registration form

The conference is open to the public and will take place in English.

Draft agenda (as per 12/06/2009)

Time schedule

Title of presentation

Speaker

8:30

Registration

 

9.00

Welcome - Short introduction to the morning session

Moderator

9.05

EU restrictions of mercury use in measuring and control equipment – EC proposal

Sotiris Kiokias, EC DG Enterprise

9.25

Industry’s view on mercury in measuring devices

David Osborn, Philips/COCIR

9.40

NGO position on mercury in measuring devices

Anna Lind, EEB

The transition to a mercury free health care

10.00

Is the Healthcare sector ready for the transition?

Study: 'Turning up the pressure: Phasing out mercury sphygmomanometers for professional use'

 

Peter Maxson, Concorde East/West

10.25

Coffee break

 




10.45
11.00
11.15

Experiences from EU Mercury-free Hospitals

Experiences from a UK Hospital

Experiences from a Latvian Hospital

 

 


- Paul Williams, Facilities Health And Safety Advisor, Heart Of England NHS Foundation Trust, UK

-Mrs. Jelena Stepule, Rezekne Hospital, Latvia

- Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain (invited)

11.30
Global developments and mercury in measuring devices


Desiree Narvaez, UNEP

11.45


WHO policy and partnerships


Peter Orris, MD, University of Illinois, WHO Collaborating Center in Occupational and Environmental Health

12.00
Global experiences from hospitals – US/Global South


Anja Leetz, Health Care Without Harm

12.25

Discussion (Q&A) Morning session

 

13.00

Lunch Break

 

 

Welcome back - Short introduction to the afternoon session

Moderator


14.15

14.30

14.45


Member States views – (National experiences in phasing out mercury from the healthcare sector)

Polish position

Swedish position

UK position/comments


Discussion





- Dr Agnieszka Dudra, (PhD)
, Specialist
Bureau for Chemical Substances and Preparations, Poland

- Ulla Falk, KEMI, Sweden

 

15.00

Coffee Break

 

 

15.15

 

 



15.50

 

Panel Discussion:

Are Hg sphygmomanometers needed for calibration? Are there special cases were Hg sphygmos are still needed? Are non-mercury devices validated?


- Experiences from a mercury free hospital (Karolinska)

- Experiences/views from a manufacturer (W-A)



- Experiences from an MD


- Experiences from a validation expert (UoA, Sotiria)

 

 

Discussion (Q&A) - afternoon session

 

 

 

  • Heikki Terio, R&D Manager, Karolinska University Hospital

  • Thomas Grant, Director, Regional Category Management , Welch Allyn

  • Peter Orris, MD, University of Illinois, WHO Collaborating Center in Occupational and Environmental Health

  • Mr. George Stergiou, MD, Associate Professor of MedicineHypertension Center, Third University Department of Medicine, Sotiria Hospital, Athens

Other measuring devices and export

 

16.10


16.20



16.30

 

 

Which other mercury containing devices such as porosimeters, etc shall be considered to be phased out?

Current polarographic
instrumentation and important application in industry and research

Views from a Member state (Denmark)

Discussion (Q&A)

 

Peter Maxson, Concord East/West.

Uwe Loyall, Manager, Competent Center Voltammetry, CVS and Stability Measuring Instruments, Metrohm International Headq.


Frank Jensen, Special Advisor, Danish EPA

17.00

Overall conclusion – End of conference

Moderator