Over 400 delegates representing 122 Governments, 29 non-governmental and 13 intergovernmental organizations gathered in Bangkok from 3 to 7 November 2014 for the sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury (INC6).
The meeting was held at the premises of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok and was preceded by regional consultations on 2 November 2014 as well as by a meeting of the Global Mercury Partnership Advisory Group from 30 October to 1 November 2014.
The committee made significant progress on a number of issues, contributing to INC6’s objective of facilitating the rapid entry into force and effective implementation of the Minamata Convention. A number of areas indeed require action before entry into force of the Convention or the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1). Entry into force will happen once 50 States or regional economic integration organization have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, and COP1 will be held no later than one year after this date.
During this week of negotiations, Governments met in contact groups to discuss the issues of finance, trade, exemptions, reporting and draft rules of procedure and draft financial rules for the Conference of the Parties. They adopted a number of elements on a provisional basis pending possible adoption by the Conference of the Parties at its first meeting, including forms to be used for trade in mercury between Parties and with non-Parties, proposed formats for the registration of exemptions and for the register of exemptions to be maintained by the secretariat.
While INC6 paved the way for INC7 and COP1, significant work remain both during the intersessional period and at these upcoming meetings. On the issue of financial resources and mechanism (Article 13), the committee agreed to establish an ad hoc working group of experts on financing to conduct intersessional work. During this interim period, the technical expert group will also continue its work on the development of the guidance called for in Article 8 on emissions. Finally, the committee tasked the interim secretariat to seek input and undertake work on a number of issues to be further considered by the committee at its seventh session, including the development of draft guidance on Article 3 on mercury supply sources and trade, Article 7 on artisanal and small-scale gold mining, Article 10 on environmentally sound interim storage of mercury, other than waste mercury, Article 11 on mercury wastes, Article 22 on effectiveness evaluation as well as Article 23 on the Conference of the Parties.
Documents prepared for INC6 can be accessed on the INC6 webpage, where the session’s report and final list of participants will also be posted as soon as finalized. The daily coverage and summary report by Earth Negotiations Bulletin are available on the IISD webpage at: www.iisd.ca/mercury/inc6/.