News from the Convention

Minamata Online: Article 8 Emissions
On Thursday 22 October, experts held an information session on how the Minamata Convention sets out obligations with regard to the control and reduction of mercury and mercury compounds to the atmosphere (Article 8 and Annex D).

Minamata Online: Article 8 Emissions

Minamata Online: Article 8 Emissions

On 22 October, Minamata Online held an information session on “Article 8 Emissions”. This session outlined how the Minamata Convention sets out obligations regarding the control and reduction of mercury and mercury compounds to the atmosphere (Article 8 and Annex D).

This session, part of the “implementation review and support” stream, described the Guidance on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices adopted at COP-1 and provided some current information on implementation of Article 8.

The event saw a virtual attendance of 54 participants in the morning session and 78 in the afternoon, and counted with the following panelists:

  • Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Marianne Bailey, Programme Officer for Capacity-building and Technical Assistance, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Lesley Sloss, Senior Analyst and Event Lead at IEA Clean Coal Centre; Co-lead for the coal area of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership

This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. Attendance is free for each session and registrations for the November events are open. More information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

More information:

Minamata Online: COP4 - 365 days to go
On 3 November, a special briefing on the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) will take place at the International Environmental House II and online on Webex and Facebook. This event is organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network and the Minamata Online series.

Minamata Online: COP4 - 365 days to go

Minamata Online: COP4 - 365 days to go

On 3 November, a special briefing on the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) will take place at the International Environmental House II and online on Webex and Facebook. This event is organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network and the Minamata Online series.

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow – waste
On 15 October, Minamata Online held an information session on mercury material flow focusing on waste stream. Presentations included the approaches taken in understanding national mercury flow in waste stream and available knowledge from waste management sector. There was a panel discussion on how to improve the knowledge on mercury material flow in waste stream.

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow – waste

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow – waste

On 15 October, Minamata Online held an information session on mercury material flow focusing on waste stream. Presentations included the approaches taken in understanding national mercury flow in waste stream and available knowledge from waste management sector. There was a panel discussion on how to improve the knowledge on mercury material flow in waste stream.

This session was part of the “mercury science” stream, the second event after the 29 September “Supply, demand and trade” webinar.

The event saw a virtual attendance of 102 participants and counted with the following panelists:

  • Misuzu Asari, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
  • Qingru Wu, Professor, Tsinghua University
  • Gabriela Medina, Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre, Stockholm Convention Regional Centre, for LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, Uruguay
  • Alexander Romanov, Deputy Director,Scientific Research Institute for atmospheric air protection (SRI Atmosphere JSC)
  • Melissa Barbanell, Barbanell Environmental Law & Consulting on behalf of the International Council on Mining and Metals
  • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. Attendance is free for each session and registrations for the October events are open. More information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

More information:

Tanzania brings to 124 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
On 5 October 2020, the Government of the Republic of Tanzania deposited its instrument of ratificacion, thereby becoming the 124th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Tanzania brings to 124 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

Tanzania brings to 124 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

On 5 October 2020, the Government of the Republic of Tanzania deposited its instrument of ratificacion, thereby becoming the 124th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Sound management of chemicals and waste a prerequisite for turning the tide on biodiversity loss and protecting human health
Joint Statement of the Basel, Minamata, Rotterdam, & Stockholm conventions on the occasion of the UN Summit on Biodiversity

Sound management of chemicals and waste a prerequisite for turning the tide on biodiversity loss and protecting human health

Sound management of chemicals and waste a prerequisite for turning the tide on biodiversity loss and protecting human health
Joint Statement of the Basel, Minamata, Rotterdam, & Stockholm conventions on the occasion of the UN Summit on Biodiversity
Minamata Online: Article 3 Trade in Mercury
On Thursday 8 October, this online session outlined how the Minamata Convention sets out obligations with regard to the trade in mercury (Article 3, MC-1/2). It also provided additional information on the evolution of mercury trade flows.

Minamata Online: Article 3 Trade in Mercury

Minamata Online: Article 3 Trade in Mercury

On 8 October, Minamata Online held an information session on “Article 3 Trade”. This webinar outlined how the Minamata Convention sets out obligations regarding the trade in mercury (Article 3, MC-1/2). The event, like the 24 September “Art21 Reporting and Art15 ICC” session, was part of the “implementation review and support” stream, and it also provided information on the evolution of mercury trade flows.

The event saw a virtual attendance of 53 participants in the morning session and 86 in the afternoon, and counted with the following panelists:

  • Claudia ten Have, Senior Policy Coordination Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Marianne Bailey, Programme Officer for Capacity-building and Technical Assistance, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Gabi Eigenmann, Minamata Policy Expert, Department of Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Lara Ognibene, Legal/Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. Attendance is free for each session and registrations for the October events are open. More information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

More information:

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow (Supply, demand and trade)
On 29 September, experts presented available information on mercury material flow focusing on supply, demand and trade in mercury. Presentations included updated information after the publication of UNEP Mercury Supply, Trade and Demand report, studies on illicit trade, and national studies on mercury material flow.

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow (Supply, demand and trade)

Minamata Online: Mercury material flow (Supply, demand and trade)

On 29 September, Minamata Online held an information session on “Mercury material flow: Supply, demand and trade”.

The first session under the “mercury science” stream, this webinar presented information on mercury material flow focusing on supply, demand and trade in mercury. Experts provided updated information after the publication of UNEP Mercury Supply, Trade and Demand report, studies on illicit trade, and national studies on mercury material flow. There was as well a panel discussion on how to improve the knowledge on mercury material flow.

The event saw a virtual attendance of over a hundred participants and counted with the following panelists:

  • Peter Maxson, Director, Concorde East/West SPRL 
  • Barbara Hendus, Program Officer Extractives & Conservation, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands 
  • Okechukwu Jonathan Okonkwo, Professor Emeritus, Tshwane University of Technology
  • Thomas Groeneveld, Special Assistant, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Joy Leaner, Co-chair, International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant 2022
  • Ken Davis, Programme Management Officer, UN Environment Programme
  • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. More information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

  • Presentations:
    1. Peter Maxson
    2. Barbara Hendus
    3. Okechukwu Jonathan Okonkwo
    4. Thomas Groeneveld
    5. Ken Davis
    6. Eisaku Toda
  • Video recording
  • Questions & Answers
  • Minamata Online
  • The future we want: a timeline of the Minamata Convention
    On the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, the Minamata Convention reaffirms its commitment to multilateralism and united action against mercury, and makes available an infographic timeline with a small sample of the Convention’s multilateral work, both past and future.

    The future we want: a timeline of the Minamata Convention

    The future we want: a timeline of the Minamata Convention

    On the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, the Minamata Convention reaffirms its commitment to multilateralism and, now more than ever, the need for strong, close work among all our Parties and stakeholders to ensure a better future free from the adverse effects of mercury.

    In order to better illustrate the journey so far and the future we want, we make available an infographic timeline with a small sample of the Convention’s multilateral work.

    Minamata Online: Art21 Reporting and Art15 ICC
    On 24 September, Minamata Online held two information sessions on “Implementation review and support Art. 21 Reporting, and Art. 15 Implementation and Compliance Committee”.

    Minamata Online: Art21 Reporting and Art15 ICC

    Minamata Online: Art21 Reporting and Art15 ICC

    On 24 September, Minamata Online held two information sessions on “Implementation review and support Art. 21 Reporting, and Art. 15 Implementation and Compliance Committee”.

    This event, the first session of the “implementation review and support” stream, outlined the obligations under the Minamata Convention on reporting (Article 22 and MC-1/8) and the overall functioning of the Implementation and Compliance Committee (Article 15, MC-1/, MC-2/ and MC-3/9).

    The event saw a virtual attendance of 53 participants in the morning session and 71 in the afternoon, and counted with the following panelists:

    • Claudia ten Have, Senior Policy Coordination Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Marianne Bailey, Programme Officer for Capacity-building and Technical Assistance, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Lara Ognibene, Legal/Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

    This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. Attendance is free for each session and registrations for the last September events are openMore information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

    More information:

    Minamata Online calendar
    Starting in September and until December, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is holding a weekly series of free online sessions aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects.   NEXT: Thursday, 22 Oct: Art. 8 Emissions

    Minamata Online calendar

    Minamata Online calendar
    Starting in September and until December, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is holding a weekly series of free online sessions aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects.
    Minamata Online: Monitoring guidance
    On Tuesday, 15 September, identified experts gathered digitally to contribute to the monitoring guidance for effectiveness evaluation, under the  COP-4 preparation stream.

    Minamata Online: Monitoring guidance

    Minamata Online: Monitoring guidance

    On 15 September, Minamata Online held an invitation-only session where identified experts gathered digitally to contribute to the monitoring guidance for effectiveness evaluation, under the COP-4 preparation stream. The webinar introduced the roadmap for developing monitoring guidance, its background information and draft annotated outline, and it shared expectations for the experts contributing to the drafting.

     

     

    The event saw a virtual attendance of 65 participants and counted with the following panelists:

    • Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Garth Martin, Brewill Supplies and Consulting, South Africa
    • Dave Evers, Biodiversity Research Institute
    • Nil Basu, McGill University
    • Claudia ten Have, Senior Policy Coordination Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

    More information:

    Minamata Online: Effectiveness evaluation indicators
    On 17 September, Minamata Online held an information session on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention.

    Minamata Online: Effectiveness evaluation indicators

    Minamata Online: Effectiveness evaluation indicators

    On 17 September, Minamata Online held an information session on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention. This session on the COP-4 preparation stream, a continuation of the monitoring guidance webinar joined by identified experts on the 15 September, was held twice on the same day to facilitate the access to participants from all over the world.

    As mandated by COP-3, this event introduced the three-step process of intersessional work to be done for the first effectiveness evaluation, and provided Parties with information for their preparation of their initial views on the proposed indicators. More information about the intersessional work towards the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention here.

    The event saw a virtual attendance of 70 participants in the morning session and 115 in the afternoon, and counted with the following panelists:

    • Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Claudia ten Have, Senior Policy Coordination Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Michael J Spilsbury, Director, Evaluation Office, UN Environment Programme
    • Eisaku Toda, Senior Programme Officer, Minamata Convention on Mercury

    The recording of the webinar is available here.

    This weekly digital series, aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects, will be held weekly until December. Attendance is free for each session and registrations for the September events are open. More information about Minamata Online, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

    More information:

    Launch of Minamata Online: the new digital sessions on mercury
    Starting in September and until December, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury will hold a weekly series of free online sessions aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects. 

    Launch of Minamata Online: the new digital sessions on mercury

    Launch of Minamata Online: the new digital sessions on mercury

    Starting in September and until December, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury will hold a weekly series of free online sessions aimed at better understanding the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects. Titled Minamata Online, this digital initiative strengthens the continuation of learning and collaboration among parties and stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention Monika Stankiewicz stated, in her letter to the parties, that “sharing knowledge and best practices has always been at the very heart of the Minamata Convention and I, and the entire Secretariat are honored to carry this spirit to the digital space and help to build back better”. She added that “Minamata Online is poised to be a source of knowledge and support, especially to the parties from developing countries and countries with economies in transition”.

    With a duration of 60 to 90 minutes, these 13 sessions will be arranged according to three streams: implementation review and support, mercury science, and preparation for the Conference of the Parties (COP4) . In order to facilitate the access to the events, some of the sessions will be held twice on the same day according to different time zones, and video recordings will be made openly available afterwards.

    The first session, which will take place twice on Thursday, 17 September, will focus on effectiveness evaluation indicators. Other dates will cover topics ranging from national reporting, to mercury trade, to mercury emissions, to waste and contaminated sites, as well as the mercury material flows, multimedia modeling of global mercury movement and the socio-economic impacts of mercury pollution. An invitation-only session with identified experts will happen on the 15th ahead of the official launch.

    This digital engagement has been developed in collaboration with the Global Mercury Partnership (GMP), the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN). Targeted to government officials, scientists, NGOs, and other stakeholders, attendance is free for each session and registrations for the September events are now open.

    More information, the season’s calendar and registration details can be found here.

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    The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources.

    * The next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP4), which is the governing body that advances, reviews and evaluates the implementation of the Convention, will take place next year in Bali.


    OEWG12 Online Side Event: Evaluating the effectiveness of Conventions
    On 2 September, experts from chemicals and waste conventions, Regional Seas Conventions and UNEP explored together the key role of science in tracking progress in reaching environmental goals.

    OEWG12 Online Side Event: Evaluating the effectiveness of Conventions

    OEWG12 Online Side Event: Evaluating the effectiveness of Conventions

    On 2 September, experts from chemicals and waste conventions, Regional Seas Conventions and UNEP explored together the key role of science in tracking progress in reaching environmental goals.

    The moderator of the event, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury Monika Stankiewicz, highlighted that “sharing lessons learnt from measuring progress in achieving our environmental goals, whether concerning marine litter, mercury  or other hazardous substances, will contribute greatly to developing and improving the evaluation of how effective our conventions are.”

    The side event, organized by the Minamata Convention Secretariat, was held during the online segment of the 12th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG-12) and saw a virtual attendance of 137 participants. The following panelists exchanged their experiences and perspectives on a fit-for-purpose effectiveness evaluation system which is based on best available science:

    • Michael J Spilsbury, Director of the Evaluation Office, UNEP
    • Ana-Maria Witt, Programme Officer from the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
    • Jerker Tamelander, Coordinator of the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA)
    • Dominic Pattinson, Executive Secretary of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention).

    The parties to the Minamata Convention are currently in a process of preparing for the  first effectiveness evaluation of the Convention to be done by 2023. As agreed by the third Conference of the Parties in 2019, the work is ongoing to develop monitoring guidance to maintain harmonized, comparable information on mercury levels in the environment, and a report on mercury trade, supply and demand, including mercury waste flows and stocks. The next Conference of the Parties, to be held in November 2021 in Bali, Indonesia, will consider and decide on the next steps of the effectiveness evaluation process.

    The recording of the side-event is available here.

    Join Minamata Online, a new series of weekly webinars, to learn more about the convention and mercury science. 

    More information:

    A Message from Minamata Bay.
    To mark the 3rd anniversary of the Minamata Convention, two lifelong sufferers of the Minamata Disease raise their voices once more to call for commitment so that mercury poisoning of the magnitude experienced by those living around the Minamata Bay more than 60 years ago, will not be repeated ever again.

    A Message from Minamata Bay.

    A Message from Minamata Bay.

    To mark the 3rd anniversary of the Minamata Convention, two lifelong sufferers of the Minamata Disease raise their voices once more to call for commitment so that mercury poisoning of the magnitude experienced by those living around the Minamata Bay more than 60 years ago, will not be repeated ever again.

    Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto and Mr. Koichiro Matsunaga were born along the Minamata Bay where mercury from wastewater at a local company had been discharged from some decades. Both were dramatically affected as the mercury that accumulated had entered the food stream to affect the local population, including their mothers who in turn passed the conditions for Minamata Disease during their pregnancy to their children.

    Many people in Minamata, in southwest Japan, suffered, and many died, from this serious neurological disease.

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury, signed in 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan, in the presence of some of these longtime sufferers and their family members, in its preamble recognises the substantial lessons learned from this environmental disaster, and calls for global action for such a tragedy never to be repeated again.

    On 16 of August 2017, the Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force. Since then, 123 Parties have ratified the Convention for joint action to make mercury history.

    Today, the by now aging Ms. Sakamoto and Mr. Matsunaga are raising their voices once again to call to current and future generations so that such a tragedy is not repeated.

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury Promotion Network has also sent a letter to different embassies encouraging to ratify the Convention.

    Minamata Convention on Mercury marks three years of protecting human health and the environment
    Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Convention, reflects on its impact emphasizing how together we can #MakeMercuryHistory

    Minamata Convention on Mercury marks three years of protecting human health and the environment

    Minamata Convention on Mercury marks three years of protecting human health and the environment

    Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Convention, reflects on its impact emphasizing how together we can #MakeMercuryHistory

    Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention
    Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, Monika Stankiewicz, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, and Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the Minamata COP4 President convey their message for the 3rd anniversary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

    Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention

    Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention

    Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, Monika Stankiewicz, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, and Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the Minamata COP4 President convey their message for the 3rd anniversary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

    How the Minamata Convention can help “build back better” on ASGM
    As the Minamata Convention on Mercury turns 3, the Programme Management Officer Marianne Bailey draws attention to the role of ASGM National Action Plans in global efforts to advance sustainable development & transitions to formal economy.

    How the Minamata Convention can help “build back better” on ASGM

    How the Minamata Convention can help “build back better” on ASGM

    As the Minamata Convention on Mercury turns 3, the Programme Management Officer Marianne Bailey draws attention to the role of ASGM National Action Plans in global efforts to advance sustainable development & transitions to formal economy.

    SAVE THE DATE: Minamata Online, the new weekly series of digital sessions
    The Minamata Secretariat is pleased to announce a new weekly series of digital engagement on the Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects starting in September 2020.

    SAVE THE DATE: Minamata Online, the new weekly series of digital sessions

    SAVE THE DATE: Minamata Online, the new weekly series of digital sessions

    To continue to serve the Minamata Parties at a time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Minamata Secretariat has focused on strengthening networks and support its Parties and key constituencies through digital means.

    Minamata Online is a new series of digital engagement to provide an opportunity for government officials, scientists, NGOs, and other stakeholders to better understand the Minamata Convention's provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects. The sessions are arranged according to three streams: implementation support and review, mercury science, and COP-4 preparations.

    Starting on Thursday, 17 September, each digital session will delve into a particular topic on a weekly basis until December. The thirteen sessions will cover topics ranging from national reporting, to mercury trade, to mercury emissions, to waste and contaminated sites, as well as the mercury material flows, multimedia modeling of global mercury movement and the socio-economic impacts of mercury pollution. One session will also mark the 365-day countdown to COP4.

    The sessions are 1-1.5 hours long, and some will be held twice on the same day to accommodate different time zones. Each session will be announced individually, and registration will be available on the Minamata Convention website http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

    Save the date now, checking the Minamata Online calendar!

    Our collaboration partners for Minamata Online are the Global Mercury Partnership (GMP), the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP), and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN).

    This programme is built on the pilot sessions on mercury-added products held in July 2020. Please see for more information:  Intersessional work on products and processes and The 2020 deadline for phasing out mercury-added products 

    EU provides €500K to help working on mercury-added products and effectiveness evaluation
    This comes in addition to the European Union’s contribution of 500,000 euros for the work programme for technical assistance and capacity building on mercury trade and emissions.

    EU provides €500K to help working on mercury-added products and effectiveness evaluation

    EU provides €500K to help working on mercury-added products and effectiveness evaluation

    In addition to the European Union’s contribution of 500,000 euros for the work programme for technical assistance and capacity building on mercury trade and emissions, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention received another 500,000 euros to support the work on mercury-added products and effectiveness evaluation.

    The new contribution has three components. The first component supports the intersessional work on the review of Annexes A and B. The original intention was to support a face-to-face meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts, but since the meeting was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contribution will be spent to support market studies on mercury-added products.

    The second component is technical assistance and capacity-building to assist Parties in fulfilling its 2020 obligation to phase out manufacturing, import and export of mercury-added products. Several partners will be trained on developing and implementing domestic policy measures for the phase-out, and will provide hands-on assistance to developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition. For further information, please see the concept note for this component.

    The third component supports the intersessional work on effectiveness evaluation. The current plan is to support a meeting on the effectiveness evaluation indicators and analyze information relevant to proposed indicators. Further details will be discussed in early 2021 taking into account the situation of travel restrictions.

    Video message from our Parties on the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention
    From their homes, Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury are commemorating its third anniversary. Some of the COP4 Bureau Members sent their personal message of hope to work together on this journey to #MakeMercuryHistory

    Video message from our Parties on the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention

    Video message from our Parties on the 3rd Anniversary of the Minamata Convention

    From their homes, Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury are commemorating its third anniversary. Some of the COP4 Bureau Members sent their personal message of hope to work together on this journey to #MakeMercuryHistory

    Philippines brings to 123 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
    On 8 July 2020, the Government of the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratificacion, thereby becoming the 123rd Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Philippines brings to 123 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    Philippines brings to 123 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    On 8 July 2020, the Government of the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratificacion, thereby becoming the 123rd Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Information session: Intersessional work on products and processes
    The Minamata Secretariat convened two online information sessions on the 7 July on the progress of the intersessional process to review the list of products and processes using mercury, with a call for submission of information.

    Information session: Intersessional work on products and processes

    Information session: Intersessional work on products and processes
    Information session:  Intersessional work on products and processes

    The Minamata Secretariat convened two online information sessions on the 7 July on the progress of the intersessional process to review the list of products and processes using mercury, with a call for submission of information.

    The first session was held at 10:00 Geneva time, and the second at 16:00 Geneva time, to cover all time zones. With nearly 92 participants in the morning session and 99 in the afternoon, these online events included information on the intersessional work related to products and processes, more specifically review of Annexes A and B, dental amalgam and custom codes.

    Through an overview of  COP3 decisions, the current situation and the roadmap for each area of work, the Secretariat shared the information received so far on these provisions from Parties and others on progress made towards meeting the extended deadline by 31 July. A Q&A session followed the presentation. 

    The Minamata Convention controls the full life cycle of mercury, from its supply to its trade, use, emissions, releases, storage, and the management of waste and contaminated sites. "The control on the use of mercury in products and industrial processes is one of the critical building blocks of the Convention", stressed the Executive Secretary of the Convention, Monika Stankiewicz.

    Article 4 of the Convention obliges the Parties to phase out the manufacture, import and export of mercury-added products listed in Annex A. Article 5 describes the measures that Parties must take on manufacturing processes using mercury listed in Annex B.

    More information:

    Overview of Minamata Meetings in the run-up to COP4
    Meetings held and planned under the Minamata Convention in the 2020-2021 biennium and run-up to COP4 are listed here. The calendar presented will be updated regularly as additional online meetings may be added.

    Overview of Minamata Meetings in the run-up to COP4

    Overview of Minamata Meetings in the run-up to COP4

    Meetings held and planned under the Minamata Convention in the 2020-2021 biennium and run-up to COP4 are listed here. The calendar presented will be updated regularly as additional online meetings may be added.

    The 2020 deadline for mercury-added products
    Parties shall not allow, by taking appropriate measures, the manufacture, import or export of mercury-added products listed in Part I of Annex A after 2020.

    The 2020 deadline for mercury-added products

    The 2020 deadline for mercury-added products
    Information session: The 2020 deadline for phasing out mercury-added products

    On 2 July, the Secretariat convened information sessions to highlight the 2020 deadline for mercury-added products under the Minamata Convention, and provide essential information to assist Parties in their implementation of Article 4 in this regard.

    To cover all time zones, the first session was held at 10:00 Geneva time, and the second at 16:00 Geneva time. With nearly 100 participants in the morning session and 87 in the afternoon, these information sessions covered the Convention's provisions to reduce mercury in products and manufacturing processes as formulated in Article 4 and Annex A. The Secretariat also introduced the provisions of Article 6 on exemptions available to a Party upon request. Furthermore, the Secretariat shared the information received so far on these provisions, and from Parties and others on progress made towards meeting the deadline. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.

    In the introduction, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Monika Stankiewicz, emphasized that "in negotiating the Convention, countries took bold steps forward so that Parties would commit to reducing the amount of mercury available for use and in global circulation. One such bold step is to phase-out products that contain mercury".

    Under Article 4, the Convention sets out to reduce mercury demand in products through a combination of measures which phase out mercury uses in many key products, phase down mercury use in dental amalgam, and discourage the manufacture of new products using mercury.

    Annex A, Part 1 of the Convention, lists the mercury-added products for which, by 2020, the manufacture and import or export of the product shall not be allowed. These include specific batteries, switches and relays, fluorescent lamps, cosmetics, pesticides, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other measuring devices where mercury is intentionally added. 

    Article 6 provides a mechanism for Parties to be granted more time to meet their obligations under Article 4. Mercury-added products accounted for about 25% of global mercury use in 2015, according to the UNEP report on Supply, Trade and Demand, and they create significant waste management challenges for countries.

    More information:

    Oman brings to 122 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
    On 23 June 2020, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 122nd Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Oman brings to 122 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    Oman brings to 122 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    On 23 June 2020, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 122nd Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Information Session: Developing Guidance on Monitoring for Effectiveness Evaluation
    The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury convened an online information session on the plan to develop guidance on monitoring for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention.

    Information Session: Developing Guidance on Monitoring for Effectiveness Evaluation

    Information Session: Developing Guidance on Monitoring for Effectiveness Evaluation

    The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury convened an online information session on the plan to develop guidance on monitoring for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention.

    Albania brings to 120 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
    On 26 May 2020, the Government of Albania deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 120th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Albania brings to 120 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    Albania brings to 120 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    On 26 May 2020, the Government of Albania deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 120th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Geneva Environment Dialogues - Intersessional Work
    Join live this Thursday 28 May at 9 AM CEST the new Geneva Environment Dialogues special COVID-19 series, to discuss the Minamata Convention Intersessional Work towards COP-4, with the Executive Secretary and other colleagues.

    Geneva Environment Dialogues - Intersessional Work

    Geneva Environment Dialogues - Intersessional Work

    Join live this Thursday 28 May at 9 AM CEST the new Geneva Environment Dialogues special COVID-19 series, to discuss the Minamata Convention Intersessional Work towards COP-4, with the Executive Secretary and other colleagues.

    Tribute to the Memory of Marc Chardonnens
    The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention expresses its condolences on the passing of Mr. Marc Chardonnens, former Head of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and former President of the COP1 and 2.

    Tribute to the Memory of Marc Chardonnens

    Tribute to the Memory of Marc Chardonnens

    The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention expresses its condolences on the passing of Mr. Marc Chardonnens, former Head of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and former President of the COP1 and 2.

    Expert groups on Annexes A and B and mercury releases met electronically on 7 May
    Submissions on Annexes A and B are due by 15 May. The draft general guidance on release inventory is still open for comments until 19 June.

    Expert groups on Annexes A and B and mercury releases met electronically on 7 May

    Expert groups on Annexes A and B and mercury releases met electronically on 7 May
    • Submissions on Annexes A and B are due by 15 May.
    • The draft general guidance on release inventory is still open for comments until 19 June.

    Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, expert groups under the Minamata Convention continue their work to provide technical support to control and reduce mercury pollution for the benefit of the environment and human health.  Two online meetings of expert groups were convened by the Minamata Secretariat today.

    The first teleconference was the Minamata Convention Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Review of Annexes A and B with 29 participants. This group was established following the Decision MC-3/1 taken at the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to contribute to the COP process to review the list of products and manufacturing processes using mercury controlled under the Convention. Of that group, several submissions have been received from parties. Non-parties and others are invited to provide further information on products and processes using mercury and non-mercury alternatives until 15 May.

    The second group that met on 7 May was the Minamata Convention Group of Technical Experts on Mercury Releases with 30 participants. According to the COP3 decision MC-3/4, this group is continuing to work by electronic means. Following the mentioned decision, the Secretariat invited submissions of information on release estimation methods from parties until 15 April. The draft general guidance on the methodology for preparing inventories of releases has been posted for comments until 19 June.

    A brief summary of these meetings will be posted on the web.

    While widespread travel restrictions are still in place, the Secretariat will organize the online collaboration with its parties in an inclusive manner that supports the implementation of the Convention besides lowering the environmental footprint to move forward towards the COP-4, to be held on 31 October-5 November 2021 in Bali under the Indonesian Presidency.

    More information:

    North Macedonia brings to 119 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
    On 12 March 2020, the Government of North Macedonia deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 119th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    North Macedonia brings to 119 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    North Macedonia brings to 119 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    On 12 March 2020, the Government of North Macedonia deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 119th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    The COP3 report and the draft participants list are available
    The official meeting report of the third Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention is available in all languages.               Parties are invited to check the details in the draft list of participants.

    The COP3 report and the draft participants list are available

    The COP3 report and the draft participants list are available

    The official meeting report of the third Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention is available in all languages.
    Parties are invited to check the details in the draft list of participants.

    Cyprus become the 118th Party to the Minamata Convention
    On 25 February 2020, the Government of Cyprus deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 118th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Cyprus become the 118th Party to the Minamata Convention

    Cyprus become the 118th Party to the Minamata Convention

    On 25 February 2020, the Government of Cyprus deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 118th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Minamata, Berlin Film Festival World Premiere
    Minamata, a film featuring the Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by mercury poisoning, premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival. Johnny Depp stars as W. Eugene Smith, a US war photographer, who with his wife Aileen Smith, documented the devastating effects of the disease on the local Japanese community in the 1970s.

    Minamata, Berlin Film Festival World Premiere

    Minamata, Berlin Film Festival World Premiere

    Minamata, a film featuring the Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by mercury poisoning, premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival. Johnny Depp stars as W. Eugene Smith, a US war photographer, who with his wife Aileen Smith, documented the devastating effects of the disease on the local Japanese community in the 1970s.

     At the time, many people in Minamata in southwest Japan, were suffering from this serious neurological disease having eating seafood contaminated with mercury from waste waters that a local company had discharged into the Minamata Bay for decades. The severe and widespread health damage from this pollution, at times leading to death, was also tragically passed from mothers to their unborn children.

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury signed in 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan, in its preamble recognises the substantial lessons learned from this environmental disaster and calls on global action for such a tragedy never to be repeated. #MakeMercuryHistory

    For more information:

    Minamata Disease - History and Measures

    Minamata film on Berlinale website


    The Bahamas become the 117th Party to the Minamata Convention
    On 12 February 2020, the Government of the Bahamas deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 117th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    The Bahamas become the 117th Party to the Minamata Convention

    The Bahamas become the 117th Party to the Minamata Convention

    On 12 February 2020, the Government of the Bahamas deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 117th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Information for Reporting under Article 21
    The purpose of this document is to provide information to assist Parties in reporting under Article 21 of the Minamata Convention. It is available in 6 languages.

    Information for Reporting under Article 21

    Information for Reporting under Article 21

    The purpose of this document is to provide information to assist Parties in reporting under Article 21 of the Minamata Convention. It is available in 6 languages.

    Guidance on contaminated sites available in 6 languages
    The Conference of the Parties adopted this guidance at its third meeting and encouraged the parties to take it into account in identifying, assessing and managing sites contaminated by mercury.

    Guidance on contaminated sites available in 6 languages

    Guidance on contaminated sites available in 6 languages

    The Conference of the Parties adopted this guidance at its third meeting and encouraged the parties to take it into account in identifying, assessing and managing sites contaminated by mercury.

    Welcoming Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary
    Monika Stankiewicz assumed her functions as the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 13 January 2020.

    Welcoming Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary

    Welcoming Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary

    Monika Stankiewicz assumed her functions as the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 13 January 2020.

    Ms. Stankiewicz was nominated for the post by the UN Environment Director, Inger Andersen, in November 2019.

    “I am delighted to be joining the Minamata Convention team and I am looking forward to working with the Parties and partners to ensure continuous relevance of the Convention’s work, its visibility, and strengthen its implementation”, said Ms. Stankiewicz on her first day. “I come from the Baltic Sea region, where hazardous substances remain a major concern, but also where many effective measures have already been taken, demonstrating that policy and measures do have an impact. The Baltic Sea is also a region where environment has been affected by the legacy of mercury pollution, facing the challenge of long recovery times for the environment. These are some of lessons learnt I am bringing with me to the Minamata Convention.”

    Ms. Stankiewicz has 20 years of experience working on environmental issues, including 13 years – of which 7 years as the Executive Secretary of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), an intergovernmental organization and the former Professional Secretary of HELCOM responsible for shipping and cooperation with International Maritime Organization (2006-2011). During her tenure, she cooperated with Multilateral Environment Agreements and UN agencies, such as UNEP and its Regional Seas Programme, the Convention on Biological Diversity, UNESCO, the International Maritime Organization, the Convention on Migratory Species and the Sargasso Sea Commission.

    “Many environmental problems are of transboundary character, such as mercury pollution. I have witnessed willingness of the countries, both at regional and global level, to consider and agree on common solutions to address these transboundary problems, which I find very inspiring. I could see similar spirit at the Minamata Convention COP 3, where after five intense days, the parties made important decisions for the effective implementation of the Convention”, she added. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Rossana Silva Repetto, my predecessor, for her warm welcome and smooth handover”.

    Leading a team of 30 staff in the HELCOM Secretariat, Monika was successful in the coordination of activities to identify issues related to sea-based sources of pollution as well as to ensure a swift national and transnational response to marine incidents involving oil as well as hazardous and noxious substances. She advised on the formulation of new policies to address pollution sources at sea, on land and airborne, including in the prioritized areas of hazardous substances, as well as facilitated negotiating processes of the Contracting Parties to agree on common approaches and solutions. Monika is a member of the writing team of the chapter on hazardous substances of the 2nd World Ocean Assessment under the UN Regular Process.

    Monika holds a Master of Science degree in Chemistry and the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies on European Integration from Gdansk University. She is married and has one child. 

    Equatorial Guinea becomes the 116th Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury
    On 24 December 2019, the Government of Equatorial Guinea deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 116th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Equatorial Guinea becomes the 116th Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury

    Equatorial Guinea becomes the 116th Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury

    On 24 December 2019, the Government of Equatorial Guinea deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 116th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Applying for funding through the Special Programme
    The fourth round of applications was launched on 29 November 2019 in the margins of Minamata Convention third Conference of the Parties. The deadline for the submission of applications has been extended to Friday 4 September 2020.

    Applying for funding through the Special Programme

    Applying for funding through the Special Programme

    The fourth round of applications for the Special Programme was open on 29 November 2019 in the margins of the COP3. In light of the current COVID-19 situation, the Executive Board of the Special Programme has made the decision to extend the deadline for the submission of applications to Friday 4 September 2020.

    Download the project application form, project budget form and the project application guidelines.

    The Special Programme e-learning platform is available to assist Governments with the process of completing a Special Programme application based on the project application guidelines.

    The Special Programme aims to support institutional strengthening at the national level for implementation of the Minamata convention, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. For more information visit the Special Programme website.

    2020: Time to phase out mercury-added products has arrived
    Parties to the Minamata Convention are to phase out the use of products which contain mercury and to promote alternatives.

    2020: Time to phase out mercury-added products has arrived

    2020: Time to phase out mercury-added products has arrived
    • By 2020 the manufacture, import and export of mercury-added products is no longer allowed.
    • Parties agreed to advance the a framework to monitor the effectiveness of the Convention in order to strengthen its implementation
    • The Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury took place from 25 to 29 November in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Geneva, 29 November 2019 - Parties to the Minamata Convention renewed their commitment to phasing out the use of products which contain mercury and to promote alternatives at the Third Conference of the Parties, that closed today in Geneva after a one-week meeting from 26 to 29 November 2019. Delegates representing 113 parties decided to undertake the review regarding the reduction on the use of mercury in manufactured products. Parties also agreed on how to use custom codes for mercury-added products that would permit to gather reliable information and therefore facilitate the control of trade in products containing mercury.

    Mercury-added products have their days numbered. By 2020 the manufacture, import and export of batteries, switches, fluorescent lamps, cosmetics, pesticides, barometers and thermometers that do not meet agreed criteria is no longer allowed. The good news is that a wide range of safe and high-functioning alternatives to mercury-containing products have been developed. Thus, it’s just a matter of time before mercury-free alternatives fully replace their more toxic counterparts.

    As it was emphasized during the opening session on Monday, the road map for effectiveness evaluation agreed at the second meeting of the Parties resulted now in a framework, which will help in defining how effective the Convention is by 2023.

    “This COP has a key role to play in establishing the framework for the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention, set for 2023. Strengthening legal frameworks and institutional capacity is also a basic requirement for the implementation of the Convention”, said Inger Andersen, the UN Environment Executive Director.

    In the same line, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Rossana Silva Repetto, admitted that “it is our common wish that the results of such evaluation reflect that our convention is proving to be effective. For this to happen, we need to work on the implementation of the convention at all levels in order to yield the fruits that indicate, in the data that will be collected, that we are on the right path towards attaining the objective that you, yourselves established for the Minamata Convention”.

    Meanwhile, Parties have an obligation to submit their first national reports by December 2019 on the measures they have taken to implement a number of provisions of the Convention, on the effectiveness of such measures and on possible challenges in meeting the objectives of the Convention, as was agreed at the first meeting.

    Other key decisions adopted at the Minamata COP3 include the programme of work and budget for the biennium 2020-2021, terms of reference for the Implementation and Compliance Committee, guidance on the management of contaminated sites, releases and waste thresholds. Parties reiterated their wish to continue to enhance cooperation with international organizations in areas of relevance to the Convention, towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

    Donors announced voluntary contributions to the Specific International Programme to support capacity building and technical assistance, which is one of the components of the financial mechanism of the convention, the other one being the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

    COP3 has also been the opportunity for consolidating the substantial progress made so far at the previous COPs. At the first and second meetings, the COP took decisions that were key for the ongoing implementation of the Convention. Several guidance documents were adopted in relation to trade, best available techniques and best environmental practices in relation to emissions, and artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) National Action Plans (NAPs).

    The events at the COP included a special session on mercury science highlighting the linkage between policy and science. Among the other 26 side events broader issues were discussed such as the linkages between chemicals management and biodiversity, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, trade, contaminated sites, chemicals and waste management beyond 2020, and global community’s efforts to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of mercury.

    Since the convention entered into force in 2017, meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury have been held during a one-week period every year in late September (COP1) or November (COP2 and COP3) at the seat of the Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. From now, next COPs will be convened every two years. 2021 will be the turn of Indonesia to host the fourth Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention in Bali, to keep making mercury history.


    NOTE FOR EDITORS

    About the Minamata Convention

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the most recent global agreement on environment and health, adopted in 2013. It is named after the bay in Japan where, in the mid-20th century, mercury-tainted industrial wastewater poisoned thousands of people, leading to severe health damage that became known as the “Minamata disease”. Since it entered into force on 16 August 2017, 113 Parties have been working together to control the mercury supply and trade, reduce the use, emission and release of mercury, raise public awareness, and build the necessary institutional capacity.

    While mercury is naturally occurring, it is also a by-product of a number of industrial processes and can be found in many everyday objects, including batteries, dental amalgam, thermometers and fluorescent lamps. Once released to the atmosphere, soil and water - often through coal burning, and artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) - mercury bioaccumulates in fish, animals and humans, posing a serious threat to human health and the environment. Through the Minamata Convention the international community can tackle the entire life cycle of mercury.

     

    About the UN Environment Programme

    UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

    Speeches

    Online resources

    For more information contact: Anna García, Communications Officer of the Minamata Convention
    Email: anna.garcia@un.org; Telephone: +41 22 917 31 11; Cel: +41 79 39 11 736

    COP3 Photos and videos
    Here you will find videos and pictures covering the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3) taking place from 25 to 29 November 2019 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

    COP3 Photos and videos

    COP3 Photos and videos

    Here you will find videos and pictures covering the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3) taking place from 25 to 29 November 2019 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Article 3: Mercury supply sources and trade
    Explore what we know on mercury trade in this interactive story.

    Article 3: Mercury supply sources and trade

    Article 3: Mercury supply sources and trade

    Effects of mercury poisoning can be devastating, with symptoms including seizures, memory, vision and hearing loss, and development disorders. Explore mercury's trade routes in this interactive story

    COP3 begins with a call to strengthen implementation for the effectiveness of the Convention
    The meeting was opened yesterday at CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, with the presence of representatives from the Convention’s parties.

    COP3 begins with a call to strengthen implementation for the effectiveness of the Convention

    COP3 begins with a call to strengthen implementation for the effectiveness of the Convention

    The meeting was opened yesterday at CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, with the presence of representatives from the Convention’s parties.


    The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury opens in Geneva, Switzerland

    With a call to strengthen implementation for the effectiveness of the Convention with the aim to protect the human health and the environment, the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury opened today at CICG in Geneva, Switzerland. This event brings together parties’ representatives, non-parties governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN bodies and NGOs to review the progress and challenges related to implementing the Convention in the world. Around one thousand participants are already confirmed to attend this meeting.

    At the opening ceremony, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, empathized the work already achieved by the 113 Parties to the Convention to respond to mercury pollution and the need to keep moving, adopting the necessary documents for the effective implementation of the Convention.

    “Everyone on the planet is exposed to mercury at some level – whether through the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the cosmetics that we use. Only concerted, united action through this Convention and all of its allies can stop this toxic heavy metal endangering human and environmental health”, she stated.

    The UN Environment Executive Director was joined by Marc Chardonnens, State Secretary of the Swiss Federal Office for Environment as host of the Minamata Secretariat; David Kapindula (Zambia), current President of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and Rossana Silva Repetto, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention.

    “It is my sincere hope that we will reach universal ratification for the Minamata Convention. However, this alone will not guarantee that we make mercury history. A resolute implementation and the capacities to do so are key for actual change in practice. Moreover, in order to be sure that our convention works well, we will have to check on its effectiveness.” Chardonnens emphasized.

    In the same line, the Convention’s most senior representative, Rossana Silva Repetto stressed that “the adoption of the convention is not the end but the beginning, the point of departure of a new time line, the time line that started in 2013 when the international community united and with one voice showed its determination to address the negative effects of mercury through a convention on mercury”.

    Finally, the President of the COP, David Kapindula, highlighted the challenging agenda of the meeting and the need to make an effort in reaching consensus on key issues that are critical for the long-term success of the treaty. “I hope that you share my concern that we must avoid building a legacy of unresolved issues that will adversely affect our ability to achieve the objective set out in Article 1 of the Convention. And I look forward to your support and cooperation in making this, our third meeting, truly a success”, he stated and declared the third meeting of the COP open.

    Back to Minamata victims

    The Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention took a moment to remember the victims of the Minamata disease by showing a wooden doll sculped by a Japanese victim, Mr. Masami Ogata. These dolls have no eyes, no nose and no mouth, because he wants that everyone completes them with their heart. Masami’s message is that the international community cannot afford a repetition of the Minamata tragedy in other parts of the world, that it is necessary to learn from the past and look to the future.

    "We are Masami’s messengers! This is what we are all doing here, putting eyes, nose and mouth to Masami’s Kokeshi dolls, committing to deploy all our efforts and energy to attain the objective of the Minamata Convention, to help Masami’s dream become true, a world without the Minamata disease! A world that has left mercury and its negative effects behind, a world where mercury is history!", Rossana Silva expressed.

    During the opening ceremony, Koichiro Matsunaga, a victim of the Minamata disease gave a moving speech on behalf of the Minamata disease patients.  “I came here to protect future children. Mercury affects the brain (…) I know that we, human being, make mistakes. But we must have a strong will to stop making mistakes when we realize it. Many children in the future will suffer like me if we fail to take appropriate control on mercury now. Please do not repeat what happened in Minamata in your country”, Matsunaga pointed out.

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury is named after the bay in Japan where, in the mid-20th century, mercury-tainted industrial wastewater poisoned thousands of people, leading to severe health damage that became known as the “Minamata disease”. Since it entered into force on 16 August 2017, 113 parties have been working together to control the mercury supply and trade, reduce the use, emission and release of mercury, raise public awareness, and build the necessary institutional capacity. Through the Minamata Convention the international community can tackle the entire life cycle of mercury.

    Development of the meeting

    At the plenary sessions, the official meeting documents will be discussed for the COP to make decisions on matters such as the framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention, the adoption of technical guidance documents, and the work programme and budget of the secretariat for the biennium 2020-2021. The complete list of documents can be found on the COP3 webpage. The main topics that the Parties to the Convention will discuss are

    • Effectiveness evaluation of the Convention
    • Mercury-added products and manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used
    • Mercury waste, in particular the consideration of relevant thresholds
    • Financial mechanism
    • Implementation and Compliance Committee
    • Capacity-building, technical assistance and technological transfer
    • Venue and date of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties

    The meeting’s official activities also include 26 side events and knowledge labs that will discuss broader issues such as the linkages between chemicals management and biodiversity, chemicals and waste management beyond 2020, and global community’s efforts to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of mercury, among others.

    The meeting will play a critical role in the future of the Convention, which aims at protecting the human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, a highly toxic heavy metal considered by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 chemicals of major public health concern.

    One week is ahead to work hard and #MakeMercuryHistory

    References

    The full COP3 schedule, along with general information on the meeting is available on the COP3 dedicated webpage.

    You will be able to follow the development of the event on the:

    Speeches

    Queries regarding press coverage of the event must be made to the Communications Officer of the Minamata Convention, Anna García, Email anna.garcia@un.org; Telephone: +41 79 39 11736.

    Republic of Korea brings to 115 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
    On 22 November 2019, the Government of the Republic of Korea deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 115th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Republic of Korea brings to 115 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    Republic of Korea brings to 115 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

    On 22 November 2019, the Government of the Republic of Korea deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 115th Party to the Minamata Convention.

    Media advisory
    Expected highlights from the third meeting of the conference of the parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

    Media advisory

    Media advisory

    Expected highlights from the third meeting of the conference of the parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

    Why mercury still poses important threats to human health
    Mercury poisoning has dangerous and sometimes irreversible effects, and while unborn babies are most vulnerable, anyone can suffer. Read more

    Why mercury still poses important threats to human health

    Why mercury still poses important threats to human health

    Mercury poisoning has dangerous and sometimes irreversible effects, and while unborn babies are most vulnerable, anyone can suffer. Read more

    Many products still contain mercury. These alternatives could replace them
    A wide range of safe and high-functioning alternatives to mercury-containing products have been developed. Thanks to the Minamata Convention it’s just a matter of time before mercury-free alternatives fully replace them. Read more

    Many products still contain mercury. These alternatives could replace them

    Many products still contain mercury. These alternatives could replace them

    A wide range of safe and high-functioning alternatives to mercury-containing products have been developed. Thanks to the Minamata Convention it’s just a matter of time before mercury-free alternatives fully replace them. Read more

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