The Conference of the Parties had its fourth meeting online from 1 to 5 November 2021 and in-person from 21 to 25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, and agreed on a number of action items. The Executive Secretary sent a letter to Parties and observers on 13 April 2022 to call for information to follow up on these action items.
The progress on these action items can be found on the individual pages linked below. Links will be added as information becomes available.
As a crosscutting support to this intersessional process, particularly on decision MC-4/6 on mercury waste and MC-4/11 on effectiveness evaluation, the Secretariat issued a call for nomination of experts to a roster. This roster of scientific and technical experts is created with a view to facilitating the identification of experts to fulfill the need for different types of expertise to contribute to various processes established by the COP, as well as to support information exchange and research development under the Convention. The contributions from the roster of experts will be made through electronic means of communication. Scientific and technical experts may be nominated to the roster by parties or organizations on an ongoing basis and with no limit in the number of experts being nominated by each party or organization. Nominations from parties or organizations must be endorsed by national focal points or heads of organizations, respectively, be accompanied by the completed template and sent to mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org.
Review of and amendments to annexes A and B
Annexes A and B to the Convention provide for measures to be taken on mercury-added products and manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds is used.
Amendment of Annex A adopted at COP-4 in 2022
The Conference of the Parties (COP) decided, in its decision MC-4/3, to amend part I of Annex A to the Convention by adding the following mercury-added products, so that the manufacture, import and export of those products not be allowed after 2025:
- Compact fluorescent lamps with an integrated ballast (CFL.i) for general lighting purposes that are ≤ 30 watts with a mercury content not exceeding 5 mg per lamp burner
- Cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) and external electrode fluorescent lamps (EEFL) of all lengths for electronic displays, not included in the current listing
- Strain gauges to be used in plethysmographs;
- Melt pressure transducers, melt pressure transmitters and melt pressure sensors except those installed in large-scale equipment or those used for high precision measurement, where no suitable mercury-free alternative is available
- Mercury vacuum pumps
- Tire balancers and wheel weights
- Photographic film and paper
- Propellant for satellites and spacecraft.
COP-4 also agreed to amend part II of Annex A by adding the following provisions for dental amalgam;
- In addition, Parties shall:
- (i) Exclude or not allow, by taking measures as appropriate, the use of mercury in bulk form by dental practitioners;
- (ii) Exclude or not allow, by taking measures as appropriate, or recommend against the use of dental amalgam for the dental treatment of deciduous teeth, of patients under 15 years and of pregnant and breastfeeding women, except when considered necessary by the dental practitioner based on the needs of the patient.
Pursuant to Articles 26 and 27 of the Convention, the Secretary General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as Depositary, has issued a communication following the adoption of decision MC-4/3 “Review and amendment of annexes A and B to the Minamata Convention on Mercury". The communication, including the texts of the amended Annex A in the six UN official languages, was issued on 28 September 2022 and posted on the UN Treaty Collection website.
The entry into force date set in paragraph 3 (c) of Article 27 of the Convention will be 28 September 2023.
Review and amendment to be considered at COP-5
The COP-4 also decided to consider at its 5th meeting the phase-out dates in Part I of Annex A for the following categories:
- Button zinc silver oxide batteries with a mercury content < 2% and button zinc air batteries with a mercury content < 2%
- Very high accuracy capacitance and loss measurement bridges and high frequency radio frequency switches and relays in monitoring and control instruments with a maximum mercury content of 20 mg per bridge switch or relay [except those used for research and development purposes]
- Linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) for general lighting purposes:
- (a) Halophosphate phosphor ≤ 40 watts with a mercury content not exceeding 10 mg per lamp
- (b) Halophosphate phosphor > 40 watts.
- Linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) for general lighting purposes:
- (a) Triband phosphor < 60 watts with a mercury content not exceeding 5 mg/lamp
The COP also decided to further consider adding the production of polyurethane using mercury-containing catalysts to part I of Annex B at its 5th meeting, and requested the secretariat to compile information on the availability and technical and economic feasibility of mercury-free alternatives of the production of polyurethane using mercury-containing catalysts for submission to its 5th meeting.
Parties are invited to submit any information on these products and processes that will support the consideration by COP-5 by 31 December 2022.
Furthermore, the COP requested the secretariat to prepare a short report on the technical and economic feasibility of mercury-free alternatives for the two processes (vinyl chloride monomer and sodium or potassium methylate or ethylate) listed in Part II of Annex B that refer to the COP establishing such feasibility. Part II of Annex B to the Convention requires Parties not to allow the use of mercury five years after the COP has established that mercury-free processes have become technically and economically feasible.
Parties are invited to submit information on the availability and feasibility of non-mercury alternatives to these processes by 31 December 2022.
The following submissions have been received:
The Conference of the Parties (COP) requested the group of technical experts, in its decision MC-4/5, to develop the guidance on best available techniques and best environmental practices, in line with the road map contained in document UNEP/MC/COP.4/31, with a view to adopting the guidance pursuant to paragraph 7 of article 9 of the Convention at COP-5.
Parties and other stakeholders are invited to submit existing information on national regulations or industry practices relating to the control of mercury releases from relevant sources by 30 June 2022 (extended to 15 July). The following submissions have been received.
- European Union
- United States of America (updated August 2022)
- Compilation of submitted information
The list of members of the expert group can be found here. The group started working online in June 2022. The group elected Mr. Cristián Enrique Brito Martínez (Chile) and Ms. Bianca Hlobsile Mkhatshwa-Dlamini (Eswatini) as co-chairs.
The group has developed a first draft of the guidance as available from the link below, accompanied by technical reference materials. Parties and stakeholders are invited to provide comments and input to this draft, using the commenting form, to the secretariat by Friday 17 February 2023.
Mercury waste thresholds
The Conference of the Parties (COP) requested the group of technical experts, in its decision MC-4/6, to develop a report to recommend and facilitate a COP-5 decision on the thresholds for waste falling under subparagraph 2 (c) of article 11 (waste contaminated with mercury and mercury compounds). The group was also requested to develop a guidance document on test methods to be used for the tier-2 threshold (0.15 mg/L in leachate) for tailings from mining other than primary mercury mining.
Parties and other stakeholders have been invited to share information and data on the waste categories listed in the indicative list contained in Table 3 of decision MC-3/5, including with respect to any relevant national or local thresholds and their establishment, by 30 June 2022 (extended to 15 July). The following submissions have been received.
- European Union
- United States of America (updated August 2022)
- Compilation of submitted information
The list of members of the expert group can be found here. This list also includes experts nominated by Parties and other organizations into a roster to contribute to the work of the group. The group started to work online in June 2022, and elected Ms. Gabriela Denisia Vasiliu Isac (Romania) and Ms. Oluwatoyin Olabanji (Nigeria) as co-chairs.
As advised by the group, the secretariat issued a letter inviting submission of information on approaches other than a total mercury concentration approach, including risk-based considerations, by 24 November 2022. The following submissions were received:
The group will review the submissions through online meetings and at plans to have a face-to-face meeting, which will be held from 16 to 18 February 2023 in Geneva, back-to-back with the Open-Ended Working Group of the Basel Convention, thanks to the financial contribution from Japan.
Second review of the financial mechanism
The terms of reference for the second review of the financial mechanism are set forth in Decision MC-4/7, which invites parties, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders to submit information, consistent with the terms of reference for the review and organized by the listed performance criteria, on their experience gained through their interactions with the financial mechanism, as soon as possible and not later than 30 September 2022. Submissions should be emailed to mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org with copy to marianne.bailey [at] un.org.
The review covers the time period from August 2019 to July 2022. The listed performance criteria against which the effectiveness and efficiency of the financial mechanism will be assessed are as follows:
(a) Responsiveness of the Global Environment Facility and the Specific International Programme to the guidance adopted by or provided by the Conference of the Parties;
(b) Extent to which the projects funded by the financial mechanism have reduced, or are expected to reduce, the supply, use, emissions and releases of mercury, and deliver other benefits in terms of Convention implementation;
(c) Transparency and timeliness of the project approval processes;
(d) Simplicity, flexibility and expeditiousness of the procedures for accessing funds and for implementing and reporting on projects;
(e) Adequacy and sustainability of the available resources;
(f) Country ownership of activities funded by the financial mechanism;
(g) Level of stakeholder involvement;
(h) Any other significant issues raised by the parties.
Draft reporting guidance
In decision MC-4/8, the Conference of the Parties (COP) requests the secretariat to seek any additional comments from parties and other stakeholders on the draft reporting guidance prepared by the secretariat set out in UNEP/MC/COP.4.17, taking into account their experiences for completing the first full national reports (Reporting period: 16 August 2017 to 31 December 2020, for submittal by 31 December 2021).
The same decision sets the deadline for comments to reach the secretariat by Thursday, 15 December 2022. To facilitate the commenting process, the secretariat has prepared a version of the draft reporting guidance with line indication and a form for the additional comments. The comments are to be submitted to mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org, with a copy to claudia.tenhave [at] un.org.
The secretariat arranged a dedicated Minamata Online Season 3 session on Wednesday, 12 October 2022 from 13:00 to 14:00 Geneva time to introduce the comment form and related documents, and also to respond to any questions and needs for clarifications. The video recording and the full presentation of the session are made available here.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury pays specific attention to the needs of vulnerable populations, especially women and children, in several parts of its text.
Gender Action Plan
COP-4 decision MC-4/10 on gender mainstreaming invites Parties, inter alia, to support the secretariat in its efforts to mainstream gender into all activities to be undertaken by the secretariat as well as by parties and other stakeholders, including thorough the development of a gender action plan for the Minamata Convention during the biennium 2022‒2023.
Pursuant to decision MC-4/10, the secretariat is organizing online consultations for Parties and other stakeholders between September and November 2022 to receive input on a draft gender action, which was prepared by the secretariat thanks to the generous financial support of Sweden. A call for nominations to participate in this consultive process has been issued by the secretariat on 12 August 2022.
The draft gender action plan, incorporating the inputs received during the consultative process, is expected to be submitted for consideration by the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which is scheduled to take place from 30 October to 3 November 2023 in Geneva.
At the second segment of COP-4, the Conference of the Parties took note, in decision MC-4/10, of the gender road map of the Minamata Convention, developed by the secretariat in 2021 and submitted to the Conference of the Parties in working document MC/COP.4/22 on gender mainstreaming.
The roadmap is living document, which already incorporates inputs from parties. The Secretariat is looking forward to further collaborating with Parties and stakeholders to recognize the importance of this issue and welcomes the submission of additional comments and inputs on the roadmap.
Should you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact Lara Ognibene, Legal/Programme Officer and Gender Focal Point, at lara.ognibene [at] un.org.
First effectiveness evaluation
At its fourth meeting, the Conference of the Parties, in its decision MC-4/11, agreed to begin the first effectiveness evaluation of the Convention and adopted the framework for the effectiveness evaluation as outlined in annex I to the decision.
In accordance with the adopted framework, the work during the intersessional period focuses on the compilation of information and plans. The different work streams for the development of the plans are described below. This page will be updated on a regular basis.
Open-Ended Scientific Group (OESG)
In its decision MC-4/11, the COP established an Open-Ended Scientific Group (OESG) to work in line with its terms of reference outlined in Annex II to the decision. In accordance with its mandate for the current intersessional period, the OESG was tasked with the development of the following three plans:
- Plan for the Emissions and Releases Data Summary
- Plan for the Monitoring Data Compilation and Summary
- Plan for the Data Analysis based on the Monitoring Guidance
Each party may nominate one expert to become a member of the OESG. The list of members of the group nominated by parties is available here.
OESG held its first online meeting on 22 June 2022. During the meeting, the Group elected Mr. Dominique Bally (Ivory Coast) and Mr. Terry Keating (USA) as co-Chairs. Furthermore, the Group agreed to form teams to advance the drafting of the plans, and to invite experts from the roster and other stakeholder groups to join its future online meetings.
The second OESG meeting took place on 8 September 2022. Experts participating in the roster of scientific and technical experts were invited to join the meeting. OESG members and experts in the roster were invited to consider the zero draft of the plan for the Monitoring Data Compilation and Summary. Four drafting teams were tasked with further developing different sections of the draft plan.
The third and fourth meetings of the OESG will take place on 6 October and 3 November 2022, respectively. The OESG is expected to meet once during the intersessional period, tentatively in March/April 2023.
Plan for the Trade, Supply and Demand Report
In decision MC-4/11, the secretariat was tasked, among other things, with the development of the plan for the report on trade, supply and demand of mercury, including waste flows and stocks.
The process to develop the plan foresees at least two occasions, tentatively in late 2022 and first quarter of 2023, where parties and relevant organizations will be invited to review draft versions of the report on trade, supply and demand.
Below are the key steps taken in the development of the plan during the intersessional period:
26 August 2022: a letter from the Executive Secretary was sent to parties and relevant organizations inviting them to indicate one or more experts to contribute to the development of the report on trade, supply and demand. Parties and organizations may continue to identify experts to contribute to this process by contacting the secretariat at mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org.
16-30 September 2022: commenting period on the zero draft of the plan by experts who have been identified by parties and organizations to contribute to the process.
Indicators for the Effectiveness Evaluation Process
In decision MC-4/11, the Conference of the Parties (COP) requested the secretariat to support an intersessional process to refine the list of indicators to be used in the effectiveness evaluation, with a view to providing a final list of indicators for consideration and possible adoption by the COP at its fifth meeting.
To support the intersessional process to refine the list of indicators to be used, the secretariat has prepared a draft refined list of indicators for comment. The comments are to be submitted to mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org, with a copy to claudia.tenhave [at] un.org.
The secretariat arranged a dedicated Minamata Online session on Wednesday, 16 November 2022 from 13:00 to 14:00 Geneva time to introduce the draft refined list of indicators and related details for commenting. The secretariat will also be ready to respond to any questions and needs for clarification. Please sign up to join us for the dedicated Minamata Online session.