cop4

Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4)

Virtual, 01 Nov 2021 - 05 Nov 2021
Meeting Information

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Bureau of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury decided, at its fifth meeting held on 14 April 2021, to organize COP-4 in two segments: a first segment to be conducted online within the period of 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment to be conducted in-person in the first quarter of 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.

Read the full communication on the update on the format from COP4 President Rosa Vivien Ratnawati and Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz: official letter and tentative schedule here.

The COP-4 bureau agreed that the regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP4 would be held online. The list of dates and further details can be found here.

An open call for proposals for official side events opened on Monday, 13 September 2021 and will close on Wednesday, 06 October 2021. More details and application form can be found here.

During COP-3, the Conference of the Parties elected Rosa Vivien Ratnawati (Indonesia) as the President of COP-4. Rosa Vivien Ratnawati is the Director-General for Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Substances Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia. Since 2018, she has actively participated in all the meetings and negotiations at the BRS (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm) Conventions and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. In November 2019, she was appointed as the President of the COP-4 Minamata Convention on Mercury. You can read her full biography here.

Regarding the review of Annexes A and B, the following amendments have been proposed ahead of COP-4:

Documents
Newsroom
Intersessional Work

Intersessional work and Submissions for COP4

At its third meeting, the Conference of the Parties agreed on a number of action items to effectively implement the Minamata Convention and prepare for the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be held in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia from 1 to 5 November 2021. In some areas, submissions are invited by parties and other stakeholders, while in other areas submissions are expected through the members of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties. The details of calls for information can be found in the Executive Secretary’s letter dated 13 December 2019 and its attachment. In view of the coronavirus pandemic situation, some of the deadlines have been extended as explained below.

An overview of the calendar of the meetings planned for COP4 intersessional period is available here.

Review of annexes A and B

COP3 decided to establish an ad hoc group of experts on the review of annexes A and B to the Convention, to prepare a document in which it will enrich and organize the information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives referred to in the submissions from the Parties.

1. Information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives

Parties were invited to submit information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives as set out in (a) and (b) below by 31 March 2020.

(a) Information on mercury-added products and on the availability, technical and economic feasibility, and environmental and health risks and benefits of non-mercury alternatives to mercury-added products, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 4 of the Convention;

(b) Information on processes that use mercury or mercury compounds and, on the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of mercury-free alternatives to manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 5.

The following submissions have been received. Submissions received by 15 April will also be posted below. Further submissions will be accepted until July 31 (see point 3 below). Templates for submissions agreed by the ad hoc group of experts are available here. Parties are recommended to use these templates for further submissions.

Non-parties and others were invited to provide further information on the use of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives referred to in the submissions by the Parties by 30 April 2020. The following submissions have been received by 15 May. Further submissions will be accepted until July 31 (see point 3 below). Templates for submissions agreed by the ad hoc group of experts are available here. Non-parties and others are recommended to use these templates for further submissions.

2. Measures or strategies implemented by Parties

Parties that notified the Secretariat at the time of their becoming a Party to the Convention that they would implement various measures or strategies to address products listed in part I of Annex A to the Convention are to report on the measures or strategies they have implemented, including a quantification of the reductions achieved by 30 June 2020. The following submission was received.

3. Work of the ad hoc group of experts

Parties were invited to nominate members of the ad hoc group of experts through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. The list of nominated members is available here.

The group had its first on-line meeting on 7 May. The group decided to receive submissions of information from Parties, non-parties and other stakeholders until 31 July 2020.  The group will continue to discuss further plans including the invitation of observers at the next on-line meeting.

At its second on-line meeting on 3 June, the group decided to hold separate group-calls on different categories of products and processes, covering all categories included in Annexes A and B. The group will discuss details on how to arrange these group-calls at the next meeting. Observers will be invited to respective group-calls, and the secretariat will reach out to selected observers.

At its third on-line meeting on 1 July, the group discussed about the schedule of work including arrangements of separate group-calls. The group will meet again in mid-July to further discuss about the detailed schedule of work.

Online information sessions were held on 7 July 2020 to present the progress of the intersessional work including review of Annexes A and B and to call for submission of information. The presentation from the Secretariat and recorded video of the session are available here.

4. Outcome of the work of the group of experts (30 April 2021)

The following report summarizes the outcome of the work of the ad hoc group of experts on review of Annexes A and B.

The submitted and supplemented information, organized in a tabular format indicating the sources of information, is presented in the following compilation documents. As of 30 April 2021, by which the report on the work of the group was due, some additional information on mercury-added products, particularly on lamps, was still to be provided by experts or to be incorporated into the documents. The group will further work to organize such additional information into the compilation document by 30 June 2021, which will be made available to the Conference of the Parties as an information document. (Updated on 24 August 2021)

Dental amalgam

COP3 encouraged Parties to take more than the two required measures in accordance with part II of Annex A to the Convention to phase down the use of dental amalgam, and requested the Secretariat to collect information on the implementation of any such additional measures taken by Parties.

In addition, it requested the Secretariat to collect from Parties and others information pursuant to paragraph 7, Article 4 of the Convention, i.e. information including that related to the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of the non-mercury alternatives to the product.

  1. Information on the implementation of any additional measures taken by Parties

Parties are invited to provide information on the implementation of any additional measures taken in accordance with part II of Annex A to the Convention by 31 January 2021.

Submissions from governments
  1. Information on non-mercury alternatives to dental amalgam

Parties and others were invited to provide information including that related to the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of the non-mercury alternatives to dental amalgam by 1 July 2020. The following submissions have been received.Upon the request from some Parties, the deadline for this submission has been extended until 15 August 2020.

Submissions on the review of Annexes A and B from Argentina and Colombia, available above, also contain information on dental amalgam

Submissions from governments
Submissions from other organisations

Customs codes

COP3 requested the Secretariat to continue its work in collaboration with the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership Mercury in Products Partnership area and involving relevant experts to;

(a) Draft a guidance document that includes:

(i) For the mercury-added products listed in Annex A to the Convention, a list of possible customs nomenclature codes of more than six digits that could be used by Parties;

(ii) For mercury-added products not listed in Annex A to the Convention, a compilation of examples provided by national experts of customs nomenclature codes of more than six digits currently in use by Parties; and

(iii) Examples of good practice where the use of customs nomenclature codes at the national level has been supplemented by the use of other control tools for the purpose of implementing trade provisions, such as those found in Article 4 to the Convention.

(b) Provide an assessment of whether the subsequent development of six-digit harmonized codes would be a useful complement to the outcome of the work undertaken under (a) (i) above for the mercury-added products listed in Annex A or under (a) (ii) above for mercury-added products not listed in Annex A. The assessment shall, where possible, include several examples of the use of such codes for both listed and unlisted mercury-added products, taking into account experience concerning such codes under other international environmental conventions.

Parties, non-parties and other stakeholders including relevant organisations were invited to identify experts familiar with the use of national customs codes to participate in the open-ended process by 29 February 2020. Two nomination have been received.

Identified experts were invited to submit information relevant for the work related to (a) (i)-(iii) above by 31 March 2020. The following submissions have been received from nominated experts. The Secretariat will work with the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership - Mercury in Products Partnership area to collect more information from parties and stakeholders.

A draft guidance document on the use of customs codes under the Minamata Convention has been developed as described above in response to Decision MC-3/3 on Customs codes and posted below on 18 June 2021.

Parties and other stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the draft, including any additional information on point (a) (i)-(iii) above, by 19 July 2021 to: mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org" target="_blank"> mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org. The guidance document will be submitted as a COP-4 document.

Releases of mercury

COP3 requested the group of technical experts to continue to work by electronic means, with the possibility of one face-to-face meeting, in line with the road map set out in annex II to document UNEP/MC/COP.3/6, to produce a report including draft guidance on the methodology for preparing inventories of releases, the proposed categories of point sources of releases and a road map for the development of guidance on best available techniques and best environmental practices.

Parties were invited to confirm the current members of the group of technical experts, nominate new members or replace members as appropriate, through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. Bureau members have been informed that the Secretariat will wait for the nominations until 15 April. The list of nominated members and observers is available here. Parties and other stakeholders were invited to submit existing information on the calculation of releases and on other methodologies for the estimation of releases from the source categories identified in UNEP/MC/COP.3/6. The following submissions have been received.

The group of technical experts works on-line to develop a report including draft guidance on the methodology for preparing inventories of releases, the proposed categories of point sources of releases and a road map for the development of guidance on best available techniques and best environmental practices. The group agreed to post the draft general guidance for release inventories (PDF), noting that it will be updated after agreeing on the list of point source categories.

The draft report to be submitted to COP-4 (PDF and Word versions) was posted on the web on 25 June 2021. Please note that the group of technical experts is still to further discuss some wording, such as the reference to wastewater in the table of relevant release categories, at its meeting after the commenting period. Parties and other stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the draft by 23 July 2021 to: mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org . The draft will be revised taking into account the comments received, and submitted as a COP-4 document.

Mercury waste thresholds

COP3 requested the group of technical experts to work further on thresholds for mercury wastes falling under subparagraph 2(c) of Article 11. It also requested the Secretariat, in cooperation with the ASGM partnership area, to seek comments from Parties and other stakeholders to improve the guidance on the preparation of national action plans for ASGM regarding management of tailings from such mining, with a view to presenting a revised version of the guidance for consideration and possible adoption by COP4.

Parties were invited to confirm the current members of the group of technical experts, nominate new members or replace members as appropriate, through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. Bureau members have been informed that the Secretariat will wait for the nominations until 15 April. The list of nominated members and observers is available here. The group had its first on-line meeting on 12 May.

COP3 encouraged the parties and other stakeholders to contribute to the process of updating the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with mercury or mercury compounds by providing comments on the draft updated guidelines when invited to do so. The draft guidelines are available on the website of the Basel Convention as an information document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.12/INF/13 for the 12th Open-Ended Working Group of the Convention, for comments until 31 July 2020.

Parties and other stakeholders are invited to provide comments to improve the guidance on the preparation of national action plans for ASGM regarding management of tailings from such mining by 1 November 2020.

Effectiveness evaluation

COP3 adopted decision MC-3/10: Arrangements for the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Secretariat has developed an overview of the provisions of the Convention and the guidance by the COP on effectiveness evaluation.

Work on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention

Decision MC-3/10 includes the provisions on intersessional work on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention included in annex I to the decision. Parties are invited to submit views on the indicators and the Secretariat is requested to compile those views in advance of COP-4. In consultation with the COP-4 Bureau, the Secretariat has prepared a plan on the modalities and timeline for providing and receiving commenting to assist parties in their work.

In line with the plan of work, an information session on proposed indicators was held on Thursday 17 September.

As next step in the plan of work, Parties and stakeholders were invited to submit initial views and responses to the Secretariat on the proposed indicators by 30 November 2020. All submissions received to date are collated in this online work space for indicators for consideration.

According to the plan of work, the Secretariat facilitated an exchange session on the received initial views and responses on Tuesday, 2 February (to present submissions and views), and on Thursday, 4 February (to reflect on submissions and views). To further support Parties in their consideration of the proposed indicators, the Secretariat was requested to prepare a compilation of the initial views submitted. The Secretariat also prepared a note on information resources as supplementary information.

Parties requested the Secretariat to facilitate an additional exchange session, which was held on Thursday, 4 March (13:00 to 15:00 Geneva time). All materials for consideration are accessible at the above mentioned online workspace. This additional exchange session was to enable clarifications on the views and responses submitted, additional questions that may have arisen, and other relevant information sharing and exchange on the proposed indicators. This opportunity to further exchange was also to assist Parties in their formal preparation of their views, as requested by MC-3/10. The deadline for submission to the Secretariat of views of Parties was Wednesday, 31 March 2021. 

Development of the guidance on monitoring to support the effectiveness evaluation

COP-3 requested the Secretariat to advance the work to support the effectiveness evaluation by securing services for drafting, among others, guidance on monitoring to maintain harmonized, comparable information on mercury levels in the environment (MC‑3/10). According to this mandate, the Secretariat has prepared a roadmap for developing the guidance on monitoring. The timeline in the roadmap has been updated taking into account comments by the COP-4 Bureau.

In line with the roadmap, the Secretariat has developed a draft annotated outline of the monitoring guidance and held information sessions in June 2020 to discuss the development of the guidance. Subsequently, Parties and stakeholders were invited to identify experts to contribute to the drafting of the guidance, and three consultants were engaged by the Secretariat to draft chapters on mercury monitoring in air, biota and human biomonitoring.

The first webinar among the identified experts and consultants was held on 15 September 2020, and the final annotated outline of the guidance was developed taking into account the comments received. Further thematic online meetings were convened from September 2020 to March 2021 to develop the guidance.

As a result of the process, the Secretariat, working with the consultants and supported by the experts identified by Parties and stakeholders, developed a first draft of the guidance which was made available for comments by Parties and relevant stakeholders on 15 April 2021. Following further revisions and consultations with experts, a second draft and supplementary material are now open for comments by Parties and stakeholders. Those wishing to submit comments are invited to use the and template available for this purpose and submit it to mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org by 31 July 2021.

Parties and relevant stakeholders may identify additional experts and inform the mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org (Secretariat). Earlier drafts of the guidance and comments are stored in the online workspace.

Work on other reports for effectiveness evaluation

The decision also requests the Secretariat to advance the work by securing services for drafting a trade, supply and demand report, which includes mercury waste flows and stocks, and an Article 21 synthesis report. While some initial work on a trade report is foreseen for the second half of 2020, most of the work is foreseen for 2021 (funding from the General Trust Fund is provided for 2021). Work has begun on the Article 21 Synthesis report following the submission of the first short national reports. The full national reports are due 31 December 2021, the outcome of which will feed directly into the Article 21 Synthesis report.

Gender

The third Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (25-29 November 2019, Geneva, Switzerland) decided to include gender as a focus area of the Convention’s Programme of Work for the biennium 2020—2021 (Activity 13). Thanks to the generous financial support of Sweden, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention has undertaken to develop a gender roadmap with the objective of mainstreaming gender within its programme of work.

The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is inviting Parties and interested stakeholders to submit, by December 13th, 2020, scientific, technical and policy information on gender and mercury following the indications on the Call for information on Gender and Mercury.

Information on integrating gender into national policies, plans, and actions, as well as material of a scientific or technical nature is sought, including studies, webinars and videos that explore: 

  • the impacts of mercury exposure on vulnerable groups, such as women and children;
  • gender-differentiated relationships in producing, using, working with, or otherwise engaging with mercury;
  • advocacy around controlling use and exposures;
  • gender relationship across all sectors – mining, energy, manufacturing processes, consumer products, such as cosmetics and other mercury-added products, and mercury waste management.

Previous intersessional work


Agenda

Check the overview schedule in PDF format here.

NOTE: To support working conditions especially for an online setting the working times of the COP seek to take account of global time zones. Sessions ought to take place in the planned allocated time/Sessions ought not to exceed planned allocated time.

Official Meeting
13:00 - 15:00

CET

Virtual

Item 1: Opening of the meeting

Item 2: Organizational matters

  • (a) Adoption of the agenda
  • (b) Organization of work
  • (d) Report on the credentials of representatives to the meeting

Item 6: Programme of work and budget

15:30 - 17:30

CET

Virtual

Item 7: Dates of the resumed fourth meeting; venue and dates of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties

Item 4: Matters for consideration or action by the Conference of the Parties

  • (i) Effectiveness evaluation
13:00 - 15:00

CET

Virtual | Closed meeting
15:30 - 17:30

CET

Virtual | Closed meeting
Side Event
11:15 - 12:15

CET

17:45 - 18:45

CET

11:15 - 12:15

CET

17:45 - 18:45

CET

11:15 - 12:15

CET

17:45 - 18:45

CET

Regional meetings

Regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP-4

Similar to the segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4) which will be held online from 1 to 5 November 2021, in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the COP-4 bureau agreed that the regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP-4 would be held online. The one-day online meetings will be organized in September‐ October 2021, with interpretation provided in 3 regions. The objective of the meetings is to give Parties in the regions the possibility to hear briefings, exchange views and consult each other on the items of the provisional agenda to be considered during the online segment of COP-4. The programmes of the online regional preparatory meetings were prepared in close cooperation with the bureau members of the concerned regions.

The dates of the online regional preparatory meetings in 2021 are, as follows:

Participants are invited to consult the meeting documents of the online segment of COP-4 in advance of the online regional preparatory meetings. For any questions related to the meetings, please contact Lara Ognibene at lara.ognibene [at] un.org and mea-minamatameetings [at] un.org.

The online regional preparatory meetings are being organized thanks to the generous financial support provided by the Government of Switzerland.

Information for Participants

Pre-registration for the Minamata COP-4 online segment, including submission of the required documentation, should be completed by Friday, 1 October 2021.

Registration platform

Focal points from governments and accredited organizations have received an e-mail containing an exclusive link, through which they can pre-register their delegation in the online system.

They must assign the role for each delegate, as appropriate and as outlined in the invitation letter.

Please make sure to send the official letter of nomination to complete the online registration, addressed to the Executive Secretary, by e-mail as a scanned attachment to: MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.

Once the Secretariat receives the official letter, the pre-registered participant(s) will be validated. Designated speakers and viewers will receive their respective login credentials a few days before the start of the meeting.

The platform used for online participants' registration and management (Kronos) was developed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This system is also used by other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) like CITES and the Ozone Secretariat.

For a step-by-step information on the registration process please check the Online Registration User Guide.

Meeting Platform

The plenary sessions of the online segment of COP-4 will take place on the Interprefy platform. To ensure that the platform functions well during the plenary sessions, all delegations and accredited organizations will be required to identify one spokesperson who may take the floor, while other representatives will be directed to participate in the meeting through the live stream link.

Parties and governments

An official nomination letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a note verbale from the Permanent Mission of the party to the United Nations Office at Geneva will be required for pre-registration. Please send pre-registration documents to MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.

Nominations can be submitted specifically for participation in the online segment of COP-4. Alternatively, they can be submitted for participation in both the online and the in-person segments of the meeting.

Once the Conference of the Parties has agreed on the dates of the in-person segment, an invitation letter specific to the in-person segment will be sent. Parties will then be able to nominate representatives to the in-person segment, or to submit updated nominations for the in-person segment as needed if nominations were previously sent for both segments.

Credentials of parties

In order to take part in decision-making at the meeting, parties must be accredited. Credentials for the head of delegation, alternate representatives and advisers are issued either by the Head of State or Government or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I n the case of a regional economic integration organization, credentials should be issued by the competent authority of that organization. Information regarding any change in the composition of the delegation should be submitted using the same procedure.

Samples of credentials are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Parties are invited to submit original or electronic versions of credentials by Monday, 4 October 2021 to facilitate the clearance process. Considering the exceptional circumstances of the online segment, if credentials have not been submitted by 4 October 2021, electronic copies of credentials must be submitted by email no later than 6 p.m. Geneva time (UTC + 2) on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.

The COP-4 Bureau, at its meeting of 16 June 2021, agreed on its approach for preparing the report on credentials for the two segments of COP-4. Bureau members agreed that if copies of credentials in good order were submitted instead of originals, they would accept such copies with the understanding that the originals would be submitted as soon as possible thereafter.

Credentials can be submitted specifically for the online segment of COP-4. Alternatively, they can be submitted to cover both segments of the meeting.

Once the dates of the in-person segment are agreed on by COP-4, an invitation letter specific to the in-person segment will be sent. Parties will then be able to submit credentials for their representatives for the in-person segment, or update the credentials for their representatives for the in-person segment as needed if credentials were previously sent for both segments.

Original credentials should be sent to:

The Executive Secretary
Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
United Nations Environment Programme
Avenue de la Paix 8-14, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Electronic copies of credentials can be sent to MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.

Observers

As per paragraph 6 of Article 23 of the Minamata Convention, any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, that is qualified in matters covered by the Convention and has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties as an observer may be admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object.

If your Organization wishes to attend the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, pre-registration for each participant should be submitted at your earliest convenience and no later than 1 October 2021.

Organizations who were approved to participate in the first, second and third meetings of the Conference of the Parties do not need to resubmit their application for admission. The list of these organizations can be found in documents UNEP/MC/COP.1/INF/16, UNEP/MC/COP.2/INF/19 and UNEP/MC/COP.3/INF/27.

Other Organizations should submit to the secretariat by e-mail: MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org ( ) , at least two months prior to the opening of the meeting, an application for admission as an observer at meetings of the Conference of the Parties, including information demonstrating it is qualified in matters covered by the Convention. The secretariat will screen the applications to check their completeness and conformity with the requirements of the Convention.

Successful applications will be submitted to the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Further information with regard to the participation of observers in meetings of the Conference of the Parties may be found at: mercuryconvention.org/Meetings/Observers and through the invitation letter to the Minamata COP-4 sent to observers.