News from the 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.

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.

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.

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

Information session: The 2020 deadline for phasing out 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 subject to the Convention phase-out obligations. These include specific batteries, switches and relays, fluorescent lamps, cosmetics, pesticides, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other measuring devices where mercury or a mercury compound 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

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen will inaugurate COP3
The most senior authority from UNEP will travel to Geneva to open the global meeting, which will take place from 25 to 29 November 2019 at the International Conference Centre.

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen will inaugurate COP3

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen will inaugurate COP3

(Geneva, 12 November 2019) The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Inger Andersen, will participate in the opening session of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which will be held from 25 to 29 November 2019 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

More than one thousand participants – including parties’ representatives, non-parties governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN bodies and NGOs – are already confirmed to attend the gathering. Participants will meet to review progress and challenges regarding the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in the world.

At the official opening ceremony, which will take place on Monday, 25 November at 10 a.m., Inger Andersen will be joined by David Kapindula (Zambia), current President of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and Rossana Silva Repetto, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention.

The COP was convened during a one-week period in late September (2017 - COP1) and November (2018 – COP2) at the seat of the Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. On this occasion, Zambia will preside the third meeting. “This meeting is crucial to strengthen our ability to control mercury and create a safer environment for healthier current and future generations” David Kapindula, said.

During the plenary sessions, the official meeting documents will be discussed in order 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 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.

“It is an ambitious agenda that will allow the parties to agree on the next steps of the implementation of the Minamata Convention as deadlines for “phasing out” mercury-added products and the use of mercury and mercury compounds in manufacturing processes approach. I am convinced that the very committed parties to the Minamata Convention will agree on the various actions that are necessary to help the world address the most challenging mercury issues and attain the objective of the Convention”, Rossana Silva Repetto emphasized.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the most recent global Convention on environment and health, adopted in 2013. It is named after the place 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, 114 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.

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.

The full COP3 schedule, along with general information on the meeting and registration forms for participants and journalists, is available on the dedicated webpage: http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Meetings/COP3

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

Journalists who wish to cover the plenary sessions, side events and knowledge labs must register via this accreditation form following the requirements that are explained here.

 

What: Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

When: Monday, 25 November to Friday, 29 November 2019.

Who: Opening session (Monday, 25 November, 10 a.m.):

  • Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
  • David Kapindula (Zambia), President of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
  • Rossana Silva Repetto, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Where: Geneva International Conference Centre - Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG), Rue de Varembé 17, 1211, Geneva, Switzerland

 

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 22 917 31 11.

The Executive Secretary participates in Japan in the launch of a project to promote the implementation of the Convention
Seven years after the Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted in Kumamoto, Japan, the Executive Secretary of the Convention, Rossana Silva Repetto, visited Minamata City to participate in the launch of a project funded by Japan, to promote the implementation of the Convention.

The Executive Secretary participates in Japan in the launch of a project to promote the implementation of the Convention

The Executive Secretary participates in Japan in the launch of a project to promote the implementation of the Convention

Seven years after the Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted in Kumamoto, Japan, the Executive Secretary of the Convention, Rossana Silva Repetto, visited Minamata City to participate in the launch of a project funded by Japan, to promote the implementation of the Convention.

The launched project aims to utilize the experience and technology of mercury management in Japan, and to improve the national capacity in each country on inventory development and data analysis. Around 30 participants from 12 countries from the Asia-Pacific region were present.

Japanese newspapers Asahi Shimbun and Kumamoto Daily covered this story with the purpose to reinforce the importance of the Minamata Convention in protecting human life and the environment from the negative effects of mercury.

Côte d'Ivoire brings to 114 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
On 1 October 2019, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 114th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Côte d'Ivoire brings to 114 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

Côte d'Ivoire brings to 114 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

On 1 October 2019, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 114th Party to the Minamata Convention.

EU provides €500K for technical assistance and capacity building
To support the capacity building and technical assistance plan of the Minamata Convention, the European Union provided 500,000 euros for targeted support at the sub-regional level on mercury trade and mercury emissions.

EU provides €500K for technical assistance and capacity building

EU provides €500K for technical assistance and capacity building

With the contribution of 500,000 euros granted by the European Union for the 2019-2020 work programme, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury organised two workshops in October.

The first sub-regional workshop, on mercury trade, took place in La Paz, Bolivia, with the participation of Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru. The overall objective is to support these countries in the implementation of the Minamata Convention trade provisions.

The second sub-regional workshop, on mercury emissions, was held in Hanoï, Viet Nam. As part of the workshop, officials from major coal-using countries in Asia were invited to discuss the use of the guidance documents on best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP), the development of emission inventory, and the planning for policy measures including the use of BAT/BEP and/or the establishment of emission limits.

Both sub-regional workshops provided a platform to exchange information and perspectives on each country’s national circumstance, strengthen capacity building on challenges encountered, and explore solutions and approaches to strengthen the support to implement Minamata obligations at national and sub-regional levels.

The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention also prepared some studies, publications and information materials with the EU funding, like the edition and printing of the Guidance on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices and the reprint of the NAP Guidance document.

Specific International Programme: Ten projects approved in the Second Round
The Governing Board of the Specific International Programme met in Washington from 18-20 September and approved ten projects for close to 2 million dollars. Please read the statement by the Co-Chairs, Mr. Sam Adu-Kumi and Mr. Reggie Hernaus.

Specific International Programme: Ten projects approved in the Second Round

Specific International Programme: Ten projects approved in the Second Round

As Co-Chairs of the Governing Board of the Specific International Programme of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, we are very pleased to inform you that on Friday, 20 September 2019, the Board approved ten projects in the Second Round of the Programme amounting to close to two million dollars. Twenty applications had been submitted by Parties to the Second Round.

The successful projects were submitted by Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Moldova, Nigeria, Peru, Sri Lanka and Zambia.

On behalf of the Board, we would like to congratulate these applicants noting that each project successfully sets out to support capacity-building and technical assistance in support of the implementation of their obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

As with the First Round in 2018, the Board noted again in 2019 the high interest expressed by Parties in the Specific International Programme. Twenty applications were made to the Second Round with applications received from all regions, including from least developed countries and from small island developing states.

The Board would like to commend all the applicants, whether successful or not in the Second Round, for having prepared and submitted their applications.

Recognising the country needs expressed and the effort invested in the preparation of the applications, for applications that were not approved in this Second Round, the Board proposed a number of recommendations for the applicant to consider for submission to the Third Round. These recommendations will be sent by the Secretariat on behalf of the Board in due course.

The Board would like to sincerely thank Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States for their strong contributions to the Second Round of the Specific International Programme. The resource envelope available for the Second Round represented a doubling of funding, which allowed the Board to approve twice the number of projects in 2019 compared with 2018.

Given the high interest shown in the Programme and the country needs expressed, we hope to be in a position to launch the Third Round soon and in this regard would like to encourage those in a position to do so to contribute to a robust next round of the Programme.

The Board will present its full report to the Conference of the Parties at its third meeting in November 2019.

On behalf of the Board we would also like to thank the Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility for hosting the meeting at its premises in Washington D.C.

Sam Adu-Kumi (Ghana) and Reggie Hernaus (The Netherlands
Co-Chairs of the Governing Board of the Specific International Programme
Washington D.C., 20 September 2019

COP3 Participants Information
The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention will take place from 25 to 29 November 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The online platform for pre-registration is available until the 11 November 2019.

COP3 Participants Information

COP3 Participants Information

The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention will take place from 25 to 29 November 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • The online platform for pre-registration is available until the 11 November 2019.
Analysis of Minamata Initial Assessments presented at the ICMGP 2019
From the 8th to 13th September 2019 the international scientist community and policy makers met in Krakow, Poland at the 14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP 2019).

Analysis of Minamata Initial Assessments presented at the ICMGP 2019

Analysis of Minamata Initial Assessments presented at the ICMGP 2019

From the 8th to 13th September 2019 the international scientist community and policy makers met in Krakow, Poland at the 14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP 2019).

Under the theme of the ICMGP “Bridging knowledge on global mercury with environmental responsibility, human welfare and policy response”, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Rossana Silva-Repetto, delivered a plenary lecture on how the implementation of the Minamata Convention requires valuable inputs from the scientific community. She focused on the importance of integration and implementation of emerging and future mercury research into the policy making.

At this conference, the Minamata Convention secretariat presented an analysis of the national priorities from the Minamata Initial Assessments (MIA). In order to assist the countries in identifying priority areas in the implementation of the Minamata Convention, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supports the development of these assessments that are very helpful in identifying the capacity-building and technical assistance needs.

Currently, there are 39 completed reports available on the Convention website, of which 27 countries became parties during the implementation of their MIA. The main national priorities described in MIA reports are phasing-out mercury-added products (Article 4) and waste management (Article 11). Other major priority areas include artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM, Article 7), emissions (Article 8), releases (Article 9) and monitoring (Article 19).

During the following months further analysis will be done as more initial assessments become available. The results of the MIA analysis will be utilized to prepare the development of the capacity-building and technical assistance programme for 2020-2021. They will also form the basis of the Specific International Programme and other related activities.

Poster presentation

The Minamata secretariat also shared a poster about developing technical guidance for the implementation of the Minamata Convention, that in its COP3 will review aspects related to mercury-added products (Article 4 – Annex A), manufacturing processes (Article 5 – Annex B), releases (Article 9 - list of relevant sources), mercury waste (Article 11 - thresholds) and contaminated sites (Article 12 - Guidance).

The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention will take place from 25 to 29 November 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. More information can be find on its website.

Colombia brings to 113 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
On 26 August 2019, the Government of Colombia deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 113th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Colombia brings to 113 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

Colombia brings to 113 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

On 26 August 2019, the Government of Colombia deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 113th Party to the Minamata Convention.


Making Mercury History: The Minamata Convention celebrates its second anniversary
Two years ago, on 16 August 2017, the Minamata Convention came into force as a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from human-induced emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

Making Mercury History: The Minamata Convention celebrates its second anniversary

Making Mercury History: The Minamata Convention celebrates its second anniversary

Two years ago, on 16 August 2017, the Minamata Convention came into force as a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from human-induced emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.


Republic of the Congo brings to 112 the number of Parties to the Minamata Convention
On 6 August 2019, the Government of the Republic of the Congo deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 112th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Republic of the Congo brings to 112 the number of Parties to the Minamata Convention

Republic of the Congo brings to 112 the number of Parties to the Minamata Convention

On 6 August 2019, the Government of the Republic of the Congo deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 112th Party to the Minamata Convention.

Draft report on effectiveness evaluation comments received
The draft report of the ad hoc technical expert group was open for comment from 1 August to 5 September 2019. The draft report responds to the mandate of MC-1/9 and MC-2/20. View comments received.

Draft report on effectiveness evaluation comments received

Draft report on effectiveness evaluation comments received

The draft report of the ad hoc technical expert group was open for comment from 1 August to 5 September 2019. The draft report responds to the mandate of MC-1/9 and MC-2/20. View comments received.

COMOROS BRINGS TO 111 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION
On 23 July 2019, the Government of Comoros deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 111th Party to the Minamata Convention.

COMOROS BRINGS TO 111 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

COMOROS BRINGS TO 111 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

On 23 July 2019, the Government of Comoros deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 111th Party to the Minamata Convention.

MONTENEGRO BRINGS TO 110 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION
On 10 Jun 2019, the Government of Montenegro deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 110th Party to the Minamata Convention.

MONTENEGRO BRINGS TO 110 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

MONTENEGRO BRINGS TO 110 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

On 10 Jun 2019, the Government of Montenegro deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 110th Party to the Minamata Convention.

TUVALU BRINGS TO 109 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION
On 7 Jun 2019, the Government of Tuvalu deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 109th Party to the Minamata Convention.

TUVALU BRINGS TO 109 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

TUVALU BRINGS TO 109 THE NUMBER OF PARTIES TO THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

On 7 Jun 2019, the Government of Tuvalu deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 109th Party to the Minamata Convention.

SCHEDULE OF INTERSESSIONAL WORK UPDATED
COP-3 will be held in Geneva from 25 to 29 November 2019. Updated schedule for submissions, commenting and development of COP documents is available.

SCHEDULE OF INTERSESSIONAL WORK UPDATED

SCHEDULE OF INTERSESSIONAL WORK UPDATED

COP-3 will be held in Geneva from 25 to 29 November 2019. Updated schedule for submissions, commenting and development of COP documents is available.

South Africa brings to 108 the  number of Parties to the Minamata Convention
The government of South Africa deposited its instrument of ratification on 29 April 2019.

South Africa brings to 108 the number of Parties to the Minamata Convention

South Africa brings to 108 the  number of Parties to the Minamata Convention
The government of South Africa deposited its instrument of ratification on 29 April 2019.
Ireland and the State of Palestine bring to 107 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
The governments of Ireland and the State of Palestine deposited their instrument of ratification and accession respectively, on 18 March 2019.

Ireland and the State of Palestine bring to 107 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

Ireland and the State of Palestine bring to 107 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

The governments of Ireland and the State of Palestine deposited their instrument of ratification and accession respectively, on 18 March 2019.

Saint Lucia, Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia and Uganda bring to 105 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention
The governments of Saint Lucia, Marshall Islands and Saudi Arabia deposited their instrument of accession respectively on 23, 29 January and 27 February while Uganda’s government deposited its instrument of ratification on 1 March 2019.

Saint Lucia, Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia and Uganda bring to 105 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

Saint Lucia, Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia and Uganda bring to 105 the number of parties to the Minamata Convention

The governments of Saint Lucia, Marshall Islands and Saudi Arabia deposited their instrument of accession respectively on 23, 29 January and 27 February while Uganda’s government deposited its instrument of ratification on 1 March 2019.

Specific International Programme – Second Round of Applications open until 14 June 2019
Eligible Parties are invited to submit applications to the Second Round of the Specific International Programme that was established to support capacity building and technical assistance.

Specific International Programme – Second Round of Applications open until 14 June 2019

Specific International Programme – Second Round of Applications open until 14 June 2019

Eligible Parties are invited to submit applications to the Second Round of the Specific International Programme that was established to support capacity building and technical assistance.

Submissions received in preparation for COP3
Submissions for COP3 on releases, waste, contaminates sites and effectiveness evaluation were received by 15 February. Other submissions are due by 31 May 2019.

Submissions received in preparation for COP3

Submissions received in preparation for COP3

Submissions for COP3 on releases, waste, contaminates sites and effectiveness evaluation were received by 15 February. Other submissions are due by 31 May 2019.

Specific International Programme: Third Meeting of the Governing Board, 14-15 February 2019, Geneva
Members of the Governing Board will discuss preparations to launch the Second Round for projects applications, as well as elements for a resource mobilization strategy.

Specific International Programme: Third Meeting of the Governing Board, 14-15 February 2019, Geneva

Specific International Programme: Third Meeting of the Governing Board, 14-15 February 2019, Geneva

Members of the Governing Board will discuss preparations to launch the Second Round for projects applications, as well as elements for a resource mobilization strategy.

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