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.


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Review of annexes A and B

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Dental amalgam

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Customs codes

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Releases of mercury

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Mercury waste thresholds

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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 is now open for comments by Parties and relevant stakeholders. Parties and stakeholders wishing to submit comments are invited to use the template available for this purpose and submit it to mea‑minamatasecretariat@un.org by 31 May 2021.

Parties and relevant stakeholders may identify additional experts and inform the 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). The planning for an Article 21 synthesis report will be launched at a later stage.

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