In accordance with the resolution on arrangements taken by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Kumamoto in October 2013, a sub-regional workshop for Francophone Africa in support for the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury was held from 9 to 11 July 2014 in Dakar. The participating countries to the workshop were Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe.
The workshop, organized by the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Senegal, was hosted at the Ngor Diarama Hotel and covered six main topics:
- Emissions and releases ;
- Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) ;
- Supply sources, trade and storage ;
- Waste and contaminated sites ;
- Mercury-added products and manufacturing processes in which mercury is used ;
- Health aspects.
This session was an opportunity for the attending countries and organizations to learn from each other and show the different aspects of their work related to mercury, either in terms of policies and technical solutions, or in terms of experience acquired. ASGM benefited from specific attention as gold mining is a major source of mercury contamination and is extensive in some of the participating countries.
Among the challenges addressed by the workshop, attention was given to mobilization of resource for implementation as well as suitable local approaches in order to manage the economic and political constraints. The presentation of national roadmaps on the ratification and implementation of the Convention by each participating country concluded the workshops as a key outcome. This set out the measures to be taken at a national level to move towards ratification and implementation.
Workshops for Francophone Africa also offered a chance to the attending countries to enhance their collaboration on environmental issues and promote more communication.