Key issues at stake at COP1 on the Minamata Convention, Geneva, 24–29 September 2017

14-09-2017

• The Minamata Convention has been welcomed as a major step in the fight against mercury related health hazards. During COP1, Parties will discuss several topics of the agreement, debate amendments and adopt Articles or guidance. The public and private sector are encouraging Parties to take concrete actions during COP1. • The issue of effectiveness evaluation must be monitored closely as it will set the foundation for the future. Defining common methods and monitoring tools will be essential when it comes to assessing the concrete impact of the Convention. • Guidance on mercury supply sources and trade will be adopted with the aim of phasing out the use of mercury products. Most of the world resources are localised in a few countries, therefore finding alternatives for these Parties will be of high importance. • Artisanal and small scale gold mining is often an illegal activity, which is hard to monitor and impacts the local environment. The guidance to be adopted will have to consider the reality of the communities concerned and associated ethical issues. • In regard to mercury emissions and releases, best practices and guidelines have been developed for countries to better develop inventories and set National Action Plans. A special focus is provided on open burning practices, which are currently poorly characterised despite their negative environmental impact. • One of the key challenges of the COP1 will be to agree on harmonised thresholds for the definition of contaminated sites and mercury waste, which should be based on experience sharing.

• The Minamata Convention has been welcomed as a major step in the fight against mercury related health hazards. During COP1, Parties will discuss several topics of the agreement, debate amendments and adopt Articles or guidance. The public and private sector are encouraging Parties to take concrete actions during COP1. • The issue of effectiveness evaluation must be monitored closely as it will set the foundation for the future. Defining common methods and monitoring tools will be essential when it comes to assessing the concrete impact of the Convention. • Guidance on mercury supply sources and trade will be adopted with the aim of phasing out the use of mercury products. Most of the world resources are localised in a few countries, therefore finding alternatives for these Parties will be of high importance. • Artisanal and small scale gold mining is often an illegal activity, which is hard to monitor and impacts the local environment. The guidance to be adopted will have to consider the reality of the communities concerned and associated ethical issues. • In regard to mercury emissions and releases, best practices and guidelines have been developed for countries to better develop inventories and set National Action Plans. A special focus is provided on open burning practices, which are currently poorly characterised despite their negative environmental impact. • One of the key challenges of the COP1 will be to agree on harmonised thresholds for the definition of contaminated sites and mercury waste, which should be based on experience sharing.