African regional preparatory meeting for Minamata Convention COP3 kicks off in Ghana


Picture Caption: Group photograph of participants at the African regional meeting taking place in Ghana from 15-16 October 2019.


A two-day African regional consultations meeting in preparation for the third Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury  kicked- off in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday 15th October 2019 where discussions are ongoing to have a common voice for the continent that will be presented at the global meeting in November.

Countries participating in the two-day meeting are: Benin, Togo, Bostwana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gambia, Gabon, Eswatini, Lesotho and Ghana.

Others are Nigeria, Kenya, Niger, Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, Mali, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting is also being attended by other observer groups including Non-Governmental Organisations, United Nations agencies and media among others.

In his welcome remarks to the meeting, Ghana Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said the Minamata Convention on Mercury is a landmark global treaty that addresses mercury and mercuric compounds which have significant adverse neurological and other health effects on human and the environment.

He went further, “Ghana view the Minamata Convention with great importance and are making efforts towards its effective implementation in order to protect our populations  and the environment from the deleterious effects of mercury and mercuric compounds”, he said.

Frimpong-Boateng, who reiterated Ghana’s total commitment to the implementation of the provision of the Minamata Convention as well as other relevant chemical-related Conventions to ensure a safe and sound environment for current and future generation also, appreciated the Governing Council of the Specific International Programme (SIP) under the Convention for approving a project on strengthening the health sector for the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Ghana.

As part of the day event, each country delegate at the meeting gave a brief update report of activities since the second Conference of the Parties held last November in Geneva, Switzerland. Majority of the countries  had achieved success  in identifying the major sources of mercury emissions and releases in their country; sensitization and advocacy on the Convention; initiation and progress on the Minamata Initial Assessment; development of National Action Plan and ratification of the Convention; phase down of dental amalgam; artisanal and small scale gold mining among others.

Similarly, delegates also took time to examine the structure and programme  of the forth coming COP3 of the Convention as well as introduction of the documents for the meeting coming up late November in Geneva.

Executive Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the African Region, Prof. Percy Onianwa, in his assessment of the first day of the meeting said everything is going on well in terms of logistics and effective participation by delegates at the meeting.

He expressed optimism that delegates at the end of the two-day meeting will come out with a strong position that the continent would present at COP3 in November.

Senior Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Eisaku Toda, expressed delight on the large turnout of Parties from the region to the meeting, saying, “we are very happy that we have about 26 parties here out of 31 countries in the region that have ratified the Convention, this is a very good turnout for Parties to have a regional position.

“We are very happy with the large number of parties here. African region has the largest number of parties from the United Nations five regions and I think Africa is developmental in the Minamata Convention, I wish they will continue the leadership role in future”, he added.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury Secretariat kicked-off the regional  preparatory meeting towards COP3 of the Convention with the Asia-Pacific region held in Bangkok from 7-8 October followed by the African region taking place in Accra, Ghana.

As at 15th October 2019, Africa is leading on the ratification of the Convention as 31 countries out of 54 that made up the continent have ratified the Convention.