As part of efforts to ensure the safety of staff, delegates and their families as well as to support the global efforts to restrict the spread of coronavirus disease that is ravaging the world, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury has made arrangements to hold the upcoming intersessional meetings of the Convention electronically.
Executive Secretary of the Convention, Monika Stankiewicz, in a statement she personally signed and made available on the Convention website on Tuesday 31 March 2020 tagged “COVID-19 – Implications for the work of the Minamata Convention” said the arrangement was in line with the instructions from the Swiss authorities, United Nations and the United Nations Environment Programme.
According to her, workshops and other implementation support activities that were planned to be held physically in various locations around the world in the next six months have been postponed until there is more clarity on the evolving situation.
“The Secretariat reviewed the upcoming intersessional meetings and implementation support activities for the next six months. Building on previous good experiences to work electronically intersessional, we will increasingly arrange meetings electronically and are currently looking into additional means of support such as establishment of online workspaces.
“Workshops and other implementation support activities that were planned to be held physically in various locations around the world in the next six months have been postponed until there is more clarity on the evolving situation. To continue to support Parties in the interim, the Secretariat is using this time to work further on implementation support materials that will be made accessible electronically. We will be communicating the upcoming online meetings and related activities on our website and through the COP-4 Bureau and National Focal Points,” she added.
The Minamata Convention Secretariat chief explained that the Secretariat has been fully and effectively telecommuting since Friday 13 March 2020. “I look forward to engaging with Parties and stakeholders in this joint learning experience to increasingly use virtual space for advancing the work of the Minamata Convention and overall, in following-up the global situation and any implications it may have on the work under the Convention. I, and the entire team of the Secretariat, would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere hope that you, your families, colleagues and communities will safely get through these difficult times”.