Ghana ratifies Minamata Convention, becomes 40th Party


The Government of Ghana on March 23, 2017 deposited her instruments of accession thereby becoming the 40th party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The ratification comes just a day after Honduras ratified the Convention. Ghana ratification brings to 18 the number of African that have ratified the global Convention adopted in Japan in 2013 that seeks to eliminate the effect of Mercury on human and the physical environment.

The Convention will enter into force once 50 countries ratified it. As at March 24, 2017, one hundred and twenty-eight (128) countries have ratified it.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury in Geneva, Switzerland on the morning of Saturday, January 19, 2013 and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan.

The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.

Major highlights of the Minamata Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.

The Secretariat of the Convention has slated the first Conference of Parties (COP1) to the Convention for the last week in September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.