Mercury and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework


The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury took part in the latest meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) that was held in Nairobi from 21 to 26 June 2022.

Since 2019, the GBF has been developed and negotiated under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to define goals and targets to reverse the global loss of biodiversity and restore ecosystem functions.

Under Goal A, “Protecting biodiversity at all levels and preventing extinctions”, Target 7 aims at reducing pollution from all sources. At the Working Group meeting, CBD Parties agreed to add mercury to the draft text for further negotiation. This is a recognition, in line with the IPBES Global Assessment, that heavy metals are key pollutants of concern to biodiversity and ecosystem functions, alongside excess nutrients, pesticides, and plastic waste.

Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Monika Stankiewicz stated: “I am glad to see the provisional addition of mercury to Target 7. In line with decision MC-4/11 of our Conference of the Parties last March, the addition of mercury to the target will enable greater integration at the national and global levels when implementing the Minamata Convention and the new global biodiversity framework”.

At the meeting, Parties noted that a target on pollution that did not include mercury would be incomplete and would miss a timely opportunity to build upon ongoing processes to curb the impacts of mercury pollution on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. “Monitoring efforts that are under way as part of the effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention will provide relevant information for monitoring Target 7,” added Manoela Pessoa de Miranda, Programme Management Officer at the Minamata Convention Secretariat.

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework is expected to be adopted at the resumed session of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to take place in Montreal, Canada, from 5 to 17 December 2022, under the presidency of China.

Decision MC-4/11 on international cooperation and coordination was adopted at the second segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention, held on 21-25 March, in Bali, Indonesia. This is the first decision under the Convention that recognizes the importance of addressing mercury pollution in connection with the global loss of biodiversity. It requests the secretariat to prepare, subject to the availability of resources, a report, including possible recommendations, on how the Convention could contribute to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, once adopted, for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting.