Minamata Convention chief welcomes adoption of Global Framework on Chemicals


At the fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) in Bonn, Germany, Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz, Minamata Convention on Mercury welcomed the adoption of the Global Framework on Chemicals. Subtitled “For a planet free of harm from chemicals and waste”, this landmark High-Level Declaration places chemicals, waste and pollution on equal footing with urgent crises such as climate change, nature preservation and biodiversity loss.

Throughout the conference, which took place from 25 to 29 September, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention shared perspectives in various events and discussions. Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz contributed to two high-level thematic roundtables that addressed key aspects of implementing the new framework instrument and the declaration: “Strengthening chemicals and waste management systems and capacities” and “Maximizing contributions of sound management of chemicals and waste in achieving sustainable development goals”.

Stankiewicz pointed out that the impacts of chemical pollution disproportionately affect the poor, women and children, Indigenous Peoples and other vulnerable populations, adding that two million deaths in 2019 were caused by chemical pollution. Far more work needs to be done on resource mobilization and for ensuring that there are clear pathways for the private sector to direct funds to clean and healthy lifecycle approaches – not as the exception but as the rule.

Also representing the Convention Secretariat, Associate Expert Maria Irene Rizzo took part in the “Intergenerational Dialogue panel” of the Youth Forum on Chemicals Governance, where she stressed the importance of meaningfully involving young people in the work to address the triple planetary crises. Additionally, in the “Launch of the Gender and Chemicals Partnership” organized by the MSP Institute, Rizzo shared the Convention’s efforts to mainstream gender into all activities, as well as the development of a comprehensive gender action plan that will be discussed later this month at the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP-5).

During the conference, a high-level award ceremony honored four effective policies aimed at protecting against hazardous chemicals with the Future Policy Award 2023. Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz was invited to present the category of Dental Amalgam Fillings, awarding Nepal for becoming one of the first countries in Asia to enact legislation banning the use of dental amalgam for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the aim of a complete phase-out. She extended her congratulations to H.E. Ram Kaji Khadka. Ambassador of Nepal to the Federal Republic of Germany, pointing out that “laws like this inspired the recent Minamata Convention amendment to restrict amalgam use in vulnerable groups”.

Stankiewicz also engaged in roundtable discussions during the meeting of the High Ambition Alliance for Chemicals and Waste, an initiative of Sweden and Uruguay established to raise awareness and understanding of the urgency to act on chemicals and waste at national and local levels. During the last day of the conference, the Executive Secretary delivered a high-level statement in plenary, expressing on behalf of the Minamata Convention “our support to reaching the important milestone of the adoption of this ambitious High-Level Declaration”.

She added: “The upcoming COP-5 will be an opportunity for the Parties to the Convention to consider the outcomes of ICCM5. We stand ready to engage. It is abundantly clear that the strengthening of chemicals management in any one sector provides benefits to chemicals management in other sectors, and far beyond for the protection of biodiversity, holding the line against climate change, and of health for people and planet”.

From 30 October to 3 November in Geneva, Switzerland, COP-5 will present the opportunity to further make a dent in global mercury pollution by increasing efforts to reduce the use of mercury in industrial processes and in consumer products, strengthening the implementation of national action plans, renewing support to the SIP and making crucial progress on measuring the effectiveness of the Convention.