Norway emerges 44th future Party to Minamata Convention on Mercury


The Government of Norway on Friday May 12, 2017 deposited its instrument of ratification thereby becoming the 44th future Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury. A week earlier, the Government of Afghanistan has done similar thing becoming the 43rd future Party on May 2, 2017.

With this develop six more countries are required to ratify the Convention for it enters into force.

Ecogreen News reported on Thursday May 11, 2017 the decision by the Council of European Union which adopted a Decision to conclude, on behalf of the European Union, the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and deposit the instrument on May 18 (this week) with the United Nations.

If this is done, it means the 50 countries requirement for the Convention to enter into force may likely be met this week.

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 Convention will enter into force once fifty Parties ratify it. As at Monday May 15, 2017, 44 countries have ratified it, 128 countries have signed while 42 have ratified the Convention including 19 African countries.

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.