Sao Tome and Principe emerges 98th Party to Minamata Convention
The government of Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday August 30, 2018 deposited its instrument of accession thereby becoming the 98th Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The development followed that of Chile and Portugal on Monday and Tuesday respectively. This brings to 98, the number of countries that have ratified the Convention out of the 128 that signed it.
The Convention which entered into force on August 16, 2017 is the first global treaty that seeks to protect human health and the physical environment from mercury emissions and releases into the environment.
The Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had in February 2009 adopted Decision 25/5 on the development of a global legally binding instrument on mercury. However, following the conclusion of the negotiations at the fifth session of the Inter- governmental Negotiating Committee (INC5), the text was adopted and opened for signature at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan from 10 to 11 October 2013, with a ceremonial opening in Minamata on October 9 same year.
Specifically, the objective of the Convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds by measures: to control the supply and trade of mercury; to control mercury- added products and manufacturing processes including artisanal and small scale gold mining; on the environmentally sound interim storage of mercury and on mercury wastes on contaminated sites.
Since it became legally binding in 2017, all hands by governments, non-governmental organisations, development agencies, professionals and other stakeholders have been on the deck to develop policies, programmes and create awareness across the globe on the dangers of mercury to human and physical environment and to make mercury history.
The second Conference of Parties to the Convention (COP2) is slated for November 19-23, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.