Minamata Convention on Mercury

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Minamata Convention
Minamata Convention on Mercury
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The logo of the UN Environment Programme
Type United Nations treaty
Signed 10 October 2013 (2013-10-10)
Location Kumamoto, Japan
Condition Ninety days after the ratification by at least 50 states
Signatories 102
Parties 1 (United States)
Depositary Secretary-General of the United Nations
Languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

History[edit]

Mercury and mercury compounds have long been known to be toxic to humans and other organisms. Large-scale public health crises due to mercury poisoning, such as Minamata disease and Niigata Minamata disease, drew attention to the issue. In 1972, delegates to the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment witnessed Japanese junior high school student Shinobu Sakamoto, disabled as the result of methylmercury poisoning in utero. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established shortly thereafter.[1]

On 20 February 2009, the 25th Governing Council of UNEP adopted a decision "to initiate international action to manage mercury in an efficient, effective and coherent manner."[2]

An Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) was established, chaired by Fernando Lugris of Uruguay and supported by the Chemicals Branch of UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. The INC held five sessions to discuss and negotiate a global agreement on mercury:

On 19 January 2013, after negotiating late into the night, the negotiations concluded with 147 governments agreeing to the draft convention text.[13]

The Convention was adopted and opened for signature on 10 October 2013, at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries (Diplomatic Conference) in Kumamoto, Japan, preceded by a Preparatory Meeting from 7–8 October 2013.[14][15][16] The European Union and 86 countries signed the Convention on the first day it was open.[17] A further 5 countries signed the Convention on the final day of the Diplomatic Conference, 11 October 2013.

The Convention will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by 50 nations. During the interim period, further meetings of the INC will be held to address such details as the organization of a permanent secretariat.

List of signatories and ratifiers[edit]

Participant Signature Ratification
 Angola 11 October 2013
 Argentina 10 October 2013
 Armenia 10 October 2013
 Australia 10 October 2013
 Austria 10 October 2013
 Bangladesh 10 October 2013
 Belgium 10 October 2013
 Benin 10 October 2013
 Bolivia 10 October 2013
 Brazil 10 October 2013
 Bulgaria 10 October 2013
 Burkina Faso 10 October 2013
 Burundi 14 February 2014
 Cambodia 10 October 2013
 Canada 10 October 2013
 Central African Republic 10 October 2013
 Chile 10 October 2013
 China 10 October 2013
 Colombia 10 October 2013
 Comoros 10 October 2013
 Costa Rica 10 October 2013
 Côte d'Ivoire 10 October 2013
 Czech Republic 10 October 2013
 Denmark 10 October 2013
 Djibouti 10 October 2013
 Dominican Republic 10 October 2013
 Ecuador 10 October 2013
 Ethiopia 10 October 2013
 European Union 10 October 2013
 Finland 10 October 2013
 France 10 October 2013
 Gabon 30 June 2014
 Gambia 10 October 2013
 Georgia 10 October 2013
 Germany 10 October 2013
 Greece 10 October 2013
 Guatemala 10 October 2013
 Guinea 25 November 2013
 Guyana 10 October 2013
 Hungary 10 October 2013
 Indonesia 10 October 2013
 Iran 10 October 2013
 Iraq 10 October 2013
 Ireland 10 October 2013
 Israel 10 October 2013
 Italy 10 October 2013
 Jamaica 10 October 2013
 Japan 10 October 2013
 Jordan 10 October 2013
 Kenya 10 October 2013
 Kuwait 10 October 2013
 Libya 10 October 2013
 Lithuania 10 October 2013
 Luxembourg 10 October 2013
 Republic of Macedonia 25 July 2014
 Madagascar 10 October 2013
 Malawi 10 October 2013
 Mali 10 October 2013
 Mauritania 11 October 2013
 Mauritius 10 October 2013
 Mexico 10 October 2013
 Moldova 10 October 2013
 Mongolia 10 October 2013
 Morocco 6 June 2014
 Mozambique 10 October 2013
   Nepal 10 October 2013
 Netherlands 10 October 2013
 New Zealand 10 October 2013
 Nicaragua 10 October 2013
 Niger 10 October 2013
 Nigeria 10 October 2013
 Norway 10 October 2013
 Pakistan 10 October 2013
 Panama 10 October 2013
 Paraguay 10 February 2014
 Peru 10 October 2013
 Philippines 10 October 2013
 Romania 10 October 2013
 Samoa 10 October 2013
 Senegal 11 October 2013
 Seychelles 27 May 2014
 Sierra Leone 12 August 2014
 Singapore 10 October 2013
 Slovakia 10 October 2013
 Slovenia 10 October 2013
 South Africa 10 October 2013
 Spain 10 October 2013
 Sweden 10 October 2013
  Switzerland 10 October 2013
 Tanzania 10 October 2013
 Togo 10 October 2013
 Tunisia 10 October 2013
 Uganda 10 October 2013
 United Arab Emirates 10 October 2013
 United Kingdom 10 October 2013
 United States 6 November 2013 6 November 2013
 Uruguay 10 October 2013
 Venezuela 10 October 2013
 Vietnam 11 October 2013
 Yemen 21 March 2014
 Zambia 10 October 2013
 Zimbabwe 11 October 2013

Text and provisions[edit]

The formal objective of the Convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds (Article 1). The Parties agreed in Article 8 to control and “where feasible” reduce emissions of mercury and mercury compounds, (i.e. “total mercury”) to the atmosphere through measures to control emissions from point source categories such as coal-fired power stations and non-ferrous metal smelters (e.g. aluminium smelters). The Convention also calls for additional research on issues related to mercury.[18]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tanaka, Hisatoshi (9 October 2013). "Minamata disease sufferer pins hope on mercury ban treaty". The Asahi Shimbun (in English) (Tokyo, Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company). Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mandate". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "INC1". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Ashton, M.; Kantai, T., Templeton, J., Xia, K. (14 June 2010). "First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "INC2". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Ashton, M.; Kohler, P., Xia, K. (31 January 2011). "Summary of the Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "INC3". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Kantai, T.; Templeton, J., Xia, K. (7 November 2011). "Summary of the Third Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "INC4". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Aguilar, S., Barrios, P., Kantai, T., Kohler, P., Templeton, J. (6 July 2012). "Summary of the Fourth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "INC5". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Kohler, P., Morgera, E., Ripley, K., Schabus, N., Tsioumani, E. (21 January 2013). "Summary of the Fifth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Minamata Convention Agreed by Nations". United Nations Environment Programme. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Diplomatic Conference for the Minamata Convention on Mercury". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Aquino, Grace (8 October 2013). "Kumamoto launches Minamata Convention to regulate use of mercury". Japan Daily Press (in English). Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  16. ^ Aritake, Toshio (7 October 2013). "Global Convention on Phaseout of Mercury Set to Be Adopted in Japan in October". Bloomberg/Bureau of National Affairs (in English). Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  17. ^ DeFerranti, R., Kohler, P., Malan, A.S. (10 October 2013). "Minamata Diplomatic Conference Highlights". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Naomi Lubick and David Malakoff (27 September 2013). "With Pact's Completion, The Real Work Begins". Science 341: 1443. doi:10.1126/science.341.6153.1443.