November 19-23, 2018 — Geneva, Switzerland
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the first global agreement specifically designed to address contamination from a heavy metal. The 50-ratification milestone required for the Convention to enter into force was reached in May 2017. As a result, the Convention became legally binding for all its Parties, and the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) was held in September of 2017.
The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP2) will take place from 19 to 23 November 2018, at the International Conference Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
As experts in the field of mercury science, BRI researchers were invited by U.S. government officials to participate as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) during the negotiating process of the Convention. The meetings of the International Negotiating Committee (INC) that preceded and have continued since the adoption of the Convention include delegates from more than 140 countries and numerous NGOs interested in reducing mercury pollution. BRI has participated in five of the first seven INC meetings, in addition to attending COP1, and will return for COP2 in November 2018.
BRI serves as co-lead of the UN Environment’s Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research partnership area. As a co-lead, BRI assists developments for a globally coordinated mercury monitoring and observation system. In addition, BRI aids three UN agencies in implemention of Minamata Convention Initial Assessment (MIA) activities in many countries, as (1) an Executing Agency with UNIDO, (2) an International Technical Expert with UNDP, and (3) an International Technical Expert with UN Environment. These MIA activities are designed to assist countries with developing strategies for ratifying and ultimately implementing the Convention.
BRI has produced booklets, brochures, and posters that synthesize biotic mercury data and summarize several Minamata Initial Assessments. For a full list of BRI mercury publications, click here, or view related publications below:
Science Communications Booklets
Mercury in the Global Environment presents data on mercury concentrations in marine and freshwater biota extracted from the GBMS database, as well as mercury data relative to global fisheries capture data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Mercury concentrations from various taxa are presented and compared geographically. Together, these data help inform decision makers of species in which and locations where mercury presents a risk to human health and the environment. This report aids parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury during their ratification and implementation processes.
Marine mammals migrate across the globe, either forgaging on the smallest of animals (krill) or prey on the largest, but all depending on uncontaminated food sources. Over the past century, mercury released through industrial processes has been entering and accumulating in the world’s oceans, putting marine mammals at risk. To help illustrate the impacts of methylmercury biomagnification (increased toxicity as toxins moves up the food web) and bioaccumulation on marine mammals, we have identified five particularly affected groups: toothed whales, baleen whales, pinnipeds (seals and walruses), people (in particular, aboriginal subsistence communities), and the polar bear.
Phasing Out/Phasing Down Mercury-added Products: What to Know about Consumer and Commercial Products Outlined in the Minamata Convention (2017)
The Minamata Convention aims to reduce mercury use in products and dental amalgam. This booklet focuses on mercury-added products, as outlined in Article 4, which prohibits the manufacture, import, and export of specific mercury-added products by 2020. In addition, it discusses Article 11, which addresses mercury wastes.
Fish and wildlife provide important information on the risks and impacts of mercury pollution on environmental and human health. Biomonitoring is the process of assessing the health of organisms and ecosystems through changes in mercury risk and exposure over time. This publication describes biomonitoring efforts outlined in Article 19 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which lists fish, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals as organisms to be monitored.
MIA Communications Brochures
The following short videos were shown at COP1 and provide a brief history of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and its global impact.
Minamata Convention Curtain Raiser Video
Minamata Convention Timeline Video
Make Mercury History Trailer
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