The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the first global agreement specifically designed to address contamination from a heavy metal. Opened for signature in October 2013, the Convention seeks to address issues related to the use and release of mercury including trade, industrial uses, and major sources of atmospheric emissions and releases of mercury into the environment, as well as long-term storage and disposal of mercury and mercury compounds. Highlights of the Convention include a ban on new mercury mines and the phase-out of existing ones, control measures on air emissions, and regulations for artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
The 50-ratification milestone required for the Minamata Convention on Mercury to enter into force was reached on 18 May 2017. As a result, on 16 August 2017, the Convention became legally binding for all Parties.
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, and each subsequent Conference of Parties (COP).
BRI serves as co-lead of the UN Environment’s Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research partnership area. As a co-lead BRI is assisting with development of a globally coordinated mercury monitoring and observation system. In addition, BRI has partnered with numerous UN agencies, countries and their ministries, IGO's, and NGO's around the world to study mercury exposure to people and the environment, and to help meet goals of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Explore the story map below to learn more about our projects in each country.
The International Negotiating Committee (INC) and the Global Environmental Facility have developed a series of pre-ratification activities, called Minamata Initial Assessments (MIAs). BRI has partnered with UN Environment, UNDP, and UNIDO to assist 24 countries and their ministries in conducting MIAs, in order to help meet requirements of the Convention, and to reduce exposure of mercury to humans and the environment.
BRI's article, Evaluating the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention on Mercury: Principles and recommendations for next steps, was recently published in Science of the Total Environment.
This article recommends using a range of short-, medium-, and long-term metrics related to five major mercury control Articles in order to evaluate effectiveness, as well as using metrics derived from monitoring mercury in the environment using select bioindicators, including people.
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