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Minamata Convention on Mercury
Minamata Convention on Mercury

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.

BRI's Contribution to the Minamata Convention

BRI's Contribution to the Minamata Convention

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.

 

Minamata Initial Assessments

Minamata Initial Assessments

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.

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Mercury Biomonitoring

Mercury Biomonitoring

BRI is working on several fronts to conduct and promote mercury biomonitoring across the globe. Biomonitoring is the process of assessing the health of organisms and ecosystems and tracking changes in mercury risk and exposure over time. Monitoring mercury exposure to humans and wildlife will help the global community to meet requirements of the Convention moving forwards.
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Global Mercury Monitoring in Humans and Seafood

Global Mercury Monitoring in Humans and Seafood

In collaboration with IPEN, our project Global Mercury Monitoring in Humans and Seafood is the first of its kind to identify, in one collaborative effort, global biological hotspots that represent elevated levels of mercury exposure that may pose serious threats to both ecosystem and human health.
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Global Biotic Mercury Synthesis

Global Biotic Mercury Synthesis

BRI's Global Biotic Mercury Synthesis (GBMS) database is a compilation of existing seafood mercury data collected from all over the world. Our report Mercury in the Global Environment: Understanding Spatial Patterns for Biomonitoring Needs of the Minamata Convention on Mercury summarizes this data, providing insight into the species of marine organisms with the greatest concentrations of methylmercury. These species could pose risks to people when consumed, especially to sensitive populations and those that consume large quantities of high mercury seafood.
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Mercury Source: Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

Mercury Source: Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

BRI is working with the U.S. Department of State to identify techniques to improve mining efficiency while also reducing the reliance on mercury to extract gold.
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Join the Global Effort to Track Mercury in our Environment

Join the Global Effort to Track Mercury in our Environment

Mercury is found in the food we eat, the products we use, and the places we live. Tracking mercury levels in people, fish and wildlife, and ecosystems is key to understanding the extent and magnitude of mercury in the global environment. Help us by joining the effort.
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Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Minamata Convention

EVALUATING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION

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.

Click here to read the full article.

 
Photo Credits: Header photo: © Tashka-iStock; Albania, Azerbaijan, Jamaica, Jordan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Nepal, Peru, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago flags © Gil C; Cabo Verde, Chad, Sao Tome Flags © Coffee Lover; Georgia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka flags © Jiri Flogel; Mauritius flag © byvalet; St Kitts and Nevis flag © Carsten Reisinger; Seychelles flag © Steve Allen; UNIDO Headquaters courtesy UNIDO; ASGM sluicing © BRI-Dave Buck; Fish market © iStock Lugaaa; Net fishing © flikr-WorldFish7; Casting a net © shutterstock-digantarajkhowa
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