History of the Negotiations Process

The Minamata Convention provides that it shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. That milestone was reached on 18 May 2017, allowing the Convention to enter into force on 16 August 2017 and the holding of the first meeting of its Conference of the Parties from 24 to 29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference of the Parties met yearly for the first three years and every two years thereafter.

The Diplomatic Conference mandated the intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury to meet during the interim period preceding the opening of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to facilitate the rapid entry into force of the Convention and its effective implementation upon entry into force. Two sessions of the INC were held, in November 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand and in March 2016 at the Dead Sea in Jordan.

Following the conclusion of the negotiations at the fifth session of the intergovernmental 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 9 October 2013. The Diplomatic Conference was preceded by a Preparatory Meeting from 7 to 8 October 2013 in Kumamoto.

The work to prepare the Minamata Convention on Mercury was undertaken by an intergovernmental negotiating committee supported by the Chemicals Branch of the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics as secretariat. The mandate was to complete the negotiations before the twenty-seventh regular session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2013. The mandate has been met.

The work of the intergovernmental negotiating committee has been carried out over five sessions from June 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden until January 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.

At its first session, the intergovernmental negotiating committee elected Fernando Lugris (Uruguay) Chair of the committee, as well as nine vice-chairs that together would form the Bureau.

A “Mercury Club” was established to recognize support to the negotiating process for the legally binding instrument on mercury. 

More information about these negotiations can be found below:

Prior to these negotiations, two meetings of the Open-Ended Working Group to review and assess measures to address the global issue of mercury were held from 12 to 16 November 2007 at the UN ESCAP facilities in Bangkok, Thailand and from 6 to 10 October 2008 at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Information about these two meetings as well as the preparatory AHOEWG are accessible through the links below:

In February 2009, the Governing Council of UNEP adopted Decision 25/5 on the development of a global legally binding instrument on mercury.