Amendments adopted by COP-5 in 2023

The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) adopted decision MC-5/4: Amendments to annexes A and B and the feasibility of mercury-free alternatives for manufacturing processes listed in annex B. COP decided to amend Annex A, Part I of the Convention, which lists mercury-added products of which manufacture, import and export are to be phased out. By deciding to phase out the remaining categories for the already listed products, the new amendments will result in complete phase out of:

  • all batteries known to have mercury added (by 2025),
  • all switches and relays containing mercury except those for research and development purposes (by 2025), and
  • all fluorescent lamps (by 2027), which will also generate considerable energy saving gains.

In addition, the COP decided to eliminate the 1 ppm threshold for mercury content in cosmetics, including skin lightening soaps and creams, thereby making it explicit that no mercury can be added to cosmetics.

COP-5 also decided to amend Annex A, Part II of the Convention with a new measure to be taken by Parties which have not phased out use of dental amalgam yet, and more specifically to prepare a national action plan or a report with respect to progress they have made or are making to phase down or phase out dental amalgam every four years. COP also decided to consider amending both Part I and Part II of the Annex regarding dental amalgam at COP-6.

Finally, COP-5 decided to amend Annex B, Part I of the Convention and to follow up on Annex B, Part II, which regulates mercury use in industrial processes, as follows:

  1. It listed production of polyurethane using mercury containing catalysts for phase out by 2025. Polyurethane foams, coatings and adhesives are used for various purposes such as home furnishing, clothing and sponges.
  2. It established that mercury-free processes for sodium or potassium methylate or ethylate production have become technically and economically feasible, and therefore, as per the Convention requirements, the use of mercury in this process will not be allowed from 2028. These chemicals are used as catalysts in production of biodiesel, pharmaceuticals and pigments.
  3. In accordance with article 26 and 27 of the Convention, the COP-5 amendments will enter into force on 25 April 2025 for all Parties, except for Parties who notify the Depositary in accordance with subparagraph 3 (b) of article 27 of the Convention and those who made a declaration with regard to amendment of annexes in accordance with paragraph 5 of Article 30 and did not deposit with the Depositary any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with respect to the amendments adopted at COP-5.