Intersessional work and Submissions for COP-6

The Conference of the Parties had its fifth meeting from 30 October to 3 November 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland, and agreed on a number of action items. The Executive Secretary sent a letter to Parties and observers on 22 January 2024 to call for information to follow up on these action items.

The progress on these action items can be found on the individual pages linked below. Links will be added as information becomes available.

Indigenous peoples and local communities

Decision MC-5/1

Noting with concern that Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, are particularly vulnerable to mercury exposure and are among the first to face the serious health and environmental effects resulting from mercury pollution owing to their close relationship with the environment and its resources, and welcoming the role of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, and particularly the engagement of women and girls, who have faced the effects of mercury with resilience, in achieving the objective of the Minamata Convention and the targets and goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the COP noted the importance of broadening participation of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in the implementation of projects and programmes undertaken under the Minamata Convention and encouraged parties to support, as appropriate, participation of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, as well as local communities and other relevant stakeholders, in meetings of the Conference of the Parties, and in other related processes.

The Secretariat is currently seeking to enlarge its network and improve the active engagement of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in implementation of projects and programmes undertaken under the Minamata Convention and to prepare a report on the needs and priorities of Indigenous Peoples and local communities with regard to the effects of mercury on their health, livelihoods, culture and knowledge.

Mercury supply sources and trade

Decision MC-5/2

The Secretariat is carrying out the following activities to implement the above-mentioned decision in 2024:

Thanks to the generous contribution of the EU and Spain, the Secretariat is developing guidance to assist parties in identifying, managing and reducing mercury trade from primary mercury mining.

EU funds are also enabling the Secretariat to support Parties in better understanding the trade provisions, their interrelation with other articles of the Convention, and the use of trade forms through online webinars and resources to be developed with partners such as UN System Staff College, InforMEA and the World Customs Organization.

The Secretariat is currently fundraising to draft an update to the existing guidance on stocks adopted in decision MC-1/2 to include types of action that could be taken to fulfil the continuing obligation to endeavour to identify stocks and sources.

Study of the global supply, production, trade and use of mercury compounds (decision MC-5/3)

Thanks to the generous contribution of Canada, the Secretariat has started the development of the above-mentioned study to be completed by the end of 2024.

Annexes A and B (products and processes)

Cosmetics (Decision MC-5/5)

The Executive Secretary sent a letter to Parties and observers to invite the submission of information by 30 June 2024 using the submission format. The submissions received have been uploaded here. A consultant is working with WHO and UNEP to draft a report, which will be posted on this page in early 2025 for comments

Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) production (Decision MC-5/6)

Parties and relevant organizations are invited to submit, on a voluntary basis, information on technically and economically feasible alternatives to the use of mercury and mercury compounds in vinyl chloride monomer production, in accordance with Paragraph 8 of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 of Article 17 of the Convention, by 31 March 2025. Submitted information will be posted on this page.

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining

Those Parties who have notified the Secretariat pursuant to Article 7.3 and have not yet submitted their ASGM National Action Plan are invited to do so at their earliest convenience. Submitted NAPs are published here. Those Parties who have submitted a National Action Plan are reminded of the obligation to provide a review every three years of the progress made in implementing obligations under Article 7 and to include such reviews in reports submitted pursuant to Article 21. The deadline for the next full national reports is 31 December 2025.

The Secretariat was requested by the COP to develop supplemental NAP guidance on the effective engagement and participation of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of NAPs. Parties, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and other stakeholders and stakeholders will be invited, in 2024, to provide information that can inform the development of the supplemental guidance.

Emissions of mercury

Parties with experience in using the guidance adopted by the COP pursuant to Article 8 (8) and (9) are encouraged to provide the Secretariat with information on such experience. Submissions will be posted on this web page. Information submitted by 31 March 2025 will be compiled for COP-6.

Mercury waste

Parties are invited to submit information regarding their waste management regulations and programmes as mentioned in Article 11 (3) (a), with a focus on matters not addressed by the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with mercury or mercury compounds under the Basel Convention, by 31 October 2024. Information submitted will be posted on this website and compiled for COP-6.

First effectiveness evaluation

Decision MC-14

For the work between COP-4 and COP-5, please visit here.

Effectiveness evaluation Group (EEG)

In its decision MC-5/14 on the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP) established the Effectiveness Evaluation Group (EEG) to work in accordance with the terms of reference outlined in annex I to the decision. The EEG will oversee the development of the effectiveness evaluation report. The Group will do so by integrating the information and knowledge collected and synthesized during the effectiveness evaluation process into a final report, along with recommendations for improvement, lessons learned and best practices, to be submitted to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in 2027.

The EEG will consist of 25 participants from Parties, comprising five representatives of Parties from each of the five United Nations regions, nominated by the region. Accordingly, on 16 February 2024, the Secretariat invited Parties to identify and nominate candidates to become members of the EEG. Nominations should be sent to the Bureau members of the relevant region, with a copy to the Secretariat (mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org), as soon as possible and no later than 31 March 2024.

In accordance with its terms of reference, the Effectiveness Evaluation Group will work online and will convene up to two face-to-face meetings, as needed and within allocated resources, during the first effectiveness evaluation cycle. The Group will elect two co-chairs from among its members, one from a developed country and one from a developing country, to facilitate its work and meetings. To give effect to the decision, the Secretariat plans to convene the first online meeting of the Group in mid-June 2024. Further information will be available in due course.

Open-Ended Scientific Group

The Open-Ended Scientific Group was established pursuant to Decision  MC-4/11. The current list of OESG members and experts in the roster to contribute to its work is available here. Parties that have not nominated a member may wish to submit a nomination by sending the nomination form to the Secretariat. Parties and stakeholders may also wish to nominate experts to the roster by completing an online form, or using the same nomination form available above  . 

The OESG has developed plans for its work to develop data summaries, and called for expressions of intent to provide mercury monitoring, emission and releases data from parties and stakeholders. The Secretariat has received 106 expressions of interest as of May 2024. 

The Secretariat has made a contract with the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) to establish a data repository and to receive and compile the data. On behalf of the OESG, BRI is reaching out to the contact points indicated in the expressions of intent to invite the submission of data to the repository, together with a data use authorization form in which submitters may specify the condition of data use as appropriate.  

The OESG, noting the current data gap, renewed its call for expression of interest to submit data. Parties and stakeholders are encouraged to submit their expression of interest through an online form is preparing to collect these data, as well as to call for additional expressions of intent. 

In relation to the collection and analysis of mercury emissions and releases data, the Secretariat is organizing a global workshop on comparability of mercury emission and release data, with the financial support from the European Union. The concept note is available here. Although the nomination of sponsored participants has been closed, self-funded participants may register using the registration form.

 

Gender

Gender action plan (decision MC-5/15)

Parties and stakeholders are invited to engage in priority activities of the Gender Action Plan for the 2024-2025 biennium.

The Secretariat is carrying out the following priority activities as part of the implementation of the Gender action Plan for the 2024-2025 biennium:

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Secretariat organized the first webinar of the 2024 Minamata Online series on the theme “Mainstreaming gender in capacity-building projects: practical approaches”. This webinar showcased how gender considerations are integrated by the Specific International Programme, the Global Environment Facility and the Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for the Chemicals Cluster into application criteria for funding, application guidelines, project applications, reporting forms and project evaluation processes. The delivery of the webinar is one of the priority activities for this biennium under the Minamata Convention Gender Action Plan.

Thanks to the generous support of Finland, the Secretariat is also planning the delivery of two other gender priority activities in 2024: the review of gender elements in existing national action plans and the development of case studies on the gender dimensions of projects funded by the SIP.

Biodiversity

In decision MC-5/17, the COP encouraged Parties and invited other Governments and local and subnational governments, as well as relevant organizations and stakeholders, as appropriate, to:

  • Promote research on the impacts of mercury on biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services;
  • Reflect national mercury reduction and control targets in their revised or updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans to align with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework;
  • Share the experience gained to promote coordination and integration of biodiversity- and mercury-related priorities through policy development and implementation, including lessons learned and challenges faced;
  • Disseminate information on actions that can generate co‑benefits for the Minamata Convention and the Kunming‑Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Secretariat was requested to support parties and other stakeholders in sharing their experience and to compile and synthesize the information gathered and prepare a draft road map, including possible actions and indicators, to support parties in demonstrating and maximizing the co-benefits arising from the implementation of the Minamata Convention and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its sixth meeting.

Accordingly, during the second quarter of 2024, the Secretariat is planning to invite Parties, other Governments, local and subnational governments, organizations and other stakeholders to share their experience with a view to preparing a first draft of the road map by end of September 2024.

Previous intersessional work