Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) - First segment
Virtual, 01 Nov 2021 - 05 Nov 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Bureau of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury decided, at its fifth meeting held on 14 April 2021, to organize COP-4 in two segments: a first segment was conducted online within the period of 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment is to be conducted in-person within the period of 21 to 25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.
Read the full communication on the update on the format from COP4 President Rosa Vivien Ratnawati and Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz: official letter and tentative schedule here.
The COP-4 bureau agreed that the regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP4 would be held online. The list of dates and further details can be found here.
An open call for proposals for official side events opened on Monday, 13 September 2021 and will close on Wednesday, 06 October 2021. More details and application form can be found here.
During COP-3, the Conference of the Parties elected Rosa Vivien Ratnawati (Indonesia) as the President of COP-4. Rosa Vivien Ratnawati is the Director-General for Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Substances Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia. Since 2018, she has actively participated in all the meetings and negotiations at the BRS (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm) Conventions and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. In November 2019, she was appointed as the President of the COP-4 Minamata Convention on Mercury. You can read her full biography here.
Regarding the review of Annexes A and B, the following amendments have been proposed ahead of COP-4:
24 Nov 2021
Speech delivered by the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen at the opening ceremony of the online segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4).
MC/ES/2021/93| 24 Nov 2021
05 Nov 2021
Parties to the Minamata Convention reinforce their commitment to stopping mercury pollution in a fully online session
The first segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) concludes after an intense week of work with important agreements on the programme of work and budget for the coming year and announces dates for in-person segment in Bali, Indon
04 Nov 2021
In 2022, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will mark the 50th anniversary of its creation at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference).
04 Nov 2021
Minamata Convention Financial Mechanism: “A good moment for all of us to work in more integrated ways”, says GEF CEO and Chairperson
The side event “The Minamata Convention Financial Mechanism: Supporting parties to implement their obligations” took place on Monday 1 November (19:00 – 20:15 CET) during the online segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4), with openin
03 Nov 2021
The Minamata Convention entered into force on 16 August 2017 but its story did not start nor end there.
03 Nov 2021
Since 1972 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the leading global environmental authority.
02 Nov 2021
Minamata COP-4 opens as an opportunity and a celebration of the “global commitment to putting mercury pollution to an end”
The first segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) takes place online from 1 to 5 November with over a thousand participants and an ambitious programme of work.
02 Nov 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the first segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) will take place online from 1 to 5 November 2021.
02 Nov 2021
Press release in Bahasa Indonesian on the online segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4), published by Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Republic of Indonesia).
01 Nov 2021
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), covers the online segment of COP-4 from 1 to 5 November.
31 Oct 2021
The Opening Ceremony of the online segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) was broadcast on YouTube Live on Monday 1 November, f
31 Oct 2021
Masami Ogata is a survivor of Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by industrial mercury poisoning, which originated in the Japanese town of the same name in the 1950s. As an UN conference on preventing future poisoning outbreaks gets underway, the online segment of COP-4, we hear Mr.
31 Oct 2021
Youth from Japan and Indonesia introduce their activities in implementing the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
31 Oct 2021
Victims of the Minamata Disease, severe methylmercury poisoning that hit the Minamata Bay area in 1950's and 60's, released a video message to the delegates to COP-4 to work together not to repeat
31 Oct 2021
Since 2015, UNEP-IETC had been implementing a global mercury waste project funded by the Japanese government.
22 Oct 2021
In a GEF Voices interview, the Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, Monika Stankiewicz, shares her hopes and expectations for the upcoming fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, whose online segment will be held from 1 to 5 November 2021.
22 Oct 2021
All registered participants to the online segment of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4) are encouraged to participate in technical trials to ensure connectivity, audio and video settings.
13 Oct 2021
An Executive Briefing on the online segment of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4) will be held on 19 October within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network.
MC/COP4/2021/82| 15 Sep 2021
13 Sep 2021
The Minamata Convention Secretariat launched on Monday, 13 September an open call for proposals for official side events to be organized during COP-4 on 1-5 November 2021.
At its third meeting, the Conference of the Parties agreed on a number of action items to effectively implement the Minamata Convention and prepare for the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which was ultimately held in two segments: a first segment was conducted online within the period of 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment was held in-person within the period of 21 to 25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.
In some areas, submissions are invited by parties and other stakeholders, while in other areas submissions are expected through the members of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties. The details of calls for information can be found in the Executive Secretary’s letter dated 13 December 2019 and its attachment. In view of the coronavirus pandemic situation, some of the deadlines were extended as explained below.
An overview of the calendar of the meetings that were planned for COP4 intersessional period is available here.
Review of annexes A and B
COP3 decided to establish an ad hoc group of experts on the review of annexes A and B to the Convention, to prepare a document in which it will enrich and organize the information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives referred to in the submissions from the Parties.
1. Information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives
Parties were invited to submit information on the uses of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives as set out in (a) and (b) below by 31 March 2020.
(a) Information on mercury-added products and on the availability, technical and economic feasibility, and environmental and health risks and benefits of non-mercury alternatives to mercury-added products, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 4 of the Convention;
(b) Information on processes that use mercury or mercury compounds and, on the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of mercury-free alternatives to manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 5.
The following submissions have been received. Submissions received by 15 April are also be posted below. Further submissions were received by July 31 (see point 3 below). As agreed by the ad hoc group of experts, parties were recommended to use the available templates (here) for further submissions.
- European Union
- Norway - Lamp - Satellite
- Japan battery/lamp - switch/relay
- United States of America Front page, doc 1, doc 2.1, doc 2.2, doc 3.1, doc 3.2, doc 4.1, doc 4.2
Non-parties and others were invited to provide further information on the use of mercury and on non-mercury alternatives referred to in the submissions by the Parties by 30 April 2020. The following submissions were received by 15 May. Further submissions were received by July 31 (see point 3 below). As agreed by the ad hoc group of experts, bon-parties and others were recommended to use the available templates (here) for further submissions.
- Nepal Letter - Annex2
- Battery associations of Japan, Europe, North America and Latin America
- Zero Mercury Working Group
- CLASP comments - market study - spreadsheet - SEA-CLASP report – CLASP-RoHS report
- Japan Lighting Manufacturers Association position paper - template - annex1 (English / Japanese) - annex2 (English / Japanese)
- Peter Maxson
2. Measures or strategies implemented by Parties
Parties that notified the Secretariat at the time of their becoming a Party to the Convention that they would implement various measures or strategies to address products listed in part I of Annex A to the Convention are to report on the measures or strategies they have implemented, including a quantification of the reductions achieved by 30 June 2020. The following submission was received.
3. Work of the ad hoc group of experts
Parties were invited to nominate members of the ad hoc group of experts through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. The list of nominated members is available here.
The group had its first on-line meeting on 7 May. The group decided to receive submissions of information from Parties, non-parties and other stakeholders until 31 July 2020. The group will continue to discuss further plans including the invitation of observers at the next on-line meeting.
- Summary of the first on-line meeting (7 May 2020)
At its second on-line meeting on 3 June, the group decided to hold separate group-calls on different categories of products and processes, covering all categories included in Annexes A and B. The group will discuss details on how to arrange these group-calls at the next meeting. Observers will be invited to respective group-calls, and the secretariat will reach out to selected observers.
- Summary of the second on-line meeting (3 June 2020)
At its third on-line meeting on 1 July, the group discussed about the schedule of work including arrangements of separate group-calls. The group will meet again in mid-July to further discuss about the detailed schedule of work.
- Summary of the third on-line meeting (1 July 2020)
Online information sessions were held on 7 July 2020 to present the progress of the intersessional work including review of Annexes A and B and to call for submission of information. The presentation from the Secretariat and recorded video of the session are available here.
4. Outcome of the work of the group of experts (30 April 2021)
The following report summarizes the outcome of the work of the ad hoc group of experts on review of Annexes A and B.
The submitted and supplemented information, organized in a tabular format indicating the sources of information, is presented in the following compilation documents. As of 30 April 2021, by which the report on the work of the group was due, some additional information on mercury-added products, particularly on lamps, was still to be provided by experts or to be incorporated into the documents. The group further worked to organize such additional information into the compilation document by 30 June 2021, which is to be made available to the Conference of the Parties as an information document. (Updated on 24 August 2021)
COP3 encouraged Parties to take more than the two required measures in accordance with part II of Annex A to the Convention to phase down the use of dental amalgam, and requested the Secretariat to collect information on the implementation of any such additional measures taken by Parties.
In addition, it requested the Secretariat to collect from Parties and others information pursuant to paragraph 7, Article 4 of the Convention, i.e. information including that related to the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of the non-mercury alternatives to the product.
- Information on the implementation of any additional measures taken by Parties
Parties were invited to provide information on the implementation of any additional measures taken in accordance with part II of Annex A to the Convention by 31 January 2021.
Submissions from governments
- African Region (English / French)
- Cote d'Ivoire
- European Union
- Nepal Letter - Annex1
- United States
- Viet Nam
- Information on non-mercury alternatives to dental amalgam
Parties and others were invited to provide information including that related to the availability, technical and economic feasibility and environmental and health risks and benefits of the non-mercury alternatives to dental amalgam by 1 July 2020. The following submissions have been received. Upon the request from some Parties, the deadline for this submission was extended until 15 August 2020.
Submissions on the review of Annexes A and B from Argentina and Colombia, available above, also contain information on dental amalgam
Submissions from governments
- African Region (English / French)
- Argentina (Spanish)
- European Union
Submissions from other organisations
- AGENDA for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA), Tanzania
- American Dental Association (ADA), International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
- Asian Center for Environmental Health
- Ban Toxics Letter / AO20
- Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED), Nepal Video
- Chicago Declaration for Ending Mercury Use in the Dental Industry Letter1 / Letter2
- Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF), Zambia
- Consumers for Dental Choice, United States
- Centre de Recherche et d'Education pour le Développement (CREPD) submission / annex
- Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), Bangladesh
- European Center for Environmental Medicine
- FDI World Dental Federation
- Action Group for Promotion and Protection to Flora and Fauna (GAPROFFA), Benin
- International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
- International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)
- Kisiwani Conservation Network, Kenya
- Latin American Centre for Environmental Health
- SRADeV Nigeria
- Timiş County College of Dentists, Romania Letter 1 (Romanian / English) Letter 2 (Romanian / English)
- Vietnam Odonto-Stomatology Association (VOSA) and Center for Community Health and Injury Prevention (CCHIP), Viet Nam
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - A Comparison of Availability, Affordability, Effectiveness, Risks and Benefits of Dental Material
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - Arab States
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - Dentists’ Committee for A Mercury Free Africa Letter / submission1 / submission2 / submission3 / submission4
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - Island States Campaign
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - Model Provinces Committee
- World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry - Scientific literature review
COP3 requested the Secretariat to continue its work in collaboration with the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership Mercury in Products Partnership area and involving relevant experts to;
(a) Draft a guidance document that includes:
(i) For the mercury-added products listed in Annex A to the Convention, a list of possible customs nomenclature codes of more than six digits that could be used by Parties;
(ii) For mercury-added products not listed in Annex A to the Convention, a compilation of examples provided by national experts of customs nomenclature codes of more than six digits currently in use by Parties; and
(iii) Examples of good practice where the use of customs nomenclature codes at the national level has been supplemented by the use of other control tools for the purpose of implementing trade provisions, such as those found in Article 4 to the Convention.
(b) Provide an assessment of whether the subsequent development of six-digit harmonized codes would be a useful complement to the outcome of the work undertaken under (a) (i) above for the mercury-added products listed in Annex A or under (a) (ii) above for mercury-added products not listed in Annex A. The assessment shall, where possible, include several examples of the use of such codes for both listed and unlisted mercury-added products, taking into account experience concerning such codes under other international environmental conventions.
Parties, non-parties and other stakeholders including relevant organisations were invited to identify experts familiar with the use of national customs codes to participate in the open-ended process by 29 February 2020. Two nomination have been received.
Identified experts were invited to submit information relevant for the work related to (a) (i)-(iii) above by 31 March 2020. The following submissions have been received from nominated experts. The Secretariat will work with the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership - Mercury in Products Partnership area to collect more information from parties and stakeholders.
A draft guidance document on the use of customs codes under the Minamata Convention has been developed as described above in response to Decision MC-3/3 on Customs codes and posted below on 18 June 2021.
Parties and other stakeholders were invited to submit comments on the draft, including any additional information on point (a) (i)-(iii) above, by 19 July 2021 to: mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org. The guidance document is to be submitted as a COP-4 document.
Releases of mercury
COP3 requested the group of technical experts to continue to work by electronic means, with the possibility of one face-to-face meeting, in line with the road map set out in annex II to document UNEP/MC/COP.3/6, to produce a report including draft guidance on the methodology for preparing inventories of releases, the proposed categories of point sources of releases and a road map for the development of guidance on best available techniques and best environmental practices.
Parties were invited to confirm the current members of the group of technical experts, nominate new members or replace members as appropriate, through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. Bureau members were informed that the Secretariat would wait for the nominations until 15 April. The list of nominated members and observers is available here. Parties and other stakeholders were invited to submit existing information on the calculation of releases and on other methodologies for the estimation of releases from the source categories identified in UNEP/MC/COP.3/6. The following submissions have been received.
The group of technical experts works on-line to develop a report including draft guidance on the methodology for preparing inventories of releases, the proposed categories of point sources of releases and a road map for the development of guidance on best available techniques and best environmental practices. The group agreed to post the draft general guidance for release inventories (PDF), noting that it will be updated after agreeing on the list of point source categories.
The draft report to be submitted to COP-4 (PDF and Word versions) was posted on the web on 25 June 2021. Please note that the group of technical experts is still to further discuss some wording, such as the reference to wastewater in the table of relevant release categories, at its meeting after the commenting period. Parties and other stakeholders were invited to submit comments on the draft by 23 July 2021 to: mea-minamatasecretariat [at] un.org . The draft is being revised taking into account the comments received, to be submitted as a COP-4 document.
Mercury waste thresholds
COP3 requested the group of technical experts to work further on thresholds for mercury wastes falling under subparagraph 2(c) of Article 11. It also requested the Secretariat, in cooperation with the ASGM partnership area, to seek comments from Parties and other stakeholders to improve the guidance on the preparation of national action plans for ASGM regarding management of tailings from such mining, with a view to presenting a revised version of the guidance for consideration and possible adoption by COP4.
Parties were invited to confirm the current members of the group of technical experts, nominate new members or replace members as appropriate, through the Bureau members by 31 March 2020. Bureau members have been informed that the Secretariat will wait for the nominations until 15 April. The list of nominated members and observers is available here. The group had its first on-line meeting on 12 May.
- Summary of the first on-line meeting (12 May 2020)
- Summary of the second online meeting (18 June 2020)
COP3 encouraged the parties and other stakeholders to contribute to the process of updating the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with mercury or mercury compounds by providing comments on the draft updated guidelines when invited to do so. The draft guidelines are available on the website of the Basel Convention as an information document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.12/INF/13 for the 12th Open-Ended Working Group of the Convention, for comments until 31 July 2020.
Parties and other stakeholders were invited to provide comments to improve the guidance on the preparation of national action plans for ASGM regarding management of tailings from such mining by 1 November 2020.
COP-3 adopted decision MC-3/10: Arrangements for the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Secretariat has developed an overview of the provisions of the Convention and the guidance by the COP on effectiveness evaluation.
Work on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention
Decision MC-3/10 includes the provisions on intersessional work on the proposed indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention included in annex I to the decision. Parties were invited to submit views on the indicators and the Secretariat is requested to compile those views in advance of COP-4. In consultation with the COP-4 Bureau, the Secretariat has prepared a plan on the modalities and timeline for providing and receiving commenting to assist parties in their work.
In line with the plan of work, an information session on proposed indicators was held on Thursday 17 September.
As next step in the plan of work, Parties and stakeholders were invited to submit initial views and responses to the Secretariat on the proposed indicators by 30 November 2020. All submissions received to date are collated in this online work space for indicators for consideration.
According to the plan of work, the Secretariat facilitated an exchange session on the received initial views and responses on Tuesday, 2 February (to present submissions and views), and on Thursday, 4 February (to reflect on submissions and views). To further support Parties in their consideration of the proposed indicators, the Secretariat was requested to prepare a compilation of the initial views submitted. The Secretariat also prepared a note on information resources as supplementary information.
Parties requested the Secretariat to facilitate an additional exchange session, which was held on Thursday, 4 March (13:00 to 15:00 Geneva time). All materials for consideration are accessible at the above mentioned online workspace. This additional exchange session was to enable clarifications on the views and responses submitted, additional questions that may have arisen, and other relevant information sharing and exchange on the proposed indicators. This opportunity to further exchange was also to assist Parties in their formal preparation of their views, as requested by MC-3/10. The deadline for submission to the Secretariat of views of Parties was Wednesday, 31 March 2021.
Development of the guidance on monitoring to support the effectiveness evaluation
At its third meeting, COP requested the Secretariat to advance the work to support the effectiveness evaluation by securing services for drafting, among others, guidance on monitoring to maintain harmonized, comparable information on mercury levels in the environment (decision MC-3/10).
In response to the decision, the secretariat, in consultation with the Bureau of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, set out a process, as described in document UNEP/MC/COP.4/INF/12, to advance work to develop guidance on monitoring of mercury to support evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention.
As a result, the draft “Guidance on monitoring of mercury and mercury compounds to support evaluation of the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention” was developed as contained in the annex to document UNEP/MC/COP.4/INF/12. The guidance consists of six chapters: (1) Introduction and objectives; (2) Comparable monitoring data and the effectiveness evaluation; (3) Atmospheric mercury monitoring; (4) Biota mercury monitoring; (5) Human biomonitoring; and, (6) Cross-media data management and analysis. It also has an executive summary, a list of references to the publications cited, and an annex containing an overview of a tiered approach to monitoring mercury in the environment and in humans.
A supplement to the main guidance document, entitled “Supplementary material – guidance on monitoring of mercury and mercury compounds to support evaluation of the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention” (UNEP/MC/COP.4/INF/25), has two parts: part A, containing an overview of existing monitoring programmes organized by matrix (air, biota and human biomonitoring), an overview of existing gaps, and a non-exhaustive list of standard operating procedures; and part B, which contains an overview of quality assurance and quality control procedures in laboratory analysis and data management and a draft template for the submission of monitoring data.
Furthermore, the secretariat also facilitated the development of technical documents on monitoring of mercury in and around sites of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), through in situ and remote sensing methods to support parties in planning and implementing measures pursuant to article 7 of the Convention, and provide additional support to monitoring efforts in the context of evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention. The latest drafts of the technical documents on mercury monitoring in and around ASGM sites are available here.
Work on other reports for effectiveness evaluation
The decision also requests the Secretariat to advance the work by securing services for drafting a trade, supply and demand report, which includes mercury waste flows and stocks, and an Article 21 synthesis report. While some initial work on a trade report was foreseen for the second half of 2020, most of the work was foreseen for 2021 (funding from the General Trust Fund was provided for 2021). Work has begun on the Article 21 Synthesis report following the submission of the first short national reports. The full national reports were due 31 December 2021, the outcome of which will feed directly into the Article 21 Synthesis report.
Consultations on the framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention
Since the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties in September 2017, the Conference of the Parties, the Parties, the ad hoc technical expert group and the Secretariat have undertaken work in various areas to give full effect to Article 22 on effectiveness evaluation.
During the deliberations on the agenda item on effectiveness evaluation at the online segment of COP-4 (COP-4.1), the Secretariat presented the work done intersessionally as mandated by the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties through its Decision MC-3/10, namely on (i) the proposed indicators, (ii) advancing the work on drafting guidance on monitoring, and (iii) advancing the work on the synthesis report on national reporting under article 21, and a report on trade, supply and demand (which includes mercury waste flows and stocks).
At the online segment of COP-4 (COP-4.1) the Secretariat also presented an overview, as contained in Document UNEP/MC/COP.4/18 of the work mandated and done since COP-1 and the remaining areas of work needed for the Conference of the Parties to put in place the framework and arrangements for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention, and to conduct its first evaluation.
Article 22, paragraph 1 states that the Conference of the Parties shall evaluate the effectiveness of this Convention, beginning no later than six years after the date of entry into force of the Convention and periodically thereafter at intervals to be decided by it.
In view of Article 22, paragraph 1, at the online segment of COP-4 (COP-4.1), the President recalled that, following the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties, some Parties had initiated informal consultation on the items that had remained unresolved at that meeting and which had not been subject to further work under Decision MC-3/10. The representative of Norway reported on these consultations and introduced a proposal by Norway and Canada on a framework for the first effectiveness evaluation as was set out in a conference room paper for the fourth meeting (UNEP/MC/COP.4/CRP.1).
Following the ensuing discussion, there was general consensus that it was worthwhile pursuing discussions on issues on which consensus had yet to be reached to help avoid delays and ensure that the deadline for the establishment of the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention could be met.
The representative of the Secretariat informed participants at the online segment of COP-4 (COP-4.1) that the Secretariat would be in a position to invite written comments on the framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention, and arrange an online session to enable Parties to exchange views thereon in preparation for the resumed fourth meeting convening from 21 to 25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. The Conference of the Parties thus agreed to the holding of intersessional consultations organised in that manner. On 9 December 2021, the Executive Secretary sent a Communication to inform on the Secretariat’s plan of work to support the consultations on the framework in preparation for the resumed fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
In line with the plan of work, an information session was held on Wednesday, 15 December 2021.
Parties were invited to submit written comments on the framework by Thursday, 20 January 2022. The same deadline applied to stakeholders who may wish to provide input. The comments submitted are available in the online workspace on the framework.
On Tuesday, 25 January 2022 and Thursday, 27 January 2022, the Secretariat facilitated an online consultation session on the written comments received and provided the opportunity for additional comments to be made. The video recordings and presentations of the two parts of the session can be found here.
Thereafter, the Secretariat will compile the comments and input received in light of the consultations on the framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention, to support further consideration by the Conference of the Parties at the resumed fourth meeting under agenda item 4(i) on effectiveness evaluation.
The third Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (25-29 November 2019, Geneva, Switzerland) decided to include gender as a focus area of the Convention’s Programme of Work for the biennium 2020—2021 (Activity 13). Thanks to the generous financial support of Sweden, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention has undertaken to develop a gender roadmap with the objective of mainstreaming gender within its programme of work.
The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury invited Parties and interested stakeholders to submit, by December 13th, 2020, scientific, technical and policy information on gender and mercury following the indications on the Call for information on Gender and Mercury.
Information on integrating gender into national policies, plans, and actions, as well as material of a scientific or technical nature is sought, including studies, webinars and videos that explore:
- the impacts of mercury exposure on vulnerable groups, such as women and children;
- gender-differentiated relationships in producing, using, working with, or otherwise engaging with mercury;
- advocacy around controlling use and exposures;
- gender relationship across all sectors – mining, energy, manufacturing processes, consumer products, such as cosmetics and other mercury-added products, and mercury waste management.
Previous intersessional work
Check the overview schedule in PDF format here.
NOTE: To support working conditions especially for an online setting the working times of the COP seek to take account of global time zones. Sessions ought to take place in the planned allocated time/Sessions ought not to exceed planned allocated time.
|19:45 - 20:45
|21:00 - 22:15
Organized by the Minamata Convention Secretariat. Register here.
|13:00 - 14:00
Organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer - Caribbean Region and Ministry of Natural Resources, Government of Guyana. Register here.
|19:45 - 20:45
Organized by the Minamata Convention Secretariat. Register here.
|15:00 - 17:00
Item 1: Opening of the meeting
Item 2: Organizational matters
Item 6: Programme of work and budget
|17:30 - 19:30
Item 7: Dates of the resumed fourth meeting; venue and dates of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Item 4: Matters for consideration or action by the Conference of the Parties
|15:00 - 17:00
|17:30 - 19:30
|15:00 - 17:00
Consideration of the outcome of the contact group on POW/budget
Item 4: Matters for consideration and/or action by the Conference of the Parties
|17:30 - 19:30
Regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP-4
Similar to the first segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4) which will was held online from 1 to 5 November 2021, in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the COP-4 bureau agreed that the regional preparatory meetings for the online segment of COP-4 would be held online. The one-day online meetings were organized in September‐ October 2021, with interpretation provided in 3 regions. The objective of the meetings was to give Parties in the regions the possibility to hear briefings, exchange views and consult each other on the items of the provisional agenda to be considered during the online segment of COP-4. The programmes of the online regional preparatory meetings were prepared in close cooperation with the bureau members of the concerned regions.
The dates of the online regional preparatory meetings in 2021 were, as follows:
- Asia and the Pacific: 27 September 2021 (working language: English) on WebEx online platform. Provisional programme here.
- Africa: 4 October 2021 (working languages: English and French) on Interprefy online platform. Provisional programme here.
- Latin America and the Caribbean: 8 October 2021 (working languages: English and Spanish) on Interprefy online platform. Provisional programme here.
- Eastern European States: 11 October 2021 (working languages: English and Russian) on Interprefy online platform. Provisional programme here.
Participants were invited to consult the meeting documents of the online segment of COP-4 in advance of the online regional preparatory meetings. For any questions related to the meetings, please contact Lara Ognibene at lara.ognibene [at] un.org and mea-minamatameetings [at] un.org.
The online regional preparatory meetings were organized thanks to the generous financial support provided by the Government of Switzerland.
27 September 2021
04 October 2021
08 October 2021
11 October 2021
Besides the plenary sessions, a number of online events open to the public will discuss specific and regional issues in the framework of the Convention.
Side events are an important part of the Minamata Convention Conferences of the Parties. They provide an opportunity to exchange information and bring advances in technology, research, and materials of importance to the attention of Parties and to the global community that the Convention serves.
All sessions will be in English using WebEx platform.
Monday, 1 November 2021, 19:00 – 20:15 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
The Minamata Convention Secretariat, with financial support from France and Switzerland, is hosting an event that will highlight how parties to the Convention are accessing the capacity building and technical assistance support available through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Specific International Programme (SIP), party needs going forward into the next biennium, and how implementation issues, such as those indicated in national reporting, can be effectively addressed through the financial mechanism.
Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer, Ministry of Natural Resources, Government of Guyana
Tuesday, 2 November 2021, 11:00 – 12:00 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
This side event will disseminate knowledge products developed for regional capacity building on the Minamata Convention under the “Mercury-free Caribbean” awareness campaign; share project results, challenges, solutions and lessons learnt from the project “Development of National Action Plan for Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Co-operative Republic of Guyana” during the COVID-19 Pandemic; and provide insight on how results and lessons learnt from prior projects will be integrated into the three Caribbean child projects to be executed under the Global Environment Facility’s programme “Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-chemical Development in Small Island Developing States” (ISLANDS).
Tuesday, 2 November 2021, 17:45 – 18:45 CET
The Minamata Convention Secretariat organizes this Art Break for a conversation with Andrew Levitas, the Writer and Director, and Minami, who brings Aileen Mioko Smith to life in the film Minamata, a biopic on the American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, widely regarded as a master of the photo essay. The film traces his journey with Aileen Mioko Smith to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata in the early 1970s where he immerses himself in the community to document their efforts to live with Minamata Disease and their passionate campaign to achieve official recognition of the suffering and loss it entailed.
UN Environment Programme, Global Mercury Partnership, Minamata Secretariat, Pure Earth Colombia, Zimbabwe Environmental Management Agency
Wednesday, 3 November 2021, 11:00 – 12:00 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
COP-3 requested the Secretariat, in cooperation with the Global Mercury Partnership, to improve the guidance on the preparation of National Action Plans (NAP) for Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) regarding management of its tailings. The revised version of the NAP guidance is to be presented for consideration and possible adoption at COP-4. The side event will present an update on the NAP guidance document revision, and share key findings from the technical document “Sound Tailings Management in ASGM” by providing practical recommendations for the countries in their efforts to manage the ASGM tailings sector in a sound manner.
UN Environment Programme
Wednesday, 3 November 2021, 17:45 – 18:45 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
As part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of UNEP in 2022, this side event will raise awareness on the important role of UNEP in safeguarding the environment and, by extension, human health by facilitating the creation and implementation of environmental agreements such as the Minamata Convention. The event will also shed light on how the entry into force of the Minamata Convention is one of the key milestones in the history of UNEP and international environmental governance, which can provide insights into how UNEP and the international community could further catalyse joint action to address the triple environmental crises – namely, climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste.
Biodiversity Research Institute, Global Mercury Partnership – Fate and Transport Partnership
Thursday, 4 November 2021, 11:00 – 12:00 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
Over the past 18 months, members of the Fate and Transport Partnership and other scientists have generated a guidance document for monitoring mercury to support the implementation of the requirements stated in Article 22 (Effectiveness Evaluation) of the Minamata Convention. This side event aims to describe the resulting document generated called the “Guidance on Monitoring of Mercury and Mercury Compounds to Support the Effectiveness Evaluation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury” (UNEP/MC/COP.4/INF/12), and its supplementary material.
Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada, Government of Canada, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)
Thursday, 4 November 2021, 17:45 – 18:45 CET. Watch the video recording of the event.
This side event will showcase the partnership approach to mercury monitoring in Canada with Indigenous Peoples and federal and sub-national government entities as practiced through the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP). The event will describe this unique approach to contaminant monitoring, which has been extremely successful in generating capacity, experience, knowledge and data with regards to contaminant (including mercury) research in the Canadian Arctic; so other countries and organizations can use this model to advance partnerships with Indigenous Peoples in monitoring efforts and to further the holistic generation of information related to mercury.
Switzerland (Federal Office for the Environment), Ghana (Environment Protection Agency)
Monday, 1 November 2021, 17:45 – 18:45 CET
Mercury waste, including mercury in e-waste is an issue that touches on each country individually, and collectively once it is transported outside of its territory. The event will allow to debate the role of the Basel Convention in addressing the global e-waste challenge, including the opportunities and challenges that come with the Basel Convention e-waste amendment proposal of Ghana and Switzerland for the upcoming COP15. The aim of the amendment is to increase transparency through the monitoring of all e-waste moved across borders, protect vulnerable countries from unwanted imports, better protect the environment and human health, ensure state of the art recovery, contribute to the circular economy and increase sustainability of the whole recycling chain.
Information for Participants
Information for Participants
All registered and validated (with nomination letter) participants will receive an email to activate their COP-4 intranet account from where they can safely access all online sessions, including technical trials. Therefore, the Secretariat highly encourages delegations to finalize the nomination process in Kronos and submit the delegation letters soonest possible at mea-minamatameetings [at] un.org.
Link to the COP-4 Intranet https://paperless.brsmeas.org/Intranet/
During the week of the COP, technical support will be available from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. CET.
Pre-registration for the Minamata COP-4 online segment, including submission of the required documentation, should be completed by Friday, 1 October 2021.
Focal points from governments and accredited organizations have received an e-mail containing an exclusive link, through which they can pre-register their delegation in the online system.
They must assign the role for each delegate, as appropriate and as outlined in the invitation letter.
Please make sure to send the official letter of nomination to complete the online registration, addressed to the Executive Secretary, by e-mail as a scanned attachment to: MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.
Once the Secretariat receives the official letter, the pre-registered participant(s) will be validated. Designated speakers and viewers will receive their respective login credentials a few days before the start of the meeting.
The platform used for online participants' registration and management (Kronos) was developed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This system is also used by other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) like CITES and the Ozone Secretariat.
For a step-by-step information on the registration process please check the Online Registration User Guide.
The plenary sessions of the online segment of COP-4 will take place on the Interprefy platform. To ensure that the platform functions well during the plenary sessions, all delegations and accredited organizations will be required to identify one spokesperson who may take the floor, while other representatives will be directed to participate in the meeting through the live stream link.
Parties and governments
An official nomination letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a note verbale from the Permanent Mission of the party to the United Nations Office at Geneva will be required for pre-registration. Please send pre-registration documents to MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.
Nominations can be submitted specifically for participation in the online segment of COP-4. Alternatively, they can be submitted for participation in both the online and the in-person segments of the meeting.
Once the Conference of the Parties has agreed on the dates of the in-person segment, an invitation letter specific to the in-person segment will be sent. Parties will then be able to nominate representatives to the in-person segment, or to submit updated nominations for the in-person segment as needed if nominations were previously sent for both segments.
Credentials of parties
In order to take part in decision-making at the meeting, parties must be accredited. Credentials for the head of delegation, alternate representatives and advisers are issued either by the Head of State or Government or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I n the case of a regional economic integration organization, credentials should be issued by the competent authority of that organization. Information regarding any change in the composition of the delegation should be submitted using the same procedure.
Parties are invited to submit original or electronic versions of credentials by Monday, 4 October 2021 to facilitate the clearance process. Considering the exceptional circumstances of the online segment, if credentials have not been submitted by 4 October 2021, electronic copies of credentials must be submitted by email no later than 6 p.m. Geneva time (UTC + 2) on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.
The COP-4 Bureau, at its meeting of 16 June 2021, agreed on its approach for preparing the report on credentials for the two segments of COP-4. Bureau members agreed that if copies of credentials in good order were submitted instead of originals, they would accept such copies with the understanding that the originals would be submitted as soon as possible thereafter.
Credentials can be submitted specifically for the online segment of COP-4. Alternatively, they can be submitted to cover both segments of the meeting.
Once the dates of the in-person segment are agreed on by COP-4, an invitation letter specific to the in-person segment will be sent. Parties will then be able to submit credentials for their representatives for the in-person segment, or update the credentials for their representatives for the in-person segment as needed if credentials were previously sent for both segments.
Original credentials should be sent to:
The Executive Secretary
Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
United Nations Environment Programme
Avenue de la Paix 8-14, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Electronic copies of credentials can be sent to MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org.
As per paragraph 6 of Article 23 of the Minamata Convention, any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, that is qualified in matters covered by the Convention and has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties as an observer may be admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object.
If your Organization wishes to attend the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, pre-registration for each participant should be submitted at your earliest convenience and no later than 1 October 2021.
Organizations who were approved to participate in the first, second and third meetings of the Conference of the Parties do not need to resubmit their application for admission. The list of these organizations can be found in documents UNEP/MC/COP.1/INF/16, UNEP/MC/COP.2/INF/19 and UNEP/MC/COP.3/INF/27.
Other Organizations should submit to the secretariat by e-mail: MEA-MinamataMeetings [at] un.org ( ) , at least two months prior to the opening of the meeting, an application for admission as an observer at meetings of the Conference of the Parties, including information demonstrating it is qualified in matters covered by the Convention. The secretariat will screen the applications to check their completeness and conformity with the requirements of the Convention.
Successful applications will be submitted to the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Further information with regard to the participation of observers in meetings of the Conference of the Parties may be found at: mercuryconvention.org/Meetings/Observers and through the invitation letter to the Minamata COP-4 sent to observers.
Information for members of the media wishing to attend the online segment of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, from 1-5 November 2021
Media professionals that represent bona fide media organizations (formally registered as a media organization in a country recognized by the United Nations General Assembly) are invited to attend the online segment of the Minamata Convention COP-4. By following the accreditation process, each journalist will be issued with credentials to enable access to the online sessions of plenary and side events.
Media admittance follows the usual Guidelines for Media accreditation and access.
Accreditation will be granted upon receiving valid press credentials, including each of the following:
- Completed Accreditation Form
- Letter of assignment on the official letterhead of a media organization signed by the publisher/assignment editor, editor-in-chief, or bureau chief, specifying the name and functional title of the journalist. Unsigned letters or e-mails will not be accepted;
- Photocopy of a valid press card/work pass; and
- Photocopy of passport/national ID card.
Please send the above mentioned documents to anna.garcia [at] un.org
Geneva-based journalists accredited to the UN (i.e., those with a blue badge issued by the United Nations Office in Geneva, UNOG) are also asked to complete the Application Form but not need further documentation.
For additional information concerning media registration for the online segment of COP-4, please get in touch with the Secretariat through Anna García, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer (anna.garcia [at] un.org).