GEF Council approves key funding for Minamata Convention to combat mercury use in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

21 Jun 2024

The 67th Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened in Washington, DC, from June 17 to 20 to deliberate on funding for a wide variety of projects and programs.


During the meeting, the GEF Council approved a new enabling activity for the Minamata Convention on Mercury to support eligible Parties in managing mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), helping them fulfill their obligations under Article 7. This activity, Reviews of the Implementation of Article 7 (RIAs), will now complement the Minamata Initial Assessments (MIAs) and the National Action Plans (NAPs) enabling activities. Approximately $18 million remains available in the GEF-8 for these three types of activities.

The Reviews of the Implementation of Article 7 will aid Parties in periodically checking their National Action Plans for the ASGM sector and reporting progress to the Minamata Convention Secretariat. These reports will detail efforts to reduce mercury use, progress on implementing National Action Plans, and achieved mercury reduction. Parties are also encouraged to contribute data to a global database, enhancing the collective understanding and management of mercury use in ASGM.

On Tuesday, 18 June, the Council heard from the heads of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz emphasized the GEF's role in promoting synergies, including between mercury and biodiversity action. She stated: "Article 7 remains a priority for national governments to ensure that artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) National Action Plans (NAPs) are living guides that engage all stakeholders in meaningful action."

"When implemented, the Minamata Convention will make a difference. Parties did the right thing by shaping Article 7 on reducing and eliminating mercury use in ASGM to prioritize eradicating the worst practices. The Global Environment Facility also did the right thing by supporting the implementation of the Convention. This is a transformation the world needs", she added.

Beyond ASGM, Parties to the Minamata Convention must intensify their efforts to meet their obligations to reduce emissions from four major sectors, implement the newly established waste threshold, and work on the total phaseout of key categories of mercury-added products as per the COP-5 amendments of the Convention. New and upcoming GEF programming is expected to build on the extensive work already accomplished  to address mercury-added products, including cosmetics and dental amalgam.

The 67th GEF Council approved the following Minamata Convention-related programs and projects.

Click here for a complete list of approved projects and programs.

The Minamata Convention Secretariat is committed to keeping the GEF Secretariat and implementing agencies informed about relevant Convention obligations, deadlines, and the progress Parties are making based on national reporting. 

At the meeting, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez was reappointed as CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He was elected for a second four-year term through 2028 by 32 Council members representing the GEF's 186 member countries. The Minamata Convention Secretariat greatly appreciates his leadership in this vital role.

For more detailed coverage of the event, visit the IISD ENB website.

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