Minamata Convention COP-5 (30 October-3 November): Here is what to expect

11 Oct 2023

The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-5) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 30 October to 3 November 2023.

COP-5 Press Conference

The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-5) will take place in person from Monday, 30 October to Friday, 3 November 2023 at the International Conference Centre (CICG) in Geneva, Switzerland. Read our media advisory and watch the press conference here.

More than eight hundred participants – including Parties’ representatives, non-parties governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN bodies and NGOs – are already confirmed to attend the meeting. For the members of the press wishing to attend the open events of the Conference, please fill out the application form for media accreditation and follow the instructions here.

Some highlights of the Conference will be:

COP Plenary: During plenary sessions, the official meeting documents will be discussed in order for the COP to make decisions on matters such as:

  • The phase-out dates for mercury-added products and the availability of non-mercury alternatives for two industrial processes. The COP will also consider amendment proposals from the Africa Region, including additional lighting categories for the complete phase-out of all fluorescent lamps, further measures and elimination of 1ppm threshold for skin lightening products, and a 2030 phase-out date for dental amalgam.
  • Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), which remains the largest source of mercury use and emissions globally. The COP recalls the relevance of engaging Indigenous Peoples as well as local communities in the work to reduce and eliminate mercury use on this informal sector including in development and implementation of National Action Plans.
  • The impact of mercury use in ASGM on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The recent adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework was a major milestone for the world and the Minamata Convention. The Secretariat has identified activities to be carried out in the biennium regarding pollution reduction.
  • The conclusion of the second review of the Convention's financial mechanism (GEF and Specific International Programme). There is a need to increase efforts to augment funding in the Specific Trust Fund to continue its direct support to developing country parties in their implementation of the Convention.
  • The first full national reports on measures taken to implement the Convention at the national level, which were submitted by 95% of Parties. The Implementation and Compliance Committee examined issues based on such submissions and made recommendations to COP-5 relating to, inter alia, informal primary mercury mining, the identification of stocks, and exports which are not in compliance with the Convention.
  • The adoption of indicators to monitor the effectiveness of the Convention. COP-5 will also consider the end date of the first effectiveness evaluation, and the establishment of the Effectiveness Evaluation Group to develop recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of the Convention.
  • Emissions, releases and waste. For mercury releases to land and water, the COP will consider adopting draft guidance on BAT/BEP prepared by the Group of Technical Experts. Regarding waste, COP-5 is expected to adopt thresholds for mercury waste contaminated with mercury or mercury compounds.
  • Gender and knowledge management. The COP will consider the Gender Action plan and a digital strategy to guide its work to better support parties in the implementation of the Convention.
  • The Minamata Convention's contribution to the global environmental agenda. The COP may welcome the opportunity for the Convention Secretariat to become an observer at the meetings of the UN Climate Change Conferences and the adoption of the Global Framework on Chemicals that was recently adopted at the ICCM5 Conference in Bonn, requesting the Secretariat to further collaborate with them.

Special activities such as:

  • Special COP-5 Event: Mercury in cosmetics – more than what meets the eye (Tuesday 31 Oct. at 13h15, CICG), co-organized by the Global Environment Facility and the UN Environment Programme, aims to reveal negative effects of skin lightening that is often perpetuated by harmful cultural norms.
  • Special COP-5 event: Minamata Convention: A Decade of Global Commitment to Make Mercury History (Monday, 30 October, at 13h15, CICG and streamed on YouTube), co-organized with the Geneva Environment Network. Through an interactive roundtable, at this event, stakeholders will share their views and provide insights into the Convention's progress over the past ten years, and express their hopes for the future. It will feature diverse voices, including representatives from Parties, NGOs, financial mechanism, Indigenous Peoples, and artists engaged in environmental causes, who will be invited to reflect on what the Convention means to them.
  • Minamata movie projection (Sunday, 29 October, at 18h15, CICG), presented by film Director Andrew Levitas, two Members of the Minamata Disease Mutual Aid Society and Minamata Convention Executive Secretary. Free, and co-organized with the Geneva Environment Network.
  • During the COP-5 week, participants can visit the #MakeMercuryHistory Photo Exhibition, at CICG. This exhibition is part of the #MakeMercuryHistory Photo Contest 2022 that the Secretariat organized. Winners and the virtual photo exhibition were announced during World Environment Day and the virtual exhibition is accessible online.
  • Knowledge labs: designed to spur discussion and exchange of information during COP-5.
    • 13 knowledge labs events which will run from Tuesday 31 Oct. to Friday 3 Nov. at 14-14h45 at CICG, open space.
    • 3 events organized by Parties, 10 events organized by stakeholders – academia, IGOs, NGOs, including 2 from Indigenous peoples’ organizations.

For more detailed information on the meeting, you can check the briefing co-organized with the Geneva Environment Network on COP-5 preparations. The complete list of COP-5 documents can be found on the Convention's webpage.

Among the high-level participants, COP-5 will include:

  • Roger Baro, Minister of Environment, Water and Sanitation, Burkina Faso
  • Thierry Kamach, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Central African Republic
  • Claudia Dumitru, President of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Romania.
  • Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Tani Yoichi, Minamata Convention on Mercury Promotion Network (MicoNet) the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims (Sunday 29 and Monday 30 Oct.)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sato, Members of the Minamata Disease Mutual Aid Society (Sunday 29 and Monday 30 Oct.)
  • Andrew Levitas, filmmaker and professor (Sunday 29 and Monday 30 Oct.)
  • Amira Adawe, Director, Beautywell (Tuesday 31 Oct.)
  • Kheris Rogers, Flexin’ In My Complexion (Tuesday 31 Oct.)
  • Meera Senthilingam, Editor CNN (Tuesday 31 Oct.)

The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-5) will be pivotal for the future work of the Convention and the protection of human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. All official information related to the event is published on the Convention's website in a special section dedicated to COP-5.

For a deeper dive into the media-related aspects of COP-5 and the Minamata Convention, including the topics, events and key dates of the meeting, as well as the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the treaty, please read the media advisory and watch our press conference.

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