Statement by the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury at the UN Biodiversity SBSTTA-26

20 May 2024

Biodiversity and Health - Agenda item 9, SBSTTA-26 Plenary, 15 May 2024, afternoon session

Twenty-sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-26) and the fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-4)

13 - 29 May 2024 - Nairobi, Kenya


Good afternoon, Madam Chair, distinguished delegates. 

I speak on behalf of the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. 

We commend the work of the CBD Secretariat in the development of the draft Global Action Plan for Biodiversity and Health. The interlinkages between Health and Biodiversity are crucial for the three objectives of the CBD and for the overall achievement of the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 

Chemical pollution – which is one of the main components of the triple planetary crisis – and its impacts on people and nature must be integral elements in the global efforts to mainstream biodiversity and health. 

Mercury is a highly hazardous chemical and global pollutant that affects the health of hundreds of millions of people and acts as a contributor to the loss of biodiversity.

Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and particularly women and children among them, bear the brunt of the health impacts of mercury pollution with several assessments showing that their mercury levels are often significantly higher than the WHO reference level. The consequences can be devastating for present and future generations.

At its last meeting, in November 2023, the Minamata Convention COP recognized that Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities are particularly vulnerable to mercury pollution but also play a key role in achieving the objective of the Convention and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Minamata Convention COP also adopted an indicator to monitor global mercury levels in vulnerable human populations as part of the process to evaluate the effectiveness of the Convention.  

The Minamata Convention Secretariat sees the absence of indicators related to the health of Indigenous Peoples and local communities under Target 22 as an unfortunate omission in the monitoring framework of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

In summary, we would like to propose the inclusion, in the SBSTTA recommendation under this item, of further details for a process for improving the “monitoring elements for the Global Action Plan on Biodiversity and Health”, as contained in Enclosure I of document CBD/SBSTTA/26/8, and integration into the monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

We hope that Parties can support this intervention. 

The Minamata Convention Secretariat will submit this statement in writing.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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