The Open-ended Scientific Group (OESG) gathers in-person from 27 to 31 March in Geneva to put together a plan for data analysis and produce a progress report for COP-5.
The 42 scientists gathering in Switzerland made significant progress in compiling information and plans to prepare a report that will collect and analyze comparable monitoring data about how much mercury is in the environment, animals, and people. This work will guide the work of the first effectiveness evaluation of the Convention.
They considered the comments provided by Parties and other stakeholders on the draft plans developed by the OESG, formulated operational questions that will guide the analysis of data, and agreed on how to best structure their progress report to be submitted to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) in late October this year.
In her opening remarks, Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz, stressed the importance of science in underpinning the implementation of the Convention. She noted that, "after a long period of deliberations, COP-4 had finally agreed to start the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention” and that “this will not only provide a glimpse on whether the Minamata Convention is making a change towards making mercury history, but will also establish a baseline and give direction for future implementation of the Convention".
The OESG was established in March 2022, at COP-4 in Bali, when Parties agreed to start the first effectiveness evaluation of the Minamata Convention. The Group is chaired by Dominique Bally Kpokro, from Ivory Coast, and Terry Keating, from the United States of America.
To date, its 42 members nominated by the Parties make the OESG the largest body under the Minamata Convention. In addition, 108 experts are part of a roster of scientific and technical experts supporting the work of this scientific body.
Prior to its meeting in Geneva, the OESG had met six times online and drafted two of its main outputs: a plan for monitoring data compilation and a plan for emissions and releases data compilation.
The work of the OESG will continue through remote communication means, and they are expected to meet face-to-face again in the next intersessional period in 2024.