Minamata Agreement Mercury

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The convention was the result of three years of meetings and negotiations, after which the text of the Convention was approved on 19 January 2013 in Geneva by delegates from nearly 140 countries and adopted and signed later this year at a diplomatic conference in Kumamoto, Japan. The convention is named after the Japanese city of Minamata. This designation is of symbolic importance because the city suffered a devastating incident of mercury poisoning. The international agreement is expected to improve the reduction of mercury pollution in the coming decades through targeted activities that are the main culprits in the release of mercury into the immediate environment. [2] Exposure to high levels of mercury can cause lasting damage to the brain and kidneys and has been shown to affect a developing fetus even months after the mother`s exposure. In the aquatic environment, mercury can be converted into methylmercury, a compound that is more toxic in low doses than pure mercury, absorbed by marine life, and then absorbed by humans and other animals that eat seafood. In 2005 and 2007, governments implemented and strengthened a mercury control program to address the issues raised. In 2007, the Governing Council concluded that options for strengthening voluntary measures and new or existing international legal instruments should be reviewed and evaluated in order to make progress in resolving the mercury issue. In February 2009, the UNEP Board of Directors decided to develop a legally binding global instrument for mercury. [7] As part of the conference, a Mercury Club was created to support the negotiation process for the legally binding instrument for mercury.

Three different types of awards, gold, silver and bronze, were awarded and determined “based on the amount of contributions received during the period between the 25th session of the UNEP Executive Board, when the decision to enter negotiations was taken, and the sixth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee.” [27] The winners included government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals.

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