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NGO coalition proposes text for a global mercury treaty

The NGO coalition known as the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG), of which HEAL is a part, has presented a concept paper for consideration by decision makers in the run up to the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC1) on Mercury, 7-11 June 2010 to be held in Sweden.

The working draft primarily addresses mercury supply and demand; financial/technical assistance; and associated issues related to trade, monitoring and reporting.

The draft sets out a series of compulsory obligations for the restriction of global mercury supply and demand, such as:

•A ban on new primary mercury mines in the short-term and the closure of existing mines by 2020;

•A ban on the export of liquid mercury and mercury compounds that can be converted to liquid mercury – except for the purpose of storage or sequestration;

•The scheduled phase-out of the manufacturing of certain mercury products, and an associated export ban so these products can no longer be dumped on the developing world;

•A licensing system for the export of mercury or mercury-added products when still allowed under the Convention;

•The phase-out of using mercury in certain manufacturing processes; and

•Trade restrictions with Non-Parties to discourage governments from attempting to seek an economic advantage by not becoming a Party to the Convention.

The ZMWG has placed emphasis on the export control of mercury and mercury products a there are fewer manufacturing and mercury supply sources than users or importers. The groups states that import controls have had limited success in many locations where small-scale gold mining is already an illegal activity.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) is an international coalition of more than 90 public interest environmental and health non-governmental organizations from 45 countries from around the world formed in 2005 by the European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project.

Read more about Mercury and health:

  ZMWG Fact sheet

  Stay Healthy, Stop Mercury

Written on 23 April 2010.



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