The Government of Indonesia as well as the United Nations have sought support and commitment from parties to the Minamata Convention for a Bali Declaration on combatting Global Illegal Trade of Mercury.
About Minamata Convention for a Bali Declaration
- Consensus is building among various stakeholders meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to adopt a non-binding declaration that will enhance international cooperation and coordination for combatting illegal trade in mercury, a major pollutant globally.
- The issue is being discussed at the second round of the fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4.2).
- The non-binding declaration calls upon parties to:
- Develop practical tools and notification and information-sharing systems for monitoring and managing trade in mercury
- Exchange experiences and practices relating to combating illegal trade in mercury, including reducing the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining
- Share examples of national legislation and data and information related to such trade
- The Bali Declaration also serves as a sign that Indonesia not only acts as the host of the Minamata Convention COP-4 but also actively contributes in fighting illegal mercury trade.
- The other points within the declaration encompass the promotion of education, research, and study; promotion of third-party cooperation, such as donor, and e-commerce; and improvement of technical capacity and support.
- An alarming increase in global illegal mercury trade, notably in the artisanal and gold mining (ASGM) sector prompted Indonesia to propose a non-binding Bali Declaration on combating it.
- Indonesia was one of the most-affected countries due to illegal trade in mercury in ASGM.
- Globally, 10-20 million people work in the ASGM sector and many of them use mercury on a daily basis.
- Countries from Africa, Asia-Pacific and the European Union too have expressed their support for the Bali Declaration.
About Minamata Convention on Mercury
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the most recent global agreement on environment and health. It was adopted in 2013 and entered into force August 16, 2017.
- The convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata. This naming is of symbolic importance as the city went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning.
- Some 137 parties or countries from Africa, Asia-Pacific, eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, western Europe and other regions have been working together to control the supply and trade of mercury, reduce the use, emissions and release of mercury, raise public awareness and build necessary institutional capacity since 2017.
- The Minamata Convention is a powerful tool in our collective effort to rid the planet of toxic substances.
- It is essential to tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.
- Ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones
- The phase-out and phase-down of mercury use in several products and processes
- Control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water
- The regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
- The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
- Countries that have ratified the Convention are bound by international law to put these controls in place and India has ratified the Convention.
- The Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF) is one of the two components of the financial mechanism of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, together with the Specific International Programme.
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