22 Jun 2017

Venue: NULL

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

Entry into Force of the Minamata Convention Preparations for COP1 

Following the deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification on 18 May 2017, the Minamata Convention on Mercury is set to enter into force on 16 August 2017. A Chemicals and Waste briefing organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network took place at the International Environment House II, on Thursday, 22 June in preparation of the First Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP1).

Minamata COP1 will take place in Geneva, from Sunday, 24 September to Friday, 29 September. The Minamata High Level Segment, hosted by the President of the Swiss Confederation convenes from Thursday, 28 September to Friday, 29 September to Make Mercury History. The Minamata COP1 will be preceded by regional and other preparatory meetings on Saturday, 23 September and the morning of Sunday, 24 September. In addition, alongside Minamata COP1 a number of mercury-related activities and events will form part of Mercury Week that begins formally on Friday, 22 September at the World Health Organisation.

This briefing preceded the Minamata Regional Preparatory meetings convening in July, and will serve as first opportunity to introduce the main substantive and strategic items for COP1 preparations.

The Minamata briefing was followed by further updates from Chemicals and Waste and the outcomes of recent meetings and negotiations.


Coffee & Tea

Welcome and Introduction:
Jacob DUER, Principal Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Chemicals and Health Branch, UN Environment
Carlos MARTIN-NOVELLA, Deputy Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat

Minamata Convention on Mercury

Preparations towards the First meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Geneva, 24-29 September 2017)
Claudia TEN HAVE, Senior Programme Coordination Officer, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention
Stéphanie LARUELLE, Programme Officer, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention

Remarks from the host country
Michel TSCHIRREN, Waste & Chemicals Focal Point, Global Affairs Section, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

Followed by questions and comments

Updates from Chemicals and Waste

Update on the Special Programme for Chemicals and Waste
Jacob DUER, Principal Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Chemicals and Health Branch, UN Environment

Outcomes of the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (Geneva, 24 April-5 May 2017)
Kei OHNO WOODALL, Programme Officer, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat

Followed by questions and comments


The next Chemical and Waste Briefing will take place on 12 September 2017 in Geneva.


(see also presentation and video below)

Jacob Duer

  • 65 countries have now ratified the Minamata Convention.
  • On 18 May, Romania deposited the 50th ratifcation triggering the entry into force countdown of the Convention.
  • Minamata Convention will enter into force on 16 August and will be legally binding for its parties.
  • Other countries have already came up with an internal agreement on the Convention and are just expected to finalize the process of ratification in the upcoming weeks.
  • The deadline for submission of ratification papers to depositary body at UN Headquarters to be able to take part in COP1 is 26 June midnight (NY time) .
  • The first COP will take place from 24 to 29 September in Geneva.
  • A high level segment to wich all countries are invited will be hosted by the President of the Government of Switzerland. An invitation was already sent to the Ministers.
  • COP1 is organized under the heading “Make Mercury History”.
  • Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury has been supporting countries towards the ratification of the Minamata Convention.
  • Key support from the Global Environment Facility, a strong partner of the convention – through capacity building. 102 countries supported for the implementation of the Minamata Initial Assessment. In past three years. Over 100 million projects supporter by GEN in past three years.
  • Many countries are being supported to address the issue of small scale gold-mining and 32 are being supported for the implementation of national action plan.
  • Deadline for funding of COP1 is 23 June 2017. More information here : http://mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/ParticipantsInformation/tabid/5915/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  • A special event for Minamata Convention entry into force will take place in Minamata, Japan, on 2 July.
  • Next Chemicals and Waste Briefing in Geneva in preparation of Minamata Convention COP1 will take place on 12 September.

Carlos Martin-Novella

  • Successful triple COPs (28 April-4 May) and high level segment in Geneva and thanked presidents of the COPs.
  • The Basel Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat is now organising the Scientific Committees Meetings for Rotterdam Convention (13th Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee) and the Stockholm Convention (13th Chemical Review Committee) that will take place in Rome in October 2017. More information here: http://www.pic.int/Default.aspx?tabid=4215&meetId=A4CC98B7-1F50-E711-9D0B-005056937F29&lang=en

Claudia Ten Have

  • Mercury week will take place in Geneva from 22 to 28 September 2017.
  • The 1st Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP1) will be held at the International Conference Center Geneva, from 24 to 29 September.
  • Registration will start on Saturday 23 September. 
  • Regional preparatory meetings will take place on Saturday 23 afternoon and Sunday 24 morning.
  • The Swiss presidency is organizing a reception on the evening Saturday 23 September to give the opportunity for national representatives that have already arrived to meet.
  • The High Level Segment Session will take place on Thursday 28 as of 3 p.m. to Friday 29 September 1 p.m. hosted by the President of Swizerland.
  • The three selected theme for thematic sessions taking place from 25 to 27 September 2017 are “Air”, “Ocean” and “Land”. It will provide an opportunity to look at mercury under all its forms and to bring the discussion beyond.
  • MIA Clinic will be organized to show case of what has been done and interact on this.
  • Exhibition area featuring implementation of the Convention through a mercury lifecycle journey.
  • One of the aims of Mercury week is to take Minamata to other foras: WHO, Human Rights Council, etc.
  • The UN Environment Assembly in december will focus on pollution and the outcomes of Minamata COP.
  • The Minamata Convention documents for COP1 are available here : http://mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/tabid/5544/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  • COP1 to adopt rules of procedure and financial rules for itself and any of its subsidiary bodies.
  • Report on the provisions for the arrangements of the permanent secretariat of the Minamata Convention and offer of the Swiss government to host the Secretariat will be discussed taking into account the clarifications requested in Jordan.
  • Guidance to the GEF on overall strategies, policies, programme priorities and eligibility for financial resources adopted on a provisional basis, is pending formal adoption at COP1. MoU between the GEF Council and the Minamata COP agreed pending further action by COP1.
  • Guidance to, and governance of, the Specific International Programme forwarded to COP1 for further consideration.
  • First 15 members of the implementation and Compliance Committee to be elected at COP1.

Stephanie Laruelle

  • List of forms and guidance provisionally adopted or agreed upon by INC for COP1 adoption (see presentation below) available at http://mercuryconvention.org/Implementationsupport/Formsandguidance/tabid/5527/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  • The convention opens up for exemptions to the phase-out dates for articles 4 and 5, as captured in Annex A and Annex B. If a Party seeks an exemption to the phase-out dates, they have to seek such an exemption upon becoming a Party to the Convention – Secretariat: Form and Statement (5 years). COP may decide, at the request of the Party, to extend the exemption for up to another 5 years. No party may have an exemption in effect after 10 years after the phase-out date listed in Annex A or Annex B.
  • Technical submissions by governments on Issues for COP1 are available at http://mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/submissionsforCOP1/tabid/5535/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  • Online pre-registration: https://meetings.unog.ch/meetings/COP1/registration
  • Deadline for funding requests to attend COP1 is 23 June.
  • Further practical information about COP1, including on hotels near the meeting venue, visa and other logistical issues, models for credentials available at : http://mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/COP1/ParticipantsInformation/tabid/5915/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  • Credentials required to take part in the decision making process. Originals to be submitted by 3 p. m. on 25 September 2017, advance copy preferably by 15 September 2017.
  • States that have not ratified by 1 July will be observers at COP1. NGOs can apply for admission as observer, through submission of information including on qualification in matters covered by the Minamata Convention.
  • Preparatory meetings will take place on: 5 to 7 July in Bangkok for Asia and Pacific, from 11 to 13 July in Johannesburg for Africa, from 12 to 13 July in Brno for Europe, and from 25 to 28 July in Buenos Aires for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Michel Tschirren

  • The Entry into Force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is an important milestone. It marks a crucial step in the protection of our earth and the people.
  • Switzerland will celebrate the Entry into force here in Geneva with the countries that have already ratified the convention. The invitations to Ambassadors for this Celebratory Lunch on 10 July have been sent through the missions.
  • The Entry into Force means that COP1 will take place as planned. It is a great honor and pleasure for the Government of Switzerland to host the first Conference of the parties to the Minamata convention in September 2017, here in Geneva.
  • Switzerland will have the presidency of the first COP.
  • We are excited about this important event. The Government of Switzerland is in the process for preparing for it and pleased about the very good collaboration with the Minamata secretariat.
  • To get everyone on board for the common way forward the President of Switzerland invited countries and its Ministers from around the world to the High Level Segment of COP1.
  • We expect many Ministers to attend the High Level Segment.
  • The President of Switzerland, Ms. Doris Leuthard, and our State Secretary, Mr. Marc Chardonnens. will both attend the HLS.
  • The HLS is foreseen to take place at the CICG and the Ministerial Dinner in the Palais des Nations.
  • In the HLS there will be a plenary session, a celebratory moment, ministerial roundtables and a high-level dialogue. Details are beeing worked out and discussed at the upcoming bureau meeting.
  • Switzerland will host two receptions at COP1: A welcoming reception on Saturday evening 23 September to allow delegates to get together for relaxed discussions across regions. And a reception, the “Swiss Break” on Tuesday evening 26 September, to give everyone a break from work. We are looking forward to welcoming you all.
  • As the incoming COP presidency Switzerland intents to be represented in some of the regional preparatory meetings to hear about expectations and questions that countries might have for COP1. We would like to answer possible questions on the COP1 or on the Swiss offer regarding the secretariat.
  • As incoming presidency, we want to have a good understanding of the different concerns, wishes and needs of the different regions and Parties for COP1.
  • As you know, Switzerland has put forward an offer to host the Minamata secretariat in Geneva and integrate in into the existing BRS structure. The offer was tabled in June 2015. It was presented and discussed several times and we have listened carefully to the support, the reactions, the questions and the concerns of other countries.
  • Switzerland is currently preparing a document that further clarifies the Swiss offer and its implications. The document will be ready shorty and in time for the regional preparatory meetings that take place in July.
  • In the context of the regional preparatory meetings I would also like to mention that with the financial support from Switzerland, UNIDO organizes back to back with the regional preparatory meeting of the CEE region, a meeting on the Minamata Convention with the focus on the environmentally sound management of mercury waste in a regional context. I encourage delegates participating in the regional preparatory meeting to seize the opportunity and also join the meeting. It will take place on 11 July 2017 in Brno, Czech Republic. 

Jacob Duer on Special Programme

  • Special programme : 38 applications from 36 countries on second round for applications. More information here : http://www.unep.org/chemicalsandwaste/special-programme
  • Acknowledgement to Austria, EU, Finland, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, US for their contributions to the Special Programme Trust Fund.

Kei Ohno Woodall

  • 1400 participants & 160 parties attended BRS meas COPs meetings. 
  • 24 Basel Convention, 17 Rotterdam Convention and  27 Stockholm Convention decisions adopted.


More information and documents:


Full video of the event: https://www.facebook.com/GenevaEnvironmentNetwork/videos/vb.157208263017/10156671405708018/?type=2&theater