Executive Briefing on the Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury
19 Oct 2021
Venue: Online | Webex
This Executive Briefing on the online segment of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) was organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network.
About the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury
Under the presidency of Indonesia, the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention will be held in two segments: a first segment to be conducted online from 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment to be conducted in-person in the first quarter of 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.
At this executive briefing, the Minamata Convention secretariat outlined the items of the COP-4 agenda to be considered during its online segment and provided an overview of logistical aspects such as the organization of work, practical arrangements, and other technical matters related to the participation in the online segment.
Welcome and Introduction
- Monika Stankiewicz | Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
- H.E. Amb. Grata Werdaningtyas | Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, World Trade Organizations, and Other International Organizations in Geneva
Information on the Online Segment of the Minamata Convention COP-4
- Monika Stankiewicz | Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention Secretariat
- Claudia ten Have | Senior Policy Coordination Officer; Minamata Convention Secretariat
- Marianne Bailey | Programme Officer for Capacity-building and Technical Assistance, Minamata Convention Secretariat
- Anna García Sans | Communications and Knowledge Management Officer, Minamata Convention Secretariat
Monika Stankiewicz | Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
- COP4 will be held in two parts: online (COP4.1) on 1-5 November 2021 and physically (COP4.2) on 21-25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia
- The online segment will be held at the time of important processes taking place. One such process is the 8th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility which is currently being shaped including the GEF strategic directions. The countries will soon come up with their pledges to GEF. The timely and effective implementation of the Minamata Convention relies on its financial mechanism consisting of two distinct but complementary parts: GEF and the specific international program administrated by the Convention.
- The Convention is young and the needs are vast. They’re not about filling in gaps in the implementation but often about starting the implementation: Phasing out mercury added products that we often use in our daily lives and phasing down mercury in industrial processes, controlling emissions from major industries such as coal-fired power plants, cement clinker production, non-ferrous industries and waste incineration facilities. It is also about reducing and eliminating use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining and controlling trade of mercury.
- There are three proposals to amend the annexes to the Convention on those issues that are put forward by the Parties – African region, Canada, Norway, the EU and its member states. These proposals will be considered at COP4.
- A sizable fund allocation to the implementation of the chemicals and waste conventions will lead to immediate and concrete reductions in mercury and is simply necessary also to contribute to a successful implementation of other conventions that GEF served.
- I also invite you to attend a side event which will be focused on financial mechanism of the Convention during COP4, which is put together by the Secretariat’s partners and countries to showcase what we have achieved so far and what will be or should be the next steps.
- The Secretariat has been closely collaborating with the president of COP4 to prepare for the two segments and I would like to express my deep appreciation to Indonesia, our host country for the support and commitment to the Convention, taking the circumstances of the pandemic.
- The commitment of the Indonesian government to hold the second segment of COP4 in person and in a safe manner really stands out and has been a solid basis of our plan to achieve concrete and tangible results.
H.E. Amb. Grata Werdaningtyas | Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, World Trade Organizations, and Other International Organizations in Geneva
- Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention and the Geneva Environment Network for organizing this briefing. On behalf of the government of Indonesia, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Secretariat for its continued support and close cooperation in the preparation of COP4.
- The purpose of this briefing is to give you an update on the preparation of COP4, particularly the online segment, COP4.1.
- Indonesia offered to host COP4 and none of us predicted that such tremendous challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic would happen. Over the last two years, our preparation for COP4 have been facing many difficulties due to the pandemic. We have to frequently adjust logistical, financial, health and security arrangements. The government of Indonesia fully understand that being selected as the host is both a great honor and also a big responsibility. Therefore, despite numerous challenges related to the pandemic, we are committed and are always working to remain creative and innovative to modify methods of organizing COP4 in close coordination with the Secretariat.
- The online segment, COP4.1, will discuss agenda items such as the program of work, budget, national reporting, and financial mechanisms
- We also proposed a political declaration on combating illegal trade on mercury. Other substantive matters will be discussed in the in-person meetings, COP4.2.
- The virtual setting often causes some difficulty as different parts of the globe have different Internet speed and stability, including different time zones. Indonesia, together with the other bureau members and the Secretariat is organizing several technical and consultative sessions to facilitate a feedback exchange prior to the online segment.
- For the physical segment, holding a large-scale and in-person meeting in this current situation present a daunting challenge. We believe that by that time in 2022, COVID-19 cases will be under control so travel restrictions could be lifted. We will welcome delegates to Bali but will impose rigorous health measures such as requesting delegates to get vaccinated and show negative PCR tests upon arrival to Indonesia.
- The pandemic should not stop or weaken our efforts to eliminate mercury. It is our collective obligation to contribute to ensuring health and well-being of our future generations by phasing out mercury. That is why despite all the challenges, Indonesia stand ready to work together with others and lead the way for a free mercury world.
Anna García Sans | Communications and Knowledge Management Officer, Minamata Convention Secretariat
- The pre-registration process for COP4.1 opened in August with local phones from governments. Accredited organizations received an e-mail containing an exclusive link to register their delegation and designated speakers. They will receive their respective login credentials a few days before the start of the meeting.
- The registration process for the online segment was completed on 1 October. We have received 705 nominated participants. Funding for Internet access is also available upon request for developing countries.
- For connectivity, we started before a process of gathering enough information from countries to ensure that we use the best available practices. The Secretariat has mapped the digital ecosystem and with six main platforms that we have implemented to cover all needs.
- We have recently launched our new website, which will be the central platform with official documents, schedule, regional meetings, meals, events and other practical information.
- Registration for both segments is being managed using Kronos, a participant and registration management system developed by CBD and widely used by MEAs (10 years, Ozone, CITES, CBD).
- The Intranet is a safe space for making available conference room papers. It is being developed by BRS and automatically integrated with Interprefy for the plenary sessions and WebEx for the other meetings, keeping the same roles defined at the registration system. Closer to the meeting, all accredited participants will receive an information package with access to the Intranet. To access all COP4.1 online sessions, participants need to go to the Intranet and click on the menu section. From there, they will be brought to the correspondent meeting platform.
- There is a dedicated online forum on budget documents in advance of the COP. Parties can also submit comments and questions to the Secretariat through the forum.
- Plenary sessions will be conducted using Interprefy in six UN languages. Delegations will be granted up to two speakers’ roles + viewer links for other delegation members. The contact group, side events and other meetings will be run on WebEx, with no interpretation and no limitation of speakers. The Secretariat will offer training sessions as well such as four technical sessions of two hours each prior to the COP for Interprefy and WebEX. All the information for participants, documents and meeting agenda is already available on the Intranet and the website – https://www.mercuryconvention.org/en/meetings/cop4
- Two speakers per delegation will be allowed to take the floor during the online segment. Other representatives of the delegations can follow the discussions as viewers and thus cannot request the floor nor send chat messages. Regional statements may be of a length of 3 minutes maximum. Longer speeches may be made available in writing to all participants through the intranet. List of regions likely to take the floor: African group, Asia-Pacific group, Eastern European group, Latin American and Caribbean (GRULAC) group, European Union (EU), JUSCANZ. Statements by individual Parties and observers can also be posted on the intranet page. Only interventions made orally will be part of the proceedings of the meeting and, accordingly, reflected in the meetings report. In the event you are not in a position to make your intervention orally, we invite you to send a private chat to the Secretariat. Your intervention will be forwarded to the President and read orally on behalf of your delegation, if time permits.
- COP4 will accept original credentials in good order, as well as copies of credentials in good order with the understanding that the originals will be submitted as soon as possible. Taking into consideration the exceptional circumstances of the online segment of the meeting, electronic copies of credentials are to be submitted by email no later than 6 p.m. Geneva time (UTC+2) on Tuesday, 2 November 2021 (on the second day of the online segment). Credentials can be submitted either only for COP4.1 or for both COP4.1 and COP4.2. In the former case, participants will be able to submit credentials following the invitation to attend CO-4.2 which will be circulated in due course. In the latter case, updates to the credentials will be possible ahead of COP4.2
Marianne Bailey | Programme Officer for Capacity-building and Technical Assistance, Minamata Convention Secretariat
- The Global Environment Facility is one of two parts of the financial mechanism of the Minamata Convention. The other part is the specific international program.
- GEF-8 will commence in July 2022 and continue for four years, until June 2026. The replenishment is the subject of negotiations under way within the GEF Assembly to determine the resource allocations and programming directions for GEF-8. The GEF Council is expected to take up the outcomes of the Assembly’s deliberations in June 2022 in a decision to open GEF-8. The third GEF-8 replenishment meeting (early 2022) is to finalize strategic positioning and programming directions document.
- GEF-8 Programming Directions for the Minamata-related sections are: Chemicals and Waste Focal Area such as the creation, strengthening and supporting of the enabling environment to transform the manufacture, use and sound management of chemicals and to eliminate waste and chemical pollution; Prevention of future build-up of harmful chemicals and waste in the environment; Elimination of harmful chemicals and waste containing or that can emit harmful chemicals from the environment. The Integrated Programs (systems transformation) include the elimination of hazardous chemicals from supply chains. Other IPs could also support Minamata Convention-related work, such as these IPs: Blue and Green Islands; Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes; and Sustainable Cities.
- The Conference of the Parties may wish to take note of the information herein regarding the timeline, funding priorities and draft programming directions that are the subject of deliberations for the GEF-8 replenishment. Parties may wish to further make use of the information in the context of their national processes relative to the GEF replenishment.
- Parties are invited to take the opportunity to make statements on the replenishment. Statements, as captured in the report of the Conference of the Parties in its fourth session, could help inform the replenishment planning discussions running from December 2021 to February 2022, including national processes related to the replenishment.
Claudia ten Have | Senior Policy Coordination Officer; Minamata Convention Secretariat
- The other substantive item that will be discussed at COP4.1 is national reporting. Paragraph 1 of article 21 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury provides that each party shall report to the Conference of the Parties, through the secretariat, on the measures taken to implement the provisions of the Convention and on the effectiveness of such measures and the possible challenges in meeting the objective of the Convention.
- MC-1/8: The full format consists of Parts A-E and in Part B contains 43 questions.
- MC-3/13: The Conference of the Parties, recognized the need for complete and consistent national reporting to provide information for the effectiveness evaluation and for supporting compliance, and requested the secretariat to prepare draft guidance for the full national reporting format to clarify the information being sought.
- We encourage Parties to use the draft guidance on a provisional basis to assist in preparing their full national reports, which are due by 31 December 2021. The full reporting format consists of five parts:
- Part A: requests information about the party and respondent
- Part B: contains the 43 questions to be answered by all parties every four years, while the short report contains four questions (indicated by an asterisk in the full format) to be answered every two years
- Part C: provides an opportunity for parties to comment on possible challenges in meeting the objectives of the Convention
- Part D: provides an opportunity for parties to comment on the reporting format and possible improvements
- Part E: provides an opportunity to add comments on each of the articles in free text if the party chooses to do so
- The draft reporting guidance consists of three sections: Section I: Outlines the reporting obligations under the Minamata Convention according to Article 21. Section II: Gives an overview of the draft guidance for completing the national reporting format. Section III: Sets out question-by-question notes and a suggested approach to complete the reporting format. The draft guidance is not intended to be manual on how to implement the articles and obligations of the Convention, but to guide Parties for the collection and collation of information needed to complete parts A to E.
- Paragraph 1 of article 22 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury stipulates that the Conference of the Parties is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Convention, beginning no later than six years after the date of entry into force of the Convention and periodically thereafter at intervals to be decided by it.
- In decision MC-3/10, the Conference of the Parties agreed on three areas of work to be carried out following its third meeting and in advance of its fourth meeting: indicators, guidance on monitoring, and reports provided for in the effectiveness evaluation framework.
- 4/18/Add.1 and INF/11: Indicators
- 4/18/Add.2 and INF/12: Advancing the work on drafting guidance on monitoring to maintain harmonized, comparable information on mercury levels in the environment
- 4/18, para 17: Advancing the drafting of the Article 21 synthesis report
- 4/18, para 18: Advancing of the drafting of the Trade, Supply and Demand report (which includes mercury waste flows and stocks
- For decision MC-3/10, the Conference of the Parties invited parties to submit views on the proposed indicators set out in annex I to the decision and requested the secretariat to compile those views in advance of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. To support parties in submitting their views on the proposed indicators and allow for the compilation of those views in advance of the fourth meeting, the secretariat developed a plan of work for the intersessional work on indicators, in consultation with the Bureau.
- In response to decision MC-3/10, an iterative and participatory process was set out to provide scientific and technical guidance to support the COP to obtain comparable monitoring data for the Effectiveness Evaluation.
- Since the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties, the Conference of the Parties, the parties, the ad hoc technical expert group and the secretariat have undertaken work in various areas to give effect to article 22 on effectiveness evaluation.
- Following the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties, some parties initiated informal consultations on items that remained unresolved at the third meeting and were not part of the work provided for in decision MC-3/10.
- COP-4.1 is to open the documents on effectiveness evaluation Plenary Monday: Presentation of the documents prepared for COP-4 Furthermore, as there have been party-led consultations further to intersessional work on the effectiveness evaluation, this provides the opportunity for the Conference of the Parties to be informed of these consultations too.
- COP-4.2 is to consider the documents and any other information the Conference of the Parties foresees on effectiveness evaluation Considerations of the intersessional work and party-led consultations will be opened during the in-person segment.
Question on side events:
The side events in the applications have been much more numerous than we had anticipated and we are concluding them. By the end of the week, we will know those that we can accommodate as well as some suggestions and consolidations. Another point to mention is we all hope to be able to go back to hybrid events. We have already started and the hybrid format will allow those who cannot be present in person to join this type of event.
Question on the political declaration of Indonesia:
Indonesia has come up with initiative to prepare a political declaration related to illegal trade. The initial idea and draft for this declaration has been put forward through the bureau so the parties could then consider it and to provide input. This has been happening during the last few weeks and we can expect that there will be more opportunities to contribute and to receive the draft in the weeks to come. There will be opportunities to see it and to contribute for all Parties who have an interest and are ready to join in on the topic, which is quite important for the Convention.
During some regional meetings, Indonesia has circulated the draft declaration to initial focal points and also delegates of each respective region. If some of you haven’t received the draft, we will circulate the draft again and, hopefully, have a discussion to get more inputs from delegates.
Question on opening statements and the possibility of NGOs to intervene:
We have limited time available and we have been asked to really keep to the available sessions also to respect that many Parties and stakeholders are calling in from many different corners of the world. In that regard, all Parties are asked to only prepare their statement. With regard to a regional voice, the president will call on regional statements during the opening of the COP. If there are other statements that you would like to put forward, including NGOs, please prepare them as written statements and we will make them available on the Intranet.
We thank all the participants and presenters for your time and the Minamata Convention is looking forward to meet you again at the online segment of COP4 on 1-5 November 2021.
In addition to the live WebEx and Facebook transmissions, the video is also available on this webpage.