27 Sep 2017

Venue: Maison de la Paix

Organization: Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

The Hg Week in Geneva

From 24 to 29 September 2017, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury will gather representatives from around the world at the International Conference Centre in Geneva. In parallel, a week of activities – the “Hg Week” – will be organized in different places of the city to raise the awareness of the public about mercury, its uses, its effects, and how the Minamata Convention contributes to the global solution.

The Convention indeed aims at protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury. It sets for that purpose measures to control mercury’s entire life cycle and includes provisions dealing with the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Make Mercury History along the Gold Supply Chain

Since the earliest time of gold mining, mercury was used to extract gold. This practice is still ongoing in more than 70 countries, where 10 to 15 million artisanal and small-scale gold miners use mercury to recover gold. It is the world’s largest source of mercury pollution, emits toxic vapours and releases large quantities of mercury, harming the miners, their communities, and the environment.

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining produces about 12 to 15% of the world’s gold. It is a complex global development issue, however exposure of miners and their communities to the terrible effects of mercury can be reduced in simple and cost effective ways.

The session explored how each actor of the gold supply chain – many of which are represented in Switzerland –  has a responsibility and a role to play towards mercury-free gold production and the sustainable development of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector.


Liliana ANDONOVA, Academic Co-Director, Centre for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Developement Studies

Erik SOLHEIM, Executive Director, UN Environment

Panel Discussion
Daniela COLAICOVO, Co- founder and Director of Goldlake Group, Italy
Wilfried HOERNER, former co-CEO – Argor Heraeus, Switzerland
Laurent FAVRE, Founder A. Favre & Fils, Switzerland
Laura GERRITSEN, Value-chain Manager, Fairphone, Netherlands
Jean LAVILLE, Deputy CEO, Swiss Sustainable Finance
Marc HUFTY, Programme Lead, Centre for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Developement Studies


Moderator: Nawal AIT-HOCINE, Sustainability and Impact Director, Transparence SA

Transparence SA has been a key driver in the Swiss market for business engaging with the ASM sector, since 2009 worked with SECO on the design and development of the Better Gold Initiative, the first public private partnership in the ASM goldsector with the aim to improve market access for responsibly produced gold. Since 2012 Transparence has worked with SBGA members on business models to create inclusive value chains from mine to market for ASM.

More information and documents

Watch the Video of the event.