The Geneva Environment Network Secretariat organized a briefing to the Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva by the UNEP Mercury Negotiations Team, the host country and Switzerland, on the preparations of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Minamata Convention. The briefing was held at the International Environment House, on Monday 9 September.
In 2009, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council agreed on the need to develop a global legally binding instrument on mercury and to complete negotiations prior to the 27th session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, in 2013. The work to prepare this instrument has been undertaken by an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee supported by the Chemicals Branch of UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics.
At the fifth session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to prepare a global legally binding instrument on mercury, held in Geneva in January 2013, Governments successfully completed their negotiations. On Saturday, 19 January 2013, in the early morning, Governments agreed to the text of the global legally binding instrument on mercury and gave birth to the “Minamata Convention on Mercury”. The text will be presented for adoption and opened for signature at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, which will be held in Minamata and Kumamoto, Japan, from 9 to 11 October 2013. The Conference will be preceded by a Preparatory Meeting, from 7 to 8 October 2013, in Kumamoto.
Coffee & Tea
Welcome and Introduction
Jan DUSIK, Acting Director, Regional Office for Europe, UNEP
Overview of the Mercury Negotiations
Tim KASTEN, Head, Chemicals Branch, UNEP
Preparations of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries
Jacob DUER, Coordinator, Mercury Negotiations Team, Chemicals Branch, UNEP
Sheila LOGAN, Programme Officer, Mercury Negotiations Team, Chemicals Branch, UNEP
Remarks by Host Country
H.E. Toru MAEDA, Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva
Tsutomu MIZUTANI, Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva
Remarks on the Interim Phase
Luca ARNOLD, Head, Global Affairs Section, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment
Information on the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
David PIPER, Deputy Head, Chemicals Branch, UNEP
Light sushi lunch offered by the Government of Japan
General Introduction and Presentation of the Conference
Tim KASTEN provided a general introcution on the Mercury Negotiations (presentation available for download at the bottom of this page).
Jacob DUER, H.E. Toru MAEDA and Tsutomu MIZUTANI presented the upcoming conference and its preparatory meetings (presentations and tex available for download at the bottom of this page).
Swiss Remarks on the Interim Phase
Luca ARNOLD delivered some remarks on the interim phase.
- Switzerland has announced at INC5 in January 2013 in Geneva that it will support developing countries in the interim phase with the amount of 1 Mio. CHF
- Switzerland will substantially increase its pledge.
- The respective official announcement will be made by the Swiss Minister D. Leuthard at the Diplomatic Conference in Minamata/Kumamoto
- Support for developing countries will be provided for two areas: 1) to promote ratifications and 2) to support early implementation of the convention
- 1) To promote ratifications Switzerland will fund a project with UNITAR to assist countries by providing the necessary technical and legal expertise
- 2) To promote early implementation Switzerland will fund a joint project of the interim secretariat of the Mercury Convention and the BRS-Secretariat. The project will take advantage of existing structures and fora in order to be cost-effective and make use of synergies at both, the international and the national level.
Questions and Answers Session
Following questions by Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Nicaragua, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Venezuela, speakers provided the following additional information:
- At INC5 Governments agreed to the text of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and no further negotiation will take place on the Convention text at the Diplomatic Conference.
- Most countries are providing their credentials and instruments of full powers in two separate documents. Example of an instrument of full powers is available on the UNEP Mercury Negotiations Website.
- Regional groups will meet during the morning of Monday, 7 October 2013 before the preparatory meeting starts and throughout the week as necessary.
- Requests for oral intervention during the Diplomatic Conference once the Convention is adopted and opened for signature will be pulled together in a list of speakers, the order of which will be established based on UN rules and practices. It is expected that this list will be made available to delegations on Thursday 10 October in the afternoon or in the morning of Friday 11 October at the latest.
- A briefing for Embassies will be organized by the Government of Japan on 17 September in Tokyo.
- There will be two different Bureaus, one for the preparatory meeting and one for the Diplomatic Conference.
- The secretariat has prepared draft elements of the Final Act (so called “draft resolutions”) as requested by the committee at INC5, which are available in document UNEP(DTIE)/Hg/CONF/PM/3 on the UNEP website.
International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action
David PIPER presented the International lead poisoning prevention week of action to be held from 20-26 October.