07/09/2014

Special High-level Event for the Signature and Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

In October 2013, the Government of Japan hosted the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Kumamoto, Japan, which was preceded by a preparatory meeting and ceremonial opening. The Conference allowed for the adoption of the final text of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which signified the adoption of the first new international treaty on hazardous substances in over ten (10) years.

The Minamata Convention is a legally-binding global environmentally treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, a toxic, heavy metal. The Convention focuses on the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds by way of providing a framework for controlling and reducing the range of products, industries and processes where mercury is used, released and/or emitted, using a life-cycle approach.

Upon its adoption, the Minamata Convention was opened for signature since October 10th 2013 and will remain open until October 9th 2014. Since being opened for signature, 102 countries have become Signatories to the Convention, while one (1) country, the United States of America, has deposited its instrument of ratification to become the first Party to the Minamata Convention. As of 1st September 2014, three (3) Caribbean countries have become Signatories to the Minamata Convention: The Dominican Republic, Guyana and Jamaica. To date, no Caribbean country has ratified the Convention. More information on the participation of the Caribbean countries in the process leading to the adoption of the Minamata Convention can be obtained from the BCRC-Caribbean Briefing Paper on the Minamata Convention in the Caribbean.

In light of the impending closure of the Convention for signatures on October 9th 2014, countries have the opportunity to sign and ratify the Convention during a Special High-Level Event on the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 24th September, 2014 from 1:15pm to 2:30pm. This event will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City during the 2014 Treaty Event being held by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. High-level representatives from interested countries are invited to attend this Special Event in order to sign the Convention and, where possible, deposit ratification instruments on behalf of their State.

For more information about the Special High-Level Event on the Minamata Convention on Mercury as well as signature and ratification requirements, visit the official webpage of the Minamata Convention or contact the Interim Secretariat of the Mercury Convention.