The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP2) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury took place in Geneva, Switzerland on November 19-23, 2018. The Minamata Convention bans mercury mines and regulates business activities that have to deal with mercury as either input to or output of their processes.
Billed as a “working COP,” COP2 featured delegates engaging in technical issues to further the implementation of the Convention. Aside from ageeing to have a stand-alone secretariat based in Geneva, the delegates agreed on the following decisions:
- Cooperation with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention;
- Setting up of rules and procedure for the implementation and compliance committee;
- Drafting of a guideline for mercury waste threshold;
- Creation of harmonized custom code for products containing mercury;
- Creation of standard guidelines for determination and classification of mercury-contaminated sites;
- Creation of guidelines for interim storage;
- Strengthening of capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer on mercury management among parties; and
- Creation of effectiveness evaluation for the convention implementation.
In addition, COP2 approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) for small-scale projects with relevance to the Convention.
COP2 was marred by procedural irregularities that led to frequent questions from among delegates and advisors. Issues on open burning, financial mechanism, and products and manufacturing processes that use mercury compounds were shelved for COP3.
The Philippine delegates to the convention comprised both technical experts and key government officials who were part of the enabling project for the ratification of the Minamata Convention – the Philippine Minamata Initial Assessment project. They led in assessing preparedness of the country to manage mercury.
The third meeting of the Convention of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury will be held on November 25-29, 2019. (MIA Project)