On 30 July 2019, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) passed on the National Action Plan to phase out mercury-added products and to manage the associated mercury-containing wastes to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a ceremony held at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong City.
The National Action Plan was developed by the DENR-UNIDO project, Promoting Ratification and Early Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury: Pre-Ratification Strengthening of Capacities for Mercury Management Focused on Mercury-Added Products and Wastes Containing Mercury under the guidance of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) and the Inter-Agency Technical Working Group (IATWG).
A crucial document, the National Action Plan contains DENR’s doable steps to carry out successfully the elimination of mercury from consumer products and other materials utilized in the industry and thereby reduce risks to human health and contamination of the environment. Further, the plan helps the country prepare for the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The Philippine Government signed the Minamata Convention in October 2013, and the DENR spearheaded the ratification process in consultation with other government agencies and stakeholders. The ratification document has already been endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Office of the President for approval.
Ms. Lourdes Wagan, Director of the Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) of the DENR, thanked UNIDO and the Swiss Confederation for assisting the Philippine government in developing the National Action Plan.
Recognizing that taking care of the environment is a shared responsibility, Director Wagan emphasized that each entity had a role to play in ensuring the integrity and quality of the environment, and it was through these combined efforts in protecting the environment that would ultimately contribute to the national development agenda. (FASPS/ Ma. Andrea D. Palma)