The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP2) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury met on Wednesday, 21 November 2018. throughout the day and into the evening various points like inancial rules; capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer ;review of annexes A and B of the Convention; harmonized customs codes ;compliance; and cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was discussed.
The Secretariat drew attention to bracketed provisions in Rule 45 on deciding matters when consensus cannot be reached. President Chardonnens proposed, supported by GRULAC, SWITZERLAND and NIGERIA, but opposed by IRAN, language allowing the President to decide on whether an issue is a matter of substance or procedure, subject to appeal, decided by a majority vote. IRAN stressed all decisions should be decided by consensus, and in the absence of this, all matters will be considered substantive. The EU, opposed by IRAN, proposed deciding on whether matters are substance or procedure by a two-third majority vote. President Chardonnens proposed, and parties agreed, to defer this matter to COP3. The Secretariat introduced the documents (UNEP/MC/COP2/10 and INF/5) on capacity building, technical assistance, and technology transfer. Uruguay, for GRULAC, presented their proposal (UNEP/MC/COP.2/CRP/11), which was supported by EL SALVADOR, JORDAN, the AFRICAN GROUP, GUINEA, ECUADOR and the AFRICA INSTITUTE. The EU, JAPAN, NIGERIA, the US and GRULAC requested additional time to consider the proposal. LEBANON supported formalizing arrangements between the Minamata Convention and the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centers. GUINEA and the AFRICAN GROUP called for a focus on interim storage. The EU proposed forwarding the issue to COP4, with GRULAC preferring it be considered at COP3.
WHO outlined recent relevant work, including regional workshops and guidance on strategic planning and implementation of the Minamata Convention’s health-related articles. The ILO outlined relevant work, including projects on reducing occupational exposure to mercury, and codes of practice on worker exposure risk in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM).
COP2 President Chardonnens highlighted three items for discussion- review of annexes A and B of the Convention; dental amalgam and harmonized customs codes. With two days to go, one delegate wondered whether delegates “still remember why all this is important,” hoping that the evening contact groups would continue to make progress in order to “arm parties with the tools needed to implement the Convention.”
Photo Courtesy: IISD Reporting Services