Tuesday 26 Nov- Side Events of the Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3)

Tuesday 26 November – 13:15-14:45 – Room 2

Towards mercury-free ASGM
Switzerland, UNIDO, BGI

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has challenging environmental and social implications. The sector significantly contributes to mercury emissions the environment creating damage to human health and the environment. Many efforts are under way to improve this situation. With this side-event the Government of Switzerland and its partners would like to discuss the implementation of the Minamata Convention with regard to ASGM in different countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Peru. Where does mercury free ASGM work and why? What alternative approaches and better practices exist? How should tailings in ASGM be managed? How can formalization lead to better practices? How can a traceable value chain encourage the reduction of mercury use eventually to zero? What role can the harmonization of legislation play?

The event is targeted towards delegates from different ministries, NGOs and the private sector all dealing with the challenges in the ASGM sector. The event will discuss the questions above through concrete examples of different countries.

Draft Programme

1) Opening (25mn)

Welcoming remarks

  • Mr Felix Wertli, Head of Swiss Delegation to the Minamata COP3, Head Global Affairs, Federal Office for the Environment Switzerland (FOEN)

Key notes speeches

On market access and traceability:

  • Ms Monica Rubiolo Gonzalez, Head of Trade Promotion, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Switzerland (SECO)
  • Representative of Ecuador (tbc)

On Formalization:

  • Mr Jürg Schneider, Program Officer, Swiss Development Cooperation (DEZA)
  • Representative of Philippines (tbc)

On Management of mercury waste and Hg in tailings:

  • Representative of Ghana (tbc)

2) Parallel group discussion related to the key note speeches (45mn)

  1. Market access and traceability
  2. Formalization
  3. Management of mercury and tailings

3) Summary in Plenary and conclusions (15mn)

  • Rapporteurs of the groups inform about the group discussions
  • Representative of UNIDO summarizes and makes an outlook

Keywords: ASGM, national implementation

Tuesday 26 November – 13:15-14:45 – Room 18

Minamata Initial Assessments and the UNEP mercury inventory toolkit: enhancing knowledge to implement the Minamata Convention
UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch

National governments, with funding provided by the GEF and technical assistance provided by GEF implementing agencies, have over the past years been implementing Minamata Initial Assessments (MIAs) that aim to strengthen national decision-making toward ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and build national capacity towards implementation of future obligations.

The overall objective of this side event is to showcase how the knowledge generated through MIA contributes to timely and effective ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention.

Specific objectives: To demonstrate how knowledge generated through the MIAs:

  1. has helped countries identify their national challenges on mercury and prioritize actions to implement the Minamata Convention;
  2. has enabled the identification of wider regional and global trends and new opportunities for regional cooperation amongst parties;
  3. has contributed to improved understanding on mercury emissions and releases and allowed the further refinement of the UNEP Mercury Inventory Toolkit, and the launch of the 2019 update.

Expected Results:

  • Reinforced understanding on how the knowledge generated through MIAs can serve countries in their efforts to implement the Minamata Convention; 
  • Improved understanding on the areas of regional cooperation regarding the implementation of the Minamata Convention;
  • Disseminated information on the 2019 UNEP Mercury Inventory Toolkit,

Target Audience:

  • Country delegates
  • Implementing/Executing partners
  • Donors

Format: The event is held as an interactive session addressing the three objectives above using short speeches, videos and electronic tools. 

Knowledge products to be shared:

  • Summary of the global and regional trends of mercury emissions and releases
  • Summary of the global and regional trends on priority actions and capacity ga

Draft Agenda and Expected Speakers:

The side event will be chaired by Juha Ronkainen, UNEP

  • Opening
    Ludovic Bernaudat, Programme Management Officer, UN Environment Programme
  • National mercury inventories: key findings
    David Evers, Executive Director, Biodiversity Research Institute
  • Minamata Initial Assessments: National Priorities and Capacity Gaps
    Takafumi Anan, Associate Expert, Minamata Secretariat
  • 2019 UNEP Mercury Toolkit
    Jakob Maag, Senior Expert, United Nations Institute for Training and Research

Keywords: Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA), UNEP Toolkit, emissions and releases

Tuesday 26 November – 18:15-19:00 – Room 2

Quick guides to mercury from coal with focus on the challenge for emerging Asia
Global Mercury Partnership; Area on Mercury Control from Coal Combustion

The burning of coal is one of the largest single anthropogenic sources of mercury air emissions. Although coal contains only small concentrations of mercury, it is burnt in very large volumes. And despite a growing number of countries moving away from coal, its global demand is expected to remain steady over the next 5 years at least. Up to 95% of mercury releases from power plants can however be reduced, by improving coal and plant performance and optimizing control systems for other pollutants.

Through this side event, the Global Mercury Partnership – Coal Combustion Area, will offer COP3 attendees – of both technical and non-technical background – a snapshot on the situation of mercury from coal burning. With a particular focus on applicability and costs, the event will provide hands-on state of the art knowledge and science on mercury monitoring, cost-effective control measures and abatement technologies. It will also feature national perspectives, with speakers presenting on the latest developments of the sector. Finally, participants will be invited to exchange with national and international experts through a participatory Q&A session.

Programme and expected speakers:

18:15 Opening remarks, followed by an overview of past and future work of the Global Mercury Partnership Coal Combustion Area, including an announcement of new project work in Southeast Asia – Lesley Sloss, International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre and Peter Nelson, Macquarie University (Australia)
18:25 A quick guide to opportunities for co-benefits from plant optimization and existing pollutants control measures – Carlos Romero, Lehigh University, USA
18:35 A quick guide on how to monitor mercury emissions from coal burning at increasingly low concentrations – Joseph Siperstein, Ohio Lumex, USA
18:45 A few quick examples of mercury control projects – Roger Brandwood, Uniper, UK
18:55 Questions & Answers
19:00 End of the event – Speakers will remain available to answer questions.

Keywords: emissions, coal combustion

Tuesday 26 November – 18:15-19:00 – Room 18

Mercury contaminated sites – guidance, finance and the challenges of ASGM sites

This event aims to raise awareness among Parties and others about the opportunities and challenges presented by mercury-contaminated sites and the importance of addressing them to reduce global mercury pollution levels. It will present information about the state of mercury-contaminated sites globally, those that present some of the greatest risks, challenges and health impacts, as well as emerging technologies to address challenging sites such as active ASGM locations. Strategies to address primary mercury mining which is on the rise in some countries, will also be discussed with specific examples. In addition, it is anticipated that information will be presented on funding opportunities for the Parties to address contaminated sites within the framework of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Expected speakers:

  • Lee Bell, Mercury Policy Advisor, IPEN
  • Yuyun Ismawati, Nexus 3 / BaliFokus Foundation
  • Griffins Ochieng Ochola, Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD)

Keywords: contaminated sites, ASGM

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