Home > MERCURY COP1

1st Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1)

24-29 September 2017 | Geneva, Switzerland

Summary Highlights, 24 - 29 September 2017

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Minamata Convention on Mercury Entry Into Force

Delegates huddle in the final hours of negotiations

A view of UN Headquarters, venue of HLPF 2017

Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation, and David Granger, President of Guyana


Highlights for Friday, 29 September 2017

On Friday morning, the Minamata COP1 High-Level Segment convened to hear reports from the eight Ministerial roundtables held on Thursday, and for country statements. In a keynote address, M. Sanjayan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Conservation International (CI), emphasized that the trajectory set today will change the world in ten years, lauding the entry into force of the Minamata Convention. During the session, the UK announced a US$150,000 contribution to the specific international programme (SIP), with Norway announcing a US$200,000 contribution. Several countries outlined national-level efforts to address challenges posed by and associated with mercury use and pollution.

In closing the High-Level Segment, Marc Chardonnens, COP1 President and Vice-Minister for Environment, Switzerland, emphasized that mercury management should be integrated into public health and local-level pollution strategies and control measures.

The Committee of the Whole (COW) convened in the afternoon to hear a progress report from the contact group on Programme of Work and budget, and to address other outstanding issues. Chair Fernando Lugris, Uruguay, suspended the COW briefly in the late afternoon to allow for consultations among countries on a draft proposal on the way forward regarding secretariat arrangements, submitted by Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Zambia, Chile and Colombia. Based on the understanding that the secretariat would be based in Geneva in the interim period before COP2, the contact group on Programme of Work and budget convened in the late afternoon and into the evening.

Returning to discuss the secretariat arrangements in the COW, delegates were unable to agree on amendments to the earlier proposal suggested by the US, with a small group being tasked with working on compromise text based on the original text. Reconvening the COW, delegates approved the draft decision and agreed to, inter alia, request the UN Environment Executive Director to perform the functions initially through a secretariat of the Minamata Convention located in Geneva. They then approved the draft decision on the implementation and compliance committee. Chair Lugris then suspended the COW.

* 8:51pm - COP1 closing plenary opens, adopts 10 decisions, and suspends at 9:05pm to await further decisions from the COW.

* 11:08pm - Plenary reconvenes to adopt the decision on the Secretariat. Plenary suspends again at 11:11pm.

* 1:35am - COW reconvenes to discuss and approve the Programme of Work and budget, a draft decision containing brackets, the financial rules and regional centers. COW closes at 1:44am

* 1:58am - COP1 plenary reconvenes, adopts Programme of Work and budget, financial rules containing bracketed text, and financial rules. Discussions on MoU with the GEF ongoing. COP1 President Chardonnens suspends plenary at 2:49am.

* 3:08am - COP1 plenary reconvenes and is closed at 3:15am.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and daily reports for COP1. The summary and analysis is now available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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+ Visit the web coverage for Friday, 29 September 2017


Delegates gather in plenary for the high-level segment


Haddijatou Jallow, Executive Chair-Person, Environment Protection, Sierra Leone

Anne Désirée Ouloto, Minister of Urban Safety and Sanitation, Côte d'Ivoire


Fleming Sengebau, Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Palau

Jassim Abdulaziz Al-falahy, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment, Iraq

Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, UK


Delegates huddle in the final hours of negotiation


Highlights for Thursday, 28 September 2017

On Thursday, the Minamata COP1 High-Level Segment convened in the afternoon, with high-level delegates meeting in an opening ceremony, convening in eight ministerial roundtables and an interactive dialogue, and attending a ministerial dinner in the evening at the Palais des Nations.

The Committee of the Whole (COW) convened in the morning to hear progress reports, and in afternoon to recommend draft decisions to the COP.

An open-ended meeting of the Friends of the Chair group on secretariat functions met briefly to report on the outcome of bilateral meetings. Contact groups on reporting, and programme of work and budget convened at various points during the day. The COP held a “Moment for Minamata” over lunch time, and delegates attended a high-level event hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on implementation of the Minamata Convention.

+ Download the daily report for Thursday, 28 September 2017, in English (in HTML or PDF format), or in French (in HTML or PDF format)
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David Granger, President of Guyana, delivers the keynote address


Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation

Jacob Duer, Principal Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention


Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment


Ministerial family photo


Highlights for Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Delegates attending the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury met in a brief session of the Committee of the Whole (COW) on Wednesday morning. Contact groups on reporting, the financial mechanism, programme of work and budget, and technical issues convened thereafter.

Friends of the Chair on secretariat functions continued to convene in bilateral meetings throughout the day.

Delegates also engaged in a thematic dialogue on water during the lunch break.

During the COW session, delegates recognized Rwanda's ratification of the Convention.

+ Download the daily report for Wednesday, 27 September 2017, in English (in HTML or PDF format), ot in French (in HTML or PDF format)
+ Visit the web coverage for Wednesday, 27 September 2017


Contact Group on Programme of Work and Budget


Gregor Filyk, Canada, Co-Chair of the Financial Mechanism Contact Group

Fernando Lugris, Uruguay, COW Chair

María Florencia Grimalt, Argentina


Jacob Duer, Principal Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention

Karissa Kovner, US, Co-Chair of the Technical Issues Contact Group

David Kapindula, Zambia, Co-Chair of the Reporting Contact Group


Contact Group on the Financial Mechanism


Highlights for Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, met on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 in the Committee of the Whole (COW), and discussed thresholds, contaminated sites, financial rules, the Implementation and Compliance Committee, the Programme of Work and budget, and emissions guidance, among others.

Contact groups on the financial mechanism and reporting met during the day, with a newly established contact group on technical issues convening in the evening. A Friends of the Chair group also met on the sidelines of the meeting to continue consideration of the secretariat functions.

Delegates also engaged in a thematic dialogue on air during the lunch break, and attended a Minamata Convention Initial Assessment (MIA) clinic. In the evening, the Government of Switzerland hosted a reception fondly known as a “Swiss Break.” Delegates recognized Argentina and Croatia for ratifying the Convention, bringing the total ratifications to date to 83.

+ Download the daily report for Tuesday, 26 September 2017, in English (in HTML or PDF format), or in French (in HTML or PDF format)
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Hiroshi Nishida, Mayor of Minamata City, is welcomed to plenary


Vinicius Trindade, Brazil

Oleg Pecheniuk, Independent Ecological Expertise (IEE)

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Zero Mercury Working Group


Christoffer Back Vestli, Norway

Aneta Willems, EU


Fernando Lugris, Uruguay, COW Chair, and Franz Perrez, Switzerland, welcome delegates to the Swiss Break


Highlights for Monday, 25 September 2017

The first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury convened for a second day on Monday, 25 September 2017. Meeting in a Committee of the Whole (COW) chaired by Fernando Lugris, Uruguay, delegates discussed issues related to, among others: reporting; financial mechanism including the specific international programme; the Memorandum of Understanding between the COP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council; guidance to the GEF; the functions of a permanent secretariat; and effectiveness evaluation.

Two contact groups to further discuss reporting and financial mechanism were established and convened during the day. A Friends of the Chair group met in the evening to consider the permanent functions of the secretariat. Delegates also engaged in a thematic dialogue on land during the lunch break, and also attended a Minamata Convention Initial Assessment (MIA) clinic.

+ Download the daily report for Monday, 25 September 2017, in English (in HTML or PDF format), oror in French (in HTML or PDF format)
+ Visit the web coverage for Monday, 25 September 2017


View of the room during the afternoon plenary


Serge Molly Allo'o Allo'o, Gabon

Chizuru Aoki, Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Andrei Pilipchuk, Belarus


Ji-Young Lim, Republic of Korea

Anahit Aleksandryan, Armenia

Andrew McNee, Australia


Gillian Guthrie, Jamaica


Highlights for Sunday, 24 September 2017

The first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, under the theme “Make Mercury History,” began on Sunday, 24 September and is scheduled to conclude on Friday, 29 September 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland. During a brief opening ceremony, delegates heard opening speeches from Marc Chardonnes, Director, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Switzerland, and Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Director, UN Environment.

Delegates then convened in a plenary to address organizational matters, including election of officers, rules of procedure, and the appointment of a credentials committee. Delegates then established a Committee of the Whole (COW) chaired by Fernando Lugris, Uruguay.

After a round of general statements, the COP engaged in discussions on provisionally adopted guidance documents related to supply sources and trade, exemptions for phase-out dates, and emissions.

+ Download the daily report for Sunday, 24 September 2017, in English (in HTML or PDF format), or in French (in HTML or PDF format)
+ Visit the web coverage for Sunday, 24 September 2017


Marc Chardonnens, Director, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, is welcomed onto the podium after being elected COP1 President


Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment

Marc Chardonnens, Director, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland

Jacob Duer, Principal Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention


Fernando Lugris, Uruguay, is elected President for the Committee of the Whole (CoW)

Philip Weech, the Bahamas, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)



Daily CoverageAbout | 24 Sep | 25 Sep | 26 Sep | 27 Sep | 28 Sep | 29 Sep | Summary
Specific funding for coverage of Mercury COP 1 has been provided by the European Union (EU),
the Government of Switzerland, and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment
EU Swiss Government Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment

IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the EC and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2017 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Switzerland (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)), and SWAN International. Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the EU and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD).

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