Plenary stands to chant "Make Mercury History" as the conference comes to a close.
The fifth and final day of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury convened in a series of plenary sessions throughout the day. Delegates had worked in Contact Groups throughout Thursday night and into the early morning hours on Friday, in order to reach agreement on the COP3 decisions. On Friday, the COP alternated between plenary sessions, resumed Contact Group sessions, and bilateral consultations in an effort to conclude agreement on all topics. By the closing gavel for COP3, decisions had been adopted on the following items:
- Customs codes;
- Cooperation between the Secretariats of the Minamata Convention and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions;
- Review of Annexes A & B (respectively, mercury-added products and processes using mercury or mercury compounds);
- Guidance for completing the national reporting format;
- Capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer;
- Terms of reference (TOR) for the Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC);
- Guidance on the management of contaminated sites;
- Review of the financial mechanism;
- Waste thresholds;
- Amendment of Annex A (dental amalgam);
- Effectiveness evaluation; and
- Programme of Work and Budget.
In addition, decisions on elections to the Bureau, the ICC, and Specific International Programme to Support Capacity Building and Technical Assistance (SIP) Governing Board were adopted. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director was asked to assess possible options for enhancing the SIP and its operations. These decisions joined decisions on Review of the Financial Mechanism and Venue and Date of COP4, which were adopted earlier in the week, to comprise the COP’s marching orders for work under the Convention during the next two years.
During the closing plenary, the African Group expressed appreciation for progress made in some decisions but noted that Amendments to Annex A did not progress as they had wished. The EU expressed regret that the proposal on international cooperation was not adopted despite overwhelming support by parties. The Central and Eastern European Group applauded the “baby steps” made by the Convention and noted that there were bound to be challenges in the Convention’s early stages. The decisions on the approval of the ICC TOR and Cooperation between the Secretariats of the Minamata Convention and the BRS Conventions were welcomed by several speakers.
COP3 was gaveled to a close at 2:46 am on 30 November.
Claudia ten Have, Minamata Convention Secretariat, sharing a light moment with Mohammed Khashashneh, Jordan, before the morning plenary
Vladimir Lenev, Russian Federation conferring with US delegates
Elmi Obsieh Mohamed, Djibouti
Nina Cromnier (Sweden), Chair of Friends of the President Group
A view of the dais during the plenary
Silvija Kalnins (Latvia), Co-Chair of Technical Matters Contact Group
Reggie Hernaus (the Netherlands), Co-Chair of Programme of Work and Budget Contact Group
Valentina Sierra, Uruguay
Larke Williams, US
Serious deliberations during a plenary break
María Florencia Grimalt, Argentina, speaking with delegates from Brazil
Roxanne Blesam, Palau
Zhang Jieqing, China
Alison Dickson, Canada
Jorge Pedro Aznar, EU
Rapporteur Karel Blaha, Czech Republic
President of COP3, David Kapindula, Zambia, gavels the meeting to a close.
Contact Groups and Side Events
The Programme of Work and Budget Contact Group during discussions on Friday
Participants during the Technical Matters Contact Group
The Effectiveness Evaluation Contact Group continues discussions
Italo Flamenco Elsalvador, El Salvador, speaking during the side event: Launch of fourth round of applications for the Special Programme on institutional strengthening for chemicals and waste
Around the Venue
IISD/ENB team (L-R): Cherelle Jackson, Elaine Limjoco dela Rosa, Lynn Wagner, Keith Ripley, Sean Wu and Matthew Hengesbaugh
To receive free coverage of global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.
All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For Minamata Convention COP 3, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu.