The Minamata Convention on Mercury is designed to protect the environment and human health against the emission and releases of mercury. This week the first Conference of the Parties is held here in Geneva. Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Mr Vidar Helgesen, will participate to reaffirm Norway’s strong commitment.
Norway’s commitment to reduce mercury emission goes many years back, and is regarded as an important political issue. In 2003 Norway, together with Switzerland, was the first country to advocate for a global agreement on mercury. In the negotiation on what later became the Minamata Convention, Norway was pushing for an ambitious agreement. Unsurprisingly, Norway was therefore also in the first group of states that signed and adopted the convention back in 2013.
Background: Mercury is a natural element, and is thereforefound in for example rocks and volcanic eruptions. However, the extensive use of mercury in for instance coal-fire power and mining has made the level of mercury damaging to human health and the environment. The Minamata disease drew states attention to the issue, and became a starting point for the evolution of the Minamata Convention.
Today, 83 states have ratified the convention, with the Governments of Argentina and Croatia as the latest contributors.
Read more about the Mercury convention here