SUMMARY OF THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE TO PREPARE A GLOBAL LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT ON MERCURY: 13-19 JANUARY 2013
The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury (INC5) convened from Sunday, 13 January, to Saturday, 19 January, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates successfully completed the negotiation of a new global treaty on mercury: the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Over 750 participants attended the session, representing137 governments, as well as 57 non-governmental and 14 intergovernmental organizations. Following a round of regional group meetings on Saturday, 12 January, delegates negotiated on the basis of a text prepared by INC Chair Fernando Lugris (Uruguay) during the intersessional period. Marked by a shared sense of purpose and spirit of cooperation, INC5 addressed several complex policy and technical issues, including mercury air emissions and releases to water and land, health aspects, and phase-out and phase-down dates for products and processes. A final compromise was reached late Friday night, based on a package addressing outstanding issues related to the preamble, finance and compliance. The Minamata Convention’s major highlights include: the ban on new mercury mines, the phase- out of existing ones, control measures on air emissions, and the international regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.