The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) facilitated and hosted national stakeholders to discuss Ghana’s preparations towards the Conference of Parties (COP) on the Minamata Convention on mercury, taking place in Geneva – Switzerland from 19th to 23rd November 2018.
The meeting offered an opportunity to brief stakeholders on progress made in the implementation of the Minamata Convention in Ghana. Notable among the progress discussed is the country’s Minamata Initial Assessment, which reviewed mercury management, sources of mercury releases, gaps and actions for effective implementation of the Convention in Ghana.
Other interventions noted at the meeting include the provision of 400 mercury-free thermometers and sphygmomanometers to health facilities in exchange for mercury-containing devices, under the Medical Waste Project. The country’s efforts in the Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sector was also discussed. It was noted that following media and CSOs campaigns and the Government’s steps on ending illegal mining, UNDP organized a policy dialogue with key stakeholders including traditional authorities. The dialogue provided a platform to critically examine the gaps in the ASM legal regime, and concrete policy options and recommendations were provided to inform the sector’s reform.
Stakeholders at the preparatory meeting also deliberated on the COP2 and the opportunity it would bring to consolidate the progress made at COP1, with special emphasis on the operational guidance of the Specific International Programme (SIP) being developed to support Capacity-Building and Technical Assistance to countries. It was indicated that the COP2 will discuss guidelines on mercury releases to land and water, emissions from open burning of waste, capacity building and technology transfer and interim storage of mercury waste.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the priority areas identified in the Country’s MIA Report should be used as the basis for all discussions on Ghana’s position at the COP. In addition, participants suggested that Ghana actively engages in discussions on guidelines for monitoring and evaluation on mercury reduction to support the country’s efforts to phaseout mercury use. A briefing meeting on the outcome of the COP2 was suggested.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Convention focuses on ultimately phasing-out mercury and mercury related or containing products from all sectors.