UNEP produced its first Global Mercury Assessment in 2002 following the request of the Governing Council (decision 21/5) and based on governments concern of mercury as a global pollutant.
In 2007, the Governing Council requested UNEP to develop a new report (decision 24/3) focused on atmospheric emissions. The information was presented as a summary report for policy makers entitled The Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment: Sources, Emissions and Transport released in December 2008, and an accompanying Technical Background Report to the Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment, a fully referenced scientific report. The technical background report, which formed the basis for statements made in the summary report and was prepared in cooperation with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Secretariat, included an updated inventory of anthropogenic emissions of mercury to the atmosphere. The inventory was based on national emissions data for the year 2005 submitted by governments, as well as estimates prepared for countries that did not provide data. The report also drew on the work of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership, in particular the Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research partnership area.
In 2009, the Governing Council requested UNEP to update the 2008 report (Decision 25/5). The Global Mercury Assessment 2013: Sources, Emissions, Releases and Environmental Transport and its accompanying and updated Technical Background Report were the response to that request.
The inventory was based on national emissions data for the year 2010. In addition to atmospheric emissions, the report also provides for the first time the recent and available information on releases to the aquatic environment and aquatic pathways and transport.
An update of the modelling of the intercontinental transport and source attribution of mercury deposition was done in 2015 Global Mercury Modelling: Updates of Modelling Results in the Global Mercury Assessment 2013.
Global Mercury Assessment 2018: The Governing Council acknowledged the Global Mercury Assessment 2013 at their meeting in 2013, and UNEP was requested to provide a further update of the report within six years (Decision 27/12). This work is now in progress and a revised assessment is planned to be completed by the end of 2018. The main focus will be on updating global emissions and releases inventory components (for the target year of 2015), especially for sectors of relevance for the Minamata Convention. The assessment will be expanded with respect to quantification of releases and discharges of mercury to the aquatic environment, and include an overview and assessment of mercury levels in humans and biota.
Draft Summary Report of the Global Mercury Assessment 2018 is available for comments until 05 July 2018. For details click here.
Please see also this data visualiation on Global Mercury Emissions by Country and Sector