The Ministry of the Environment Japan (MoEJ), organised the Workshop on Synergies in Mercury Waste Management in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the International Environmental Technology Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP IETC) on 30th and 31st May 2019 in Osaka, Japan.
In the workshop, the participants discussed the needs on capacity building for the environmentally sound management of mercury wastes for developing countries and a cooperation with international organizations. Result of this workshop will be shared at the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention at its third session (COP 3) in November 2019 in Switzerland.
Title: Workshop on Synergies in Mercury Waste Management
Date: 30-31 May 2019
Venue: Osaka, Japan
Organizers: MoEJ, the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention and UNEP IETC
Participants: Around 50 people, including governmental officials, experts, etc., from Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe and Latin America regions.
The workshop had various presentations and discussions on the 3 topics as follows:
1) Identification of the needs for capacity-building, technical assistance and technology transfer on mercury waste management
The workshop discussed the needs and methods on capacity-building, technical assistance and technology transfer. For example, it was identified the importance of sharing best practices to implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury. They also discussed the importance to support capacity-building on individual items, such as remediation of contaminated site and collection of waste.
2) Synergies between the Minamata Convention on Mercury and other multilateral environmental agreements in relation to mercury waste
The workshop discussed necessary contents to be included in a next edition of the Basel Convention Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury Waste that Japan was a lead country to develop.
One of the important points was to organise training courses to use the guidelines, taking into account current situations on waste management among countries.
They also discussed the issue on open burning of waste as one of emission sources causing air pollutions and considered the necessity to establish law and regulations to be enforced by national and local governments to stop open burning of waste.
Furthermore, the workshop discussed to encourage collaborations among stakeholders and to increase awareness-raising on mercury waste management by using relevant targets and goals of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs).
3) Linkage between article 11 (mercury waste) and other articles of the convention, including products, emission and releases
The workshop discussed the role of producers and the necessity of collaborations between governments and industries, taking into account of coming measure to control mercury-added products.
They also discussed reduction of emission and releases of mercury to the environment and identified one possibility to reduce mercury emission and releases by collecting mercury.
They further discussed the necessity of analytical methodology to identify contaminated sites and capacity-building for artisanal and small-scale gold mining and contaminated sites. In order to prevent further contaminated sites, they considered the important role at management sides, such as support from governments and industries to miners.
Mr. Keith Alverson: Capacity building activities by UNEP
Ms. Misuzu Asari: Activities of the Global Mercury Partnership
Ms. Reiko Sodeno: SDGs and the Minamata Convention
Mr. Zhang Xin: Article 5 (processes - VCM production)
Ms. Kaoru Oka: Use of the Basel Guidelines
Mr. Nicolas Humez: Mercury waste management in practice by Honda
Ms. Melisa Lim: Activities under Basel Convention
Ms. Oluwatoyin Olabanji: Open burning of waste
Ms. Kakuko Yoshida: Waste issues under SAICM beyond 2020
Mr. Greg Helms: Article 4 (products - activities of the Global Mercury Partnership)
Ms. Budi Susilorini: Article 7 (ASGM)
Mr. Masaru Tanaka: Article 8 (emission - BAT/BEP for waste incineration)
Workshop report will be shared at COP 3 in November 2019 as well as UNEP IETC’s website.
The Meeting of the Group of Technical Experts on Waste Thresholds was held at the same venue on 27-29 May 2019 based on the decision adopted by COP 2. A meeting report will also be introduced at COP 3 for further negotiations among the Parties.