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Fresh ratifications as Minamata celebrates Convention’s entry into force

In the past couple of days, three countries ratified the Minamata Convention, even as indications emerged that the entry of the global treaty into force will be commemorated next week.

Minamata_city

The City of Minamata in Japan

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Thailand became the latest nation to endorse the mercury accord when it deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the Convention’s 66th future Party.

Previously, Iran and Estonia had ratified the Convention, which has already entered into force, thanks to the landmark rash of ratifications on Thursday, May 18, 2017 that triggered the development, having garnered the required 50 ratifications.

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On that day, the EU and seven of its member States – Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden – deposited their instruments of ratification at the UN Headquarters in New York, bringing to 51 that day the number of future Parties.

As a result, on August 16 2017, the Convention, which aims at protecting human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds, will become legally binding for all its Parties.

To commemorate the historic step, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Kumamoto Prefecture and Minamata City will on Saturday, July 1, 2017 hold “Celebrating Event for the Minamata Convention on Mercury – Voice from Minamata towards the Entry into Force ” in Minamata City, Kumamoto, Japan.

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The event includes the first part with the video letters from overseas and the declaration by the Junior High School students in Minamata City calling for the global attention. In the second part, H.E. Mr. Fernando Lugris, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury, will deliver a commemorative speech followed by the “Minamata Talk” lead by Mr. Hiroshi Nishida, Mayor of Minamata City, and other speakers.

The 1st Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP1) will gather governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations from around the world in Geneva from September 24 to 29, 2017.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury (“Minamata Convention”) is a new international environmental convention for global community to work collaboratively against mercury pollution. The Minamata Convention aims at achieving environmentally sound mercury management throughout its life cycle. The Convention was adopted at the diplomatic conferences held in Minamata City and Kumamoto City in October 2013.

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