The West African English speaking nation of Ghana on Thursday, March 23, 2017 deposited its instrument of accession, thereby becoming the 40th Party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
This comes just a day after the Government of Honduras on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 ratified the Convention, thus emerging its 39th Party.
Just last month, Liechtenstein and Togo endorsed the global treaty. While the Government of Liechtenstein on February 1, 2017 deposited its instrument of accession, the Togolese Government two days later followed suit on February 3, 2017.
Liechtenstein and Togo are respectively the 37th and 38th parties to ratify the Convention.
Costa Rica on January 19, 2017 became the 36th Party to the Minamata Convention when it deposited its instrument of accession to that effect.
A minimum of 50 nations are required to ratify the Minamata Convention to make it legally binding, and enabling the holding of the First Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury. This has however been scheduled to take place in the week of 25 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday, 19 January 2013 – some four years ago.
Nigeria is one of the 128 signatories to the global treaty, but she is yet to ratify it. There are indications that Nigeria will soon ratify the global treaty.
Major highlights of the Minamata Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.