HE President David Granger, Guyana (middle), Anil Sookdeo, GEF and Jewel Batchasingh, BCRC Caribbean.
The Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean) which is hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago serves the Contracting Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions within the Caribbean region and any other country consenting to be served by the Centre.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury in Geneva, Switzerland at 7 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, 19 January 2013 and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference (Conference of Plenipotentiaries), held in Kumamoto, Japan.
The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.
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.
The Minmata Convention is currently having its first Conference of the Parties (COP) 1, Geneva Switzerland, the following Caribbean Countries are represented at this meeting:
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Basel Convention Regional Centre congratulates the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on the high level of support given to the Minamata Convention as evidenced through the participation of H.E. President David Granger.
Guyana has ratified the Minamata Convention and has completed its Minamata Initial Assessment and is currently undertaking their National Action Plan. They are also one of the eight countries participating in the GEF GOLD project.
GOLD is an acronym for Global Opportunities for Long Term Development of the Artisanal Small Scale Gold Mining Sector (ASGM).
This project aims to reduce the use of mercury in the ASGM sector in the participating countries through facilitating the access to finance to artisanal miners and mining communities for the introduction of low and non-mercury technologies and techniques and through the development of sustainable ASGM gold supply chains
The BCRC- Caribbean is currently executing four (4) Minamata Initial Assessments for Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. Minamata Initial Assessments are designed to establish a mercury inventory, review the legislative and institutional capacity of the country as well as identifying contaminated sites and provides the information required to inform a country's decision to accede to the Minamata Convention.
The Centre has also recently obtained approval for four more countries to pursue Minamata Initial Assessments and these are: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
This work will then culminate in developing a Mercury Strategy for the region which will seek to manage mercury, mercury containing materials and mercury contaminated wastes and sites.
For further information:
The Basel Convention Regional Centre- Caribbean website is available at: http://www.bcrc-caribbean.org/
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