Ten years ago, on 10 October, 2013, the international community took a key step forward by signing the Minamata Convention on Mercury. This multilateral environmental agreement, named after the bay in Japan where mercury-tainted industrial wastewater poisoned thousands of people in the mid-20th century, later came into force in 2017. Nowadays, the Minamata Convention plays a crucial role in helping countries to control, reduce and eliminate mercury across all its life-stages.

“We at UNEP are proud to host the Secretariat for this Convention, which protects the environment and human health from the pernicious impacts of this dangerous neurotoxin”, stated Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director. “I call on all nations and all partners to redouble their efforts at COP-5 to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution and help attain a pollution-free planet”.

Watch below a special video focusing on the journey of the Minamata Convention since its adoption in 2013 and all the pivotal work ahead.

How the Convention is aiming to end mercury’s millennia-long toxic run

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, read this story by the UN Environment Programme on the journey that made the treaty what it is today, including interviews with key personalities from the history of the Convention.

Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, underlined that “it is a commitment of now nearly 150 parties and many stakeholders to act to eliminate the use of mercury in daily life and processes, to control its emissions and also ensure no suffering due to mercury poisoning”. She added that, “as we move forward to make mercury history, I hope to see more countries joining the Convention in the near future”.

Get ready: Fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5)

The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP-5, 30 October – 3 November in Geneva, Switzerland), will focus on further reducing mercury use in industrial processes and consumer products, strengthening the implementation of national action plans, and making crucial progress on measuring the Convention’s effectiveness. Read here the COP-5 media advisory to know what to expect.

Ahead of the fifth meeting, register now to the COP-5 online events (from 9 to 13 October) that comprise 22 sessions held throughout the week. These series of online events provide an informal platform for Parties and observers to share information and knowledge as part of COP-5.