International high-level dialogue forum

Shaping a globalised world

The Minamata Convention.
Towards a zero mercury world?

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo
Michael T. Bender

October 2013; 4 pages


On 10/11 October 2013, government representatives from all over the world will be meeting in Minamata, Japan, to sign a new environmental agreement. In the 1950ies, Minamata became the arena of mass mercury poisoning by non-treated wastewater of a chemical plant.

The objective of the new mercury convention that has been negotiated since 2009, is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic mercury emissions.

In the Global Governance Spotlight issue no. 7|2013, Elena Lymberidi-Settimo and Michael T. Bender describe the history of origins as well as the strengths and weaknesses of this new treaty. They end with an appeal to all governments to speedily ratify the convention and to use the time until its entry into force for a variety of measures to prevent mercury emissions.

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