Update from UN Environment’s Coal Partnership meeting

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global initiative to reduce mercury emissions to the environment from all sources. The Convention was adopted in 2013 and, since then, has been ratified by over 100 countries.

The UN Environment Programme established “partnerships” to focus expert work on various emission sectors, including coal, under the Convention and these partnerships provided expert advice to all negotiations between countries for several years prior to the adoption of the convention. The IEA CCC has been acting as lead of the UN Environment’s Coal Partnership since its inception in 2006.

The Partnership Advisory Group

In advance of the 2nd Conference of the Parties (COP2) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, UN Environment hosted an afternoon meeting of the Partnership Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is an annual meeting of the partnership area leads. The leads of the Coal Partnership are currently myself, on behalf of the CCC, and Peter Nelson of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Peter also deals with issues relating to emissions from the non-ferrous metal sector.

The UN Environment secretariat’s report included an update on the new webpage, noting that there is now a searchable list of partners and easier access to published reports.

As always, we suggest that, if you are not already a partner, you fill in the form on the website and join now. There is no commitment of any kind, rather you are simply voicing your support for the work of the partnership and the convention and offering to be considered for future project work.

The partnerships now have their own logo, as shown. If you are a member of the Coal Partnership, you can use this logo on any materials or published project work which supports the aim of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. If you use this logo on your company website, we request that you make it an active link to the Coal Partnership web page. If you need a higher resolution version of the logo, please let me know and we can email it to you.

The discussion at the PAG focussed on potential gaps in expert knowledge, raising the continuing concern that emissions from oil and gas seem to have “slipped through the convention for political reasons”. Whilst emissions from these sectors are not specifically targeted within the text of the Convention, mercury in these industries are covered under waste and product management requirements. That said, it was agreed that it would be wise for the PAG to create a subset of experts in this area to pull together information on releases of mercury to air from the oil and gas sector. More recent data on emissions from this sector will appear in the new GMA (Global Mercury Assessment) which is due for publication early next year. However, much of these data are based on emission factors and it is therefore prudent for us to build up a team of experts who may have access to real numbers. There is a call for information on this – if you have relevant information that you are willing to share, please get in touch.