UNIDO commits to enhanced cooperation at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury

UNIDO commits to enhanced cooperation at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury

GENEVA, 29 September – The Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), LI Yong, has attended the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury.  The Convention entered into force in August 2017 and aims to protect human health and the environment from man-made emissions and releases of mercury and its compounds. While in Geneva, Director General LI also attended a number of bilateral meetings with Ministers of the Environment and ambassadors from various countries.

During a high-level UN panel discussion on 28 September, Director General LI highlighted UNIDO’s crucial role in the Convention and its implementation. “We must achieve the objectives set forth by the Convention because many lives, including women, unborn children and infants, are depending on the success of actions that we will develop and implement,” he said.

Li stated that UNIDO has been involved in mercury management for more than 20 years and is fully committed to working with the relevant UN agencies, financial institutions, the private sector and governments to phase out mercury from the global market.

“Enhanced cooperation will contribute to maintain and improve the health of our ecosystem and the well-being of future generations.  We all have the responsibility and now is the opportunity to act and provide the world with sustainable industrial development, including the protection of the environment,” he added.



A high-level segment, opened by the President of Switzerland, Doris Leuthard, provided an interactive platform for delegates to demonstrate political leadership and raise awareness of and support for implementation of the Convention.  

The Conference was attended by over 1,300 delegates, including 80 Ministers and heads of UN agencies and financial institutions. Issues discussed included reporting, effectiveness evaluation, the financial mechanism, arrangements for a permanent secretariat, compliance and guidance on contaminated sites.

During the Conference, the UNIDO delegation worked on current and future projects with various partners and explored options for future funding sources for UNIDO’s Mercury Programme. UNIDO also organized a successful side event, "From earth to earth - taking mercury out of the global market."  

The Convention bans new and phases out existing mercury mines, contains measures to control air emissions, and regulates the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. It is the first new Multilateral Environmental Agreement to be signed and ratified for more than a decade.


For more information, please contact:

Jerome Stucki

Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO


Gabriela Eigenmann

Industrial Development Expert, UNIDO



(Main photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc FerréCC/Flickr/BY-NC-ND 2.0)