Over the past several years, UNITAR’s Chemicals and Waste Management Programme has assisted countries with a wide variety of projects to address the human and environmental risks posed by mercury. Mercury is a “heavy metal” that, in some forms and if used improperly, can significantly harm humans and the environment. Commencing in Sweden June 2010, UNEP will host the first in a series of Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meetings, which will lead to a global convention on mercury. UNITAR will participate in this process.
As part of this important work, UNITAR has long been a supporter of and contributor to UNEP’s Global Mercury Partnership. In May, 2010, UNITAR Executive Director Carlos Lopes officially informed UNEP that UNITAR is joining the Partnership. In his letter to UNEP, Mr. Lopes explained that UNITAR fully endorses the Partnership goal to “protect human health and the environment from the release of mercury and its compounds”.
As part of the Mercury Supply Partnership Area, UNITAR initiated, in coordination with UNEP and other partners, and with financial support from the Government of Switzerland, several projects with the Government of Kyrgyzstan that address the cessation of new mercury supply from the world’s last remaining exporting mercury mine, at Khaidarkan, Kyrgyz Republic. Under the Mercury Products Partnership Area, UNITAR also assists countries with development of national mercury inventories, priority-setting, and risk management decision-making with financial support from the Governments of Switzerland and the United States of America. UNITAR also supports countries to develop a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) with mercury as a pilot chemical.
By formally joining the Partnership, the efforts of UNITAR and other partners on this important topic will be significantly strengthened.
For more information please see:
UNEP’s Mercury Partnership website http://www.chem.unep.ch/mercury/Sector-Specific-Information/Current_partners.htm