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A Toxics-Free Future


Mercury Treaty Workshop held in Colombia

Fernando Bejarano, Director of RAPAM, IPEN’s Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean, participated in a workshop on “Minamata Convention, challenges and opportunities in Colombia” that was held in Bogota, Colombia in mid-November. The workshop was organized by the University of Los Andes Group on Environmental Law, the Colombian Environment and Foreign Officers Ministries, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), with sponsorship from the Swiss government. Colombia passed a law on mercury in July, 2013, before the Minamata Convention was signed, and is now preparing a National Plan on Mercury that will increase coordination among the different government authorities involved.

Additionally, a smaller workshop was organized among relevant stakeholders to learn more about ideas and proposals to coordinate efforts that are underway by  government, local authorities, NGOs and academia to implement the Minamata Convention. NGOs are also preparing activities to reduce harm from mercury use and address Convention requirements, particularly regarding the complex situation in rural and indigenous communities with artisanal gold mining that also affects natural protected areas. NGOs participating in these activities include: Colnodo (an IPEN Participating Organization), WWF, AIDA, Patrimonio Natural, and researchers from the University of Cartagena and the University Externado.

The IPEN publication NGO Introduction to Mercury Pollution and the Minamata Convention on Mercury was distributed among participants at both workshops.

Mr. Bejarano gave a presentation on “IPEN perspectives on the negotiation and implementation of the Minamata Convention.” His and other presentations will soon be posted on this website of the Colombian Environment Ministry:

Fernando Bejarano giving his presentation in Bogota