Minamata, Japan — The world’s first international mercury treaty offers Japan an opportunity to make Minamata an international model for how to resolve environmental crises, the International NGO IPEN said today. Speaking in Minamata on the eve of a diplomatic conference in Kumamoto that will adopt the “Minamata Convention,” senior science and technical advisor for IPEN, Joe DiGangi, said:
“The Mercury Treaty is particularly connected to Minamata because it specifically calls on governments around the world to learn and apply the lessons from the Minamata tragedy to prevent mercury poisoning in the future. Unfortunately, the original tragedy is still not resolved.”
The final meeting on the new mercury treaty was held in Geneva in January 2013 and reached agreement on the text of the new treaty. The treaty will be adopted in October 2013 at a diplomatic conference in Japan. IPEN believes that, at minimum, a global treaty on mercury should incorporate provisions that, if taken together and fully implemented, will actually reduce total anthropogenic mercury emissions and releases to the global environment. Read our Guide to see our assessment about whether the new treaty accomplishes this.