The Government of Ghana has signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Friends of the Nation (FoN) applauds the Ghanaian government for signing the treaty. At the same time, FoN commends the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN) for their efforts in advocating for the signature of this important convention to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

The government of Ghana signed the Convention on 24th September 2014 at a high-level event during the opening of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, together with 18 other countries. ASMAN and other NGOs, such as Friends of the Nation, working to improve the state of small-scale mining in Ghana commended this move at the 5th Annual Civil Society Review of the Natural Resource & Environment Sector Meeting held in Accra end of October 2014..

The objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention was initiated at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 January 2013.

Parties to the Minamata Convention must develop and implement National Action Plans containing strategies to reduce, and where feasible eliminate, the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining and its release into the environment. The treaty does not require a ban on mercury, but encourages countries to stop the most dangerous forms of mercury use, such as burning amalgam in residential areas. In addition, it guides countries to facilitate the formalization of the small-scale gold mining sector and protect the most vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women, from exposure to mercury. The Convention also encourages government to develop strategies for involving different stakeholders in the implementation and continuing development of the National Action Plan.

The Minamata Convention has been signed by 128 countries and ratified by seven countries. It will come into force after 50 countries have ratified it. For more information on the Minamata Convention,
click here.

ASMAN is a Non-Governmental ASM Platform involved in natural resources and environmental governance advocacy, particularly the promotion of responsible and sustainable small scale mining (SSM). Friends of the Nation has also undertaken research and projects focused on small scale mining, and therefore supports the initiatives of ASMAN.

For more information, please read here.