Mercury INC 5 Opens in Geneva

13 January 2013: The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC 5) to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury opened on 13 January 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. INC 5 is expected to complete negotiations on a global treaty text to regulate mercury use, with a view to adopting the treaty at a diplomatic conference to be held in Minamata, Japan, in October 2013.

The opening plenary addressed organizational and procedural matters, heard opening statements from delegates, regional groups, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs, and initiated discussions on substantive issues based on a text prepared by INC Chair Fernando Lugris (Uruguay) during the intersessional period. Discussion began with the preamble and the provisions on mercury-added products and manufacturing processes involving mercury and exemptions available to a party upon request, with the products, processes and exemptions articles assigned to discussions in a contact group on selected technical issues, which met in parallel to the evening plenary. Evening plenary discussed financial resources, technical assistance and technology transfer, with the articles involving the latter two assigned to a second contact group scheduled to initiate discussions on 14 January.

Before its close on 18 January, INC 5 is expected to consider draft resolutions on elements of the final act, to be adopted at the anticipated diplomatic conference where the instrument will be signed, including on: how to promote and prepare for the early implementation of the mercury instrument; arrangements for the interim period between the signing of the instrument and its entry into force, including arrangements for financial and technical assistance during that period; and secretariat arrangements. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage]