Shift in U.S. Policy Opens Door to Global Mercury Agreement

A dramatic reversal of the U.S. position on worldwide mercury pollution cleared the way for the development of a globally binding treaty on mercury through the work of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) over the next four years.  (See press release.) At the UNEP Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, the U.S. delegation endorsed negotiations in 2009 for a new global treaty to control mercury contamination. “The Obama administration has clearly shown a new day has dawned for U.S. leadership and engagement with the rest of the world,” said Bender, MPP’s Director and co-coordinator of ZMWG. “And the momentum created by the U.S. galvanized other governments around the world to step up to address the global mercury crisis.”

During the February’s UNEP Governing Council (GC) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, 120 countries expressed support for a legally binding agreement on mercury. The GC Decision charges UNEP with the responsibility to conduct, concurrent with the work of the INC, an inventory of the levels of existing emissions controls, and an analysis of the potential to achieve further mercury emission reductions.  The ZMWG plans to follow the issue closely and contribute to the INC process.
For additional information, see:  Obama Shifts U.S. Policy to Back Global Mercury Control Treaty