FoN commends gov’t for ratifying the Minamata Convention

March 30, 2017
Source: Juliet Aguiar DUGBARTEY/
FoN commends gov’t for ratifying the Minamata Convention

Friends of the Nation (FoN) a non-governmental organization has commended the government for ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

This signifies the commitment of the Government to reduce and where feasible, eliminate the use of mercury in Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and mercury-added products.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Convention has 128 Signatories and 40 countries have ratified it, including 17 African countries. Ghana signed the Convention on September 24, 2014.

Globally, ASGM is the largest anthropogenic source of mercury pollution. While the Minamata Convention do not require an outright ban on mercury use in ASGM, the National Action Plan (NAP) must contain strategies to reduce and where feasible, eliminate mercury use.

Amongst a number of elements, the treaty also requires that the NPA to outline steps to facilitate the formalization of the ASGM sector and strategies to prevent the exposure of vulnerable populations to mercury, particularly children, women of childbearing age as well as pregnant women.

In a statement issued and signed by Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of FoN said -we congratulate the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency and all other stakeholders for this important milestone.

“It is noteworthy that on March 23, 2017, Ghana deposited its instrument of accession to the Minamata Convention, thereby becoming the 40th future party of the Convention” the statement said.

The statement pointed out that the country prepares its National Action Plan (NAP) on ASGM under the Convention, we call on the Government to adopt a participatory approach to ensure all relevant stakeholders are actively involved in the process.

Currently, the statement said the FoN is supporting the implementation of the Convention through background research to profile Ghana’s ASGM sector, mobilization of miners and civil society organizations to contribute to the preparation of the NPA and baseline inventory of mercury use in ASGM.

The statement added that throughout stakeholder consultations, it has become clear that many artisanal and small scale gold miners are willing to regularize their operations and adopt mercury-free technology to extract gold. This presents us a great opportunity to increase efforts towards formalization of the sector and maximizing the benefits of ASGM.

The statement recommended that there should be increase collaboration with research, academic institutions, civil society organizations, development partners and miners to improve existing mercury reduction and mercury free technologies such as the glass retort and direct smelting methods to make them accessible, cheaper, easy to use and recover more gold.

“Enhance the formalization of the ASGM sector by increasing miners’ access to viable lands and better financing, reducing mining licensing procedure and increasing the human and technical resources of the District Offices of the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to function effectively” the statement gain recommended.

According to the statement, increase public awareness on the impacts of mercury on human health and the environment and the Minamata Convention and improve data collection and monitoring of mercury imports as well as trade and supply will also help.

Friends of the Nation is socio-environmental advocacy NGO based in the Western Region of Ghana. FoN catalysis increased action for sustainable natural resource management and healthy environments as well as provide services to communities and institutions through Knowledge Transfer, Advocacy, Capacity Building, Networking and Research.