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The Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the “Minamata Convention on Mercury”

The Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” and its preparatory meeting were held in Minamata and Kumamoto, Japan, from 7 to 11 October 2013. Over 1000 delegates from 140 countries and regions were at the meeting. The meeting, attended by a special envoy appointed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was chaired by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a video to congratulate on the meeting. Over 70 minister level officials including the Prime Minister of Madagascar and the Foreign Minister of Japan attended the signing ceremony and delivered speeches. By the end of meeting, 91 countries and the European Union had signed the Convention.        
The Chinese delegation, headed by Mr. Wan Bentai, Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), is joined by delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Mr. Wan Bentai signed on the Convention and delivered an important speech, he introduced China’s efforts on ecological civilization development, and targets of building a beautiful China, he explained the great pressure and challenges China is facing in terms of mercury pollution and other environmental issues, and China’s attitude and position on increased mercury pollution prevention and control, he called upon developed countries to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries, and help them prepare for future ratification and implementation of the Convention. Mr. Wan’s speech was well received and greatly supported. Mr. Steiner and Mr. Fernando Lugris, chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for drafting the Convention, along with delegates from other countries congratulated and commended the Chinese delegation for its contribution.

The Minamata Convention is the first multilateral environmental convention after Rio+20, it’s a new legally binding Convention with compulsory reduction obligations for developing countries after the Montreal Protocol and the Stockholm Convention. The signing of the Convention has great significance to the global mercury pollution control, and it will surely promote China’s efforts on heavy metal pollution prevention and control.

Ms. Fang Li, Deputy Director General, led a team from FECO to the meeting, and played positive and constructive roles in key discussions, making important contribution to the negotiations and signing of the Convention.

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