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IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) has provided daily reports and web coverage of the Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Minamata Convention on Mercury October 9-11, and its preceding preparatory meeting October 7-8. A joint summary report of both events will be posted October 14. To download our reports, please click the HTML/PDF icons below.
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Summary Report English version French version
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Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries
on the Minamata Convention on Mercury
and preceding Preparatory Meeting

7-11 October 2013 | Kumamoto and Minamata, Japan

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Wednesday, 9 October 2013
On Wednesday, the Government of Japan hosted a field trip for delegates to Minamata as part of the ceremonial opening of the Diplomatic Conference.

The day’s program started with a remembrance to the victims of Minamata Disease at the Minamata Eco-Park. This park is built on fill, some of which is confined mercury-contaminated sludge removed from Minamata Bay. Participants laid a floral tribute at the Cenotaph for Minamata Disease Victims and the ministerial delegates took part in a tree planting ceremony.

Participants were treated to a lunch prepared by Minamata community members and had the opportunity to learn about the many activities that have made Minamata the first Eco-Capital of Japan.

In the afternoon, delegates visited the grounds and the Minamata Disease Archive and Municipal Museum, and had the opportunity to hear Minamata Disease victims share their story and met with local civil society, government and industry groups.

Delegates then attended the Ceremonial Opening at the Minamata City Culture Center, where they heard opening speeches, including a video address by Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and welcoming remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
Commemorative Plaque
Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister of Environment, Japan, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Ikuo Kabashima, Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, and Katsuaki Miyamoto, Mayor of Minamata, displayed a plaque commemorating the Conference of Plenipotentiaries.
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Memorial and Tree Planting
Dignitaries arriving
Dignitaries arrived for the memorial and tree-planting ceremonies.
Katsuaki Miyamoto
Katsuaki Miyamoto, Mayor of Minamata, welcomed dignitaries.
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Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, and Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister of Environment, Japan, deposited paper cranes folded during the Preparatory Meeting at the memorial Cenotaph.
Floral Tributes
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, and Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister of Environment, Japan, laid floral tributes at the Cenotaph.
Floral Tributes
Dignitaries laid floral tributes at the Cenotaph.
Tree Planting

Dignitaries planted seedlings to extend the forest in the Eco-Park.

Ceremonial Opening
Shinzō Abe
In a video message, Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, welcomed the adoption of this landmark convention that aims to eradicate mercury pollution, noting that Japan is now using only 0.4% of the mercury it had used in the 1960s. He pledged US$2 billion over the next three years to assist developing countries in tackling environmental problems.
Achim Steiner
Recalling the formation of UNEP was shaped by the story of Minamata Disease, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said the Minamata Convention celebrates our commitment to learn from history. Noting that multilateralism is not always easy, he said this Convention represents a breakthrough agreement that will speak to the stories heard earlier in the day.
Nobuteru Ishihara
Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister of Environment of Japan, underscored Japan’s commitment to the treaty’s speedy entry into force, and promised to contribute $1 million to promote capacity building and technology transfer. He highlighted that the National Institute for Minamata Disease will develop a convenient method for measuring mercury to share globally.
Ikuo Kabashima
Ikuo Kabashima, Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, said that the failure of yesterday can be the lesson of today and we must never forget that government put economic development ahead of the health of its citizens. He pledged to work tirelessly for a mercury-free society.
Katsuaki Miyamoto
Katsuaki Miyamoto, Mayor of Minamata, said that because economics took precedence over life and the environment, humans and many other creatures lost their lives. He declared the Minamata Convention a major step for humankind and urged its swift entry into force.
Masami Ogata
Masami Ogata, Minamata Disease Municipal Museum Storyteller, shared his and his family’s suffering, including his struggle to be certified as a Minamata Disease Victim.
Ingo Gunther
Ingo Gunther, environmental artist, introduced his art project “World Processor” that shines light on environmental issues through representations of the globe. His work was exhibited at the evening reception.
Scenes from Minamata Day
Kumamoto Station
Delegates waited for the all-reserved express Shinkansen to Minamata.
Minamata River
A view of Minamata River as the tour arrived in town.
Keiki Taiko

Local children played taiko drums.

Recyclable sorting
Students from Minamata Dai-ni Junior High School helped sort recyclables.
Utase
Traditional Utase fishing boats glided past in Minamata Bay.
Memorial bells
Memorial bells hung by the Cenotaph at Minamata Bay.
Posing for Photo
UNEP staff took a photo with Preparatory Meeting Chair Fernando Lugris after the tree planting.
Rimiko Yoshinaga
Rimiko Yoshinaga shared her family's experiences with Minamata Disease.
Hair Sampling
Staff from the National Institute for Minamata Disease snipped samples of participants' hair for mercury testing.
Evening Welcome Reception
Participants enjoyed local food and drinks during the evening welcome reception.
Participants Relaxing
Participants relaxed in the shade.
Spider
The Eco-Park forest is home to large and colorful orb weaver spiders.
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
Meeting resources

*Meeting website

*Meeting documents

*DipCon provisional annotated agenda

*DipCon scenario note

*DipCon rules of procedure

*Provisional annotated agenda for the preparatory meeting

*Scenario note for the preparatory meeting

*Rules of procedure for the preparatory meeting

*Text of the Minamata Convention on Mercury for adoption by the DipCon

*The Mercury Club

*Host country website


IISD RS resources

Building an Effective Future-proof International Chemicals and Waste Regime, Guest Article written for IISD RS Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice website by Franz Perrez, Ambassador, Head of International Affairs Division of Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment, President of COP11 of the Basel Convention

IISD RS coverage of the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP11), Sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP6), Sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP6) and Second simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the three Conferences of the Parties to the three conventions (ExCOPs2), 28 April - 10 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland

IISD RS coverage of Twenty-seventh Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC27)/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF), 18-22 February 2013, UN Office, Nairobi, Kenya

IISD RS coverage of Mercury INC5, 13-18 January 2013, Geneva, Switzerland

IISD RS coverage of Mercury INC4, 27 June - 2 July 2012, Punta del Este, Uruguay

IISD RS coverage of the Twelfth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GCSS)/GMEF, 20-22 February 2012, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

IISD RS summary and analysis of Mercury INC3, 31 October - 4 November 2011, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of UNEP GC26/GMEF, 21-24 February 2011, UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

IISD RS summary and analysis of Mercury INC2, 24-28 January 2011, Chiba, Japan (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)

IISD RS summary and analysis of Mercury INC1, 7-11 June 2010, Stockholm, Sweden (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)

IISD RS coverage of the First Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (ExCOPs1), and GCSS-11/GMEF, 22-26 February 2010, Bali, Indonesia

IISD RS brefing note of the Ad-hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury, 19-23 October 2009, Bangkok, Thailand (HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of the Second Meeting of the Ad Hoc OEWG to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury, 6-10 October 2008, UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

*IISD RS coverage of the First Meeting of the Ad Hoc OEWG to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury, 12-16 November 2007, Bangkok, Thailand

*IISD RS chemicals management page

*IISD RS coverage of UNEP GC meetings

*Chemicals-L - A news and announcement list on chemicals news and policy developments

*Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Adressing Chemicals and Wastes Policy

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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