Article 7 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury addresses artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM), the largest global source of mercury pollution. Under this Article, countries where mercury use in ASGM is “more than insignificant” are required to take steps to reduce and, where feasible, eliminate the use of mercury. Because the ASGM sector is closely tied to complex economic development and poverty issues, the Convention allows flexible, country-specific solutions through the development of an ASGM National Action Plan (NAP). Although each country’s NAP process will be unique, Annex C of the Minamata Convention provides a list of elements that must be included in the NAP.
This 'Draft Guidance Document' represents an expansion of the document entitled 'Guidance Document: Developing a National Strategic Plan to Reduce Mercury Use in Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining' UNEP 2011, and is intended to reflect the requirements in the Convention and other advances in understanding of the ASGM sector. This document provides guidance to countries in formulating NAPs that are compliant with the the Minamata Convention, and provides technical, legal and policy information on issues related to ASGM that can be useful when preparing and implementing the NAP.
The draft guidance was written by members of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership ASGM Area. An earlier draft was circulated for comment to Partners, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) focal points, and other stakeholders, and input was incorporated into the current draft.
This draft guidance will be presented to the INC at its 7th meeting in March 2016.