Launch of the first national report of the initial assessment of mercury

December 18, 2018

Launching of the First National Report of the Initial Assessment of Mercury

The United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment organized a workshop on 17 Dec, 2018 to launch the first national report of the initial assessment of mercury and its compounds in Jordan under the Minamata Convention on mercury. This report is of great importance at the national level as it will assist the Jordanian Government in implementing Minamata Convention by identifying the requirements and needs for the purpose of finding suitable alternatives to mercury and its uses in various industries and ultimately contributing in reducing the risks associated with consuming this substance on the health and environment.

Jordan signed the convention in October 10, 2014 and ratified it in November 12, 2015. The impacts of Mercury pollution can be challenging to identify and reverse. However, strategies to reduce mercury contamination are important because mercury can cause significant adverse effects to human and ecological health.

Ms. Majida Assaf, UNDP programme manager, stated in her opening remarks “UNDP has been supporting the countries in their efforts to prepare for and meet their commitments under the Minamata Convention as a contribution to implement 2030 agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. MIA report will contribute to the achievement of SDG3 to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages & SDG12 related to sustainable and responsible production and consumption and will feed into the implementation of Jordan`s first National Strategy and action plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production 2016-2025”.

Findings from the Jordan MIA indicate the input of Mercury into ecosystems may be elevated in some areas but with effort by the government, key stakeholders and the general public, those inputs can be further identified and reduced.

The impacts of regional mercury loads in the Mediterranean Sea and the effect on fish markets, specifically tuna, may require broader regional actions but MIAs are being undertaken by many countries in the region which should significantly reduce mercury in region`s landscape and waterscape.

Eng. Ahmad Qatarneh, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment has indicated in his preface to the MIA report:" We are committed to build upon the findings of the report and will continue supporting phase out and reduction of mercury use and releases. This can consist of activities such as reduction of emissions of mercury and mercury compounds to the atmosphere from point sources and the lifecycle management of mercury”.

It is worth mentioning that the Minamata Convention is named after the city of Minamata in Japan, where local communities were poisoned by mercury-tainted industrial wastewater in the late 1950s and suffered crippling, untreatable and stigmatizing effects. Through the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the global community remembers the many lives already lost to mercury poisoning and commits to preventing similar catastrophes.