Japan pledges support to Guyana for phasing out use of mercury

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Minister Persaud after signing the Convention with Japan' Minister of Environment,  and UNEP Executive Director.
Minister Persaud after signing the Convention with Japan’ Minister of Environment, and UNEP Executive Director.

[www.inewsguyana.com]Guyana has once again demonstrated its commitment internationally to control mercury emissions by signing on to the Minamata Convention on Mercury at an international conference organised by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which was recently held in Minamata, Japan.

According to a GINA News Bulletin, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury on behalf of the Government of Guyana. At the time Minister Persaud was accompanied by the Commissioner (ag) of the Guyana Geology Mines and Commission, Rickford Vieira.

The Bulletin further stated that Minister Persaud’s participation emphasized that Guyana recognises the environmental and human health risks of mercury use and supports the implementation of a global legally binding instrument on mercury that will examine its supply and trade, mercury-added products, manufacturing products in which mercury compounds are used, including artisanal and small scale mining, emission, releases, storage and mercury wastes.

Further, Minister Persaud during his participation proposed, for the forum’s consideration, a phased approach which should give parties time to prepare for the implementation of the procedures and provisions. Guyana also agreed that the provision of financial and technical assistance to achieve compliance under the Convention is essential.

This approach has been supported by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, while discussions were held with Amerindian and Riverain communities.

Guyana continues to make representation for the phased implementation of the global legally binding instrument on mercury over a period of 10 years. In this regard, the Japan Government pledged its support to Guyana for phasing out the use of mercury.

This was revealed following Minister Persaud’s bilateral discussions with the Japanese Environment Minister, Nobuteru Ishihara who reiterated his country’s plan to provide US$2 billion in financial assistance to fight mercury pollution.  Discussions were also held with UNEP Executive Director Mr. Achim Steiner to support Guyana’s phasing out measures.

Guyana’s recommendations for financial support considered; environmental education, capacity building activities, the strengthening of governmental institutions charged with environmental compliance, monitoring and, introduction and adoption of low-mercury or mercury-free gold-processing technologies.

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