OTTAWA, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada today signed the
Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global agreement to reduce mercury
emissions and releases to the environment. The Convention is a
legally-binding treaty negotiated under the auspices of the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its primary objective is to
protect human health and the environment from human sources of
emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
"Signing this treaty reinforces Canada's commitment to protecting the
Arctic ecosystem, the health of our indigenous peoples, Northerners and
the global population," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's
Environment Minister, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic
Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council. "The Government
of Canada actively participated in all five intergovernmental sessions
to negotiate a strong treaty to reduce major sources of global mercury
emissions that present risks to Canadians and their environment."
"I am very proud that, because of the federal government's support, a
representative of the Inuit Circumpolar Council was part of the
Canadian delegation and played an important role in these negotiations
in raising northern Indigenous Peoples' health as a serious issue,"
said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
and Northern Development Canada.
As an Arctic country, Canada is one of the main beneficiaries of this
agreement. While Canada has reduced its own mercury emissions by over
90% in the last forty years, more must be done to protect the health of
Canadians and their environment. Over 95% of the mercury deposited in
Canada from human activity comes from foreign sources.
The Convention addresses all aspects of the life-cycle of mercury,
including providing controls and reductions across a range of products,
processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted.
The pace of mercury reductions will depend on a number of factors,
including which countries ratify the treaty, how many ratify (50
required for entry into force) and what actions the Parties to the
treaty decide to take.
At their meeting in Sweden in May 2013, the Ministers of the Arctic
Council welcomed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, noting the
particular vulnerabilities of Arctic ecosystems and indigenous
communities, and encouraged the treaty's swift entry into force.
The Convention was opened to countries for signature during a Diplomatic
Conference being held in Kumamoto, Japan, on October 10-11, 2013, and
will remain open in New York until October 8, 2014.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
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(Également offert en français)