Health & Chemicals

Report on the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1)

The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) was convened in Geneva from 24 September to 29 September 2017, with more than 1,200 participants including government officials from about 150 countries/regions, international organizations, and NGOs. Participants from Japan include government delegation headed by Masaharu Nakagawa, the Minister of the Environment, government and consisting of the officials of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as the people from Minamata City including the Mayor of Minamata City.

COP1 discussed multiple issues such as operational matters of the Convention including institutional arrangements for the secretariat of the Convention, budgets, etc. Format and frequency of reports by Parties on the implementation, framework of global monitoring and effectiveness evaluation of the Convention were agreed as well.

Photo 1: COP1 display at the conference center
Photo 1: COP1 display at the conference center

Photo 2: Plenary meeting of COP1
Photo 2: Plenary meeting of COP1

Speech made by the Minister of the Environment

The H.E. Minister Nakagawa delivered his speech at the "High Level Segment" held on 29 September. He highlighted the importance of international cooperation under the Convention to take measures to prevent mercury pollution. He also expressed that Japan's commitment would continue to take the lead in the implementation of the Convention by implementing more stringent regulations beyond the Convention as well as by supporting the implementation of the Convention by other countries.

In parallel, the Minister had the meetings with heads of delegates etc. on the further cooperation towards the better implementation of the Convention.

Photo 3: The Minister Nakagawa giving a speech at
Photo 3: The Minister Nakagawa giving a speech at "High Level Segment"

A Moment to Minamata

On 28 September, the special event "A Moment to Minamata" was held to deliver messages from Minamata to the global society.

Mr. Hiroshi Nishida, Mayor of Minamata City, Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto, a fetal Minamata Disease patient, and Ms. Sena Sawai (the second grader at Minamata High School), MOYAI Ambassador (goodwill ambassador for the Minamata Convention) appointed by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, delivered the messages from Minamata.

Mayor Nishida presented the "Kokeshi doll of prayers", which was made by Mr. Masami Ogata, a Minamata Disease patient and the representative of Minamata Disease storytellers (Kataribe) at Minamata Disease Municipal Museum, to Mr. Marc Chardonnens, Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

MOYAI Ambassador Ms. Sawai handed a piece of Japanese calligraphy ("Minamata" in kanji letters), written by a student of Minamata High School, to Mr. Eric Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP.

Photo 4:special event
Photo 4:special event "A Moment to Minamata"

Photo 5: Japanese calligraphy (
Photo 5: Japanese calligraphy ("Minamata" in kanji letters)
handed to Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP

Photo 6:
Photo 6: "Kokeshi doll of prayers" presented to Mr. Marc Chardonnens,
Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

Exhibition booth of Japan

During COP1 week, Japan set up the exhibition booths at the conference center to showcase Japanese technologies of mercury management, as well as to deliver the messages from children to the world. Many participants visited the exhibition booths to see the pictures by elementary school students, posters introducing Japanese technologies by junior high-school students, messages from Minamata High School students, and a photo-report by overseas students visiting Minamata City, etc. Many participants put "their messages in return to Minamata", including their encouragement to Minamata.

Brochures published by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan and Minamata City, a DVD introducing Japanese technologies for mercury management, brochures introducing JICA's activities to address mercury issues, etc. were distributed. In addition, mercury monitoring from a hair sample of participants was demonstrated on site at the booth, with nearly 400 participants obtained the results. After the special event "A Moment to Minamata", MOYAI Ambassador Ms. Sawai and others distributed Japanese calligraphy drawn by the Minamata High School students ("Minamata" in kanji letters) to the participants at the booth.

Photo 7: Exhibition booth set up by the Japan
Photo 7: Exhibition booth set up by the Japan

Photo 8: Messages from the participants of COP1 to Minamata citizens
Photo 8: Messages from the participants of COP1 to Minamata citizens

Photo 9: MOYAI Ambassador Ms. Sena Sawai handing out Japanese calligraphy (
Photo 9: MOYAI Ambassador Ms. Sena Sawai handing out
Japanese calligraphy ("Minamata" in kanji letters)

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