Local socio-environmental advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Friends of the Nation (FoN) in the Western Region (Province), Tuesday rolled a new project that contributes to the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in the West African country.
The project will complement the Government of Ghana?s efforts on reducing the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) through the development and implementation of a National Action Plan in accordance with the Minamata Convention.

The initiative which is part of the African Caribbean Pacific Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Phase 2 (ACP MEAs 2) project is being funded by the European Commission and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations via the European Environmental Bureau/Zero Mercury Working Group (EEB/ZMWG).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the focal point for the Minamata Convention in Ghana and will be the lead agency for developing the National Action Plan.

Under the project, FoN will complement the country?s EPA?s efforts by providing connections on policy matters as well as on technical issues related to the reduction of mercury use in ASGM.

The local NGO will also identify and engage with key stakeholders, plan and host meetings, undertake community consultations and offer input into the draft action plan.

FoN has already held initial consultation meetings with different stakeholders working in the ASGM sector to introduce the project and seek their co-operation.

These stakeholders include the EPA, Minerals Commission, Geological Survey Department of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Health Service.

FoN was now in the process of engaging with other civil society organizations undertaking work within the ASGM sector and will organize a forum with miners in Tarkwa in July.

?We congratulate the Government of Ghana for signing the Minamata Convention. It is a commitment to protect the health of our population from mercury pollution,? says Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of FoN.
We are therefore very proud to have been chosen for this project. Friends of the Nation will ensure that civil society, miners and stakeholders at the district and regional levels have input into the development and implementation of the action plan.?

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

The Convention has 128 signatories and 12 countries have ratified it, including six African nations. Ghana signed the Convention on September 24, 2014, but has not yet ratified it. ASGM is the largest anthropogenic source of mercury pollution.

While the Minamata Convention does not require an outright ban on mercury use in ASGM, the National Action Plan sought to contain strategies to reduce and where feasible, eliminate mercury use.

Amongst a number of elements, the treaty also requires the National Action Plan to outline steps to facilitate the formalization of the ASGM sector and strategies to prevent the exposure of vulnerable populations to mercury, particularly children, women of childbearing age and pregnant women. Enditem.


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