The Minamata Convention: A Comprehensive Response to a Global Problem


  • Henrik Hallgrim Eriksen,

  • Franz Xaver Perrez


This article gives an overview of the negotiation history and the main elements of the Minamata Convention. It starts with a short description of the global risks posed by mercury and the findings of the global assessment of 2002 that led to the proposal by Norway and Switzerland in 2003 to develop a legally binding instrument on mercury. It then discusses the international process that led to the adoption of a mandate to negotiate such an instrument in 2009, followed by a summary of the negotiation process. The article next offers an overview of the key provisions of the Convention and provides an analysis of the main factors behind the outcome. It also analyzes particular difficulties of the negotiations connected to the concerns of specific countries. The article concludes by highlighting reasons why the negotiations were so successful.