Main Issue

Emissions and releases of mercury can have devastating effects on the environment and human health. Like other heavy metals, mercury persists in the environment forever. It can be transported over distances far removed from its original emission source. It gets deposited in the air, water, sediments, soil and biota in various forms, contaminating the food we eat, the water we drink and the air that we breathe. The global community is taking action through The Minamata Convention on Mercury. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF officially recognized the need for action on mercury in 1995. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee designated the GEF as an entity comprising the financial mechanism of The Minamata Convention on Mercury. To date, 128 countries and the European Union have signed the convention, including 50 developing countries and CEITs. It is expected to come into force during GEF-6 (2014-2018) after 50 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, accession or acceptance.

In GEF-5, we helped developing countries undertake mercury initial assessment (MIA) to promote ratification and the early implementation of the convention. In GEF-6, we continue these efforts, working with governments, the private sector and civil society to pursue action on different fronts. This includes support for national assessments of mercury issues and any plans to address priorities. Read more+


The GEF has invested since GEF-5 to date $76 million toward 99 projects in over 100 countries that tackle the challenge of mercury. Our funding has helped countries address priority issues of the convention and facilitate early implementation of the convention. These include mercury inventories, reducing emissions from artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and reducing emissions into the atmosphere from industrial sources including secondary metals smelting and vinyl chloride monomer production and into the health care waste stream. Read more+

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