On 3 April 2023, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) hosted an internal workshop where key stakeholders gathered to discuss the important steps undertaken for the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and assess the progress made in this direction. This was the final workshop organised within the frame of the project “Support for the ratification of the Minamata Convention in Georgia” implemented by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in partnership with The Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) and funded by the Swiss Government.
The event focused on the review of the existing national legal policy, regulations and coordination mechanisms related to the Minamata Convention while providing an opportunity to discuss the matters related to the ratification of the Minamata Convention. The Deputy Head of the Waste and Chemicals Management Service at MEPA – Ms Irma Gurguliani – discussed the key updates on the implementation status of the chemicals management related national policy and regulations, once again reiterating Georgia’s commitment to phase out the use of mercury in the industry sector.
“With the political will to proceed, Georgia has already taken important steps towards the ratification of the Minamata Convention. All parties involved in the current project have worked incredibly hard, successfully paving our way towards the accession process,” highlighted Ms Irma Gurguliani.
The Project Expert from The Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) – Ms Ana Berdzenishvili – also presented to the stakeholders the review of progress under the Minamata Initial Assessment priority areas for implementation of the convention and the identification of priority activities upon ratification.
To ensure the full implementation of the convention and to incorporate the provisions concerning the regulation of mercury and mercury compounds into Georgia’s legislative framework, drafts of amendments to the law on environmental protection, as well as administrative and criminal codes, have already been developed. These changes include prohibiting the primary extraction of mercury and the use of its compounds in gold mining and processing and establishing appropriate legal liability.
The primary objective of the project is to protect human health and the environment from chemicals and waste emissions by assisting Georgia to join efforts and ratify Chemicals and Waste related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), especially the Minamata Convention on Mercury.