Media centre

For Health, Make Mercury History

Date: 22 September 2017
Place: World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, Geneva

Nearly four years since the global community adopted the Minamata Convention on Mercury, this global treaty that seeks to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury enters into force on 18 August 2017. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1), convened by UN Environment, will take place from 24 to 29 September 2017 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. A “Mercury Week” of events will take place from 22 to 29 September, under the banner “Make Mercury History”.

In keeping with World Health Assembly Resolution 67.11 Public health impacts of exposure to mercury and mercury compounds: the role of WHO and ministries of public health in the implementation of the Minamata Convention, on 22 September, WHO will host a series of events dedicated to health.

Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva, Ministry of Health and other health sector representatives participating in the Conference of the Parties, and UN partner organizations, are cordially invited to attend.

Preliminary Programme of Events:

11:00-12:30 High level segment

Executive Board Room

High level panel, presentation by the WHO Secretariat, outcomes of WHO regional workshops, country success stories and plans for implementation of the health aspects of the Convention, discussion among participants.

13h00-14h00 Interactive WHO space

Hair sampling for mercury content (100 participants)

14h30-16:00 Technical segment

Salle D

Presentations and discussion on key actions for the health sector, including:

  • mercury-containing thermometers and sphygmomanometers used in health care
  • dental amalgam
  • development of public health strategies for artisanal and small-scale gold mining
  • fish consumption and health advice, Codex limits and global monitoring data
  • human biomonitoring for mercury exposure

Please RVSP to: Due to new security measures at WHO all visitors to WHO that do not already have a badge allowing electronic entry must RVSP in advance of the event to arrange an entry badge.

Participants wishing to reserve a place to have their hair analyzed for mercury are kindly invited to let us know at the same time.

Contact for further information: Carolyn Vickers, Team Leader Chemical Safety, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health,