Geneva, 21 – 23 June 2023. Parties to the Minamata Convention not having implemented any or only a few of the required measures to restrict the use of mercury-added products were invited by the Secretariat to participate in a workshop to develop strategies. The workshop was sponsored by the European Commission.

19 Delegations from the African Region, 5 from the GRULAC Region plus India, Pakistan and Iran participated in the workshop, which was structured in lectures and breakout groups.

The break out groups to develop strategies were divided into an English speaking, a French speaking and a Spanish speaking group and chaired by the heads of the Basel Convention Regional Centres from Nigeria, Senegal and Argentina.

Thematically, there were three categories of mercury added products presented and discussed: medical devices (like thermometers), skin-lightening products and dental amalgam.

In regard of Dental Amalgam the issue of regulating the use was presented by WHO, the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry and the European Network for Environmental Medicine.

But during the group work it turned out, that most Spanish countries were already advanced in phasing out dental amalgam and had either stopped its use in public programs or banned its import. Bolivia has already generally banned the use of dental amalgam in 2019.

In the French group, there was a clear intention to phase out the use of dental amalgam,  only some parties noted a lack of financial resources to implement a regulation. In Zambia, however, amalgam has not been used for 20 years now.

Also in the English group, countries were already working to regulate dental amalgam. Pakistan, for example, has recently introduced a law to ban the use of dental amalgam for children up to the age of 15 years.

Parties were told to keep in mind that the new requirement of restricting or recommending against the use of dental amalgam for children under 15 years, pregnant and breastfeeding women is already due by 28 September 2023.

Especially African Parties should also take into account that the African Region has  requested to discuss a general phase-out of dental amalgam by 2030 at COP5 of the Convention in October in Geneva.

Further Information:

Programme of the Global Workshop to phase out mercury-added products:

Presentation of the European Network for Environmental Medicine: Global Progress in Phasing Out Dental Amalgam:

Global Dental Amalgam Tracker: Overview of countries phasing out dental amalgam:

Group Picture: