The BCRC-Caribbean, in collaboration with the Department of Environment (DOE) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, held a National Inception Workshop for the project,Development of Minamata Initial Assessment in the Caribbean (Belize)” at the Best Western Plus, Belize on January 23rd, 2019.

The Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) is an enabling activity that aims to strengthen national decision-making and build capacity toward the implementation of the Minamata Convention.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a multilateral environmental agreement which aims to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of mercury, a highly toxic element which is considered a major public health concern by the World Health Organization. Parties to the Convention are obligated to, inter alia, phase-out the manufacture, import and export of certain mercury-added products by 2020, to implement measures to reduce the emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds from products and processes, and to provide environmentally-sound management options for storage and disposal of mercury and mercury waste.

Although Belize is currently not a Party to the Minamata Convention, the Government has indicated that they are actively considering becoming a Party, and through the DOE, is participating in the above captioned project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Technical assistance for the project is being provided by the UN Environment; the implementing agency, and the BCRC-Caribbean; the project execution agency.

The National Inception Workshop aimed to introduce key national stakeholders to the issues posed by mercury and the objectives of the project. Presentations were made by the BCRC-Caribbean team including National Project Coordinator, Mr Marco Manazanilla; the Legal Consultant, Ms Judy Daniel of Environmental Advisors Inc.; and the lead technical consultant, Dr David Evers of the Biodiversity Research Institute.

Presentations are available at the following links:

1. MIA Project Background

2. Background on Mercury in Belize

3. Minamata Convention and Mercury Sources

4. Communication Products

5. Global Connections

6. Legal Priorities

Further details on the workshop proceedings and subsequent site visits can be obtained from the following reports:

BRI Inception Report

National Project Coordinator- Workshop Report

 

Project Reference Material: Reference: Project Document