The BCRC-Caribbean, in collaboration with the Department of Environment in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, will hold 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 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 phase-out the use 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 Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development through the Department of Environment, 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 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 National Inception Workshop aims to introduce the MIA project to the invited key stakeholders and kickoff the project!