Rwanda secures funds to help implement the Minamata Convention

Board members of the Specific International Programme of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Rwanda is among nine countries whose projects were approved for 2,2 million to help implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury, designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and release of mercury and mercury compounds.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems and is a threat to the development of the child before and after birth.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the inhaling mercury vapour can have harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs, kidneys and skin, and may be fatal. The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested.

The funds were approved by the Governing Board of the Specific International Programme of the Minamata Convention on Mercury at its sixth meeting which convened online from 9-13 August 2021.

The successful projects were submitted by Rwanda, Burundi, Cuba, Gabon, India, Iran, Jordan, North Macedonia and Senegal.

Rwanda has secured 250 million from the approved funds.

“As Co-Chairs of the Governing Board of the Specific International Programme of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, we are very pleased to inform you that at its Sixth Meeting the Board approved nine projects for funding in the Third Round amounting to USD 2,2 million” reads a statement made by co-chairs, Mr. Reggie Hernaus and Prasert Tapaneeyangkul.

“On behalf of the Board, we would like to congratulate these applicants noting that each project successfully sets out to support capacity-building and technical assistance in support of the implementation of their obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury” the co-chairs added in their statement.

Twenty-four applications were submitted by Parties to the Third Round.

The Board commended all the applicants, whether successful or not in the Third Round, for having prepared and submitted their applications. In addition to the quantity of applications received, the Board also recognised the quality of applications submitted. The Board also noted that in the Third Round it was able to approve applications that were responsive to the Board’s recommendations of the previous round.

Rwanda acceded the Minamata Convention on mercury in June 2017. After becoming a part to Minamata Convention, Rwanda conducted a preliminary national survey to map out different institutions and priority areas suspected to have mercury, and mercury pollution, and these include Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM), health sector (thermometers, tensiometers, dental amalgams), industry sector (butchery, paints) among others.