UNEP Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee Meeting 4 (INC4) on the Legally Binding Instrument (LBI) for Mercury – Day 1

Negotiations kicked off in earnest on Day 1 of INC4 on Wednesday 27th June in Punta del Este with a rousing chorus of traditional folk songs from local school children. After a morning of introductions and general negotiation pleasantries, work finally commenced following lunch. The INC4 Chair, Fernando Lugris, determined that, in order to achieve consensus in a timely manner this week, the delegations would need to break into numerous contact groups. However, no more than two contact groups would meet at any time, so as not to spread delegations too thinly. In the early evening one contact group broke off to discuss artesenal and small scale gold mining whilst another dealt with waste, storage and contaminated land remediation. One final group, destined to take the late/overnight shift, met to deal with the issue of information raising and awareness. All three contact groups were to report to plenary on Day 2 with the hope that any brackets and questions remaining in the draft text of the LBI would be addressed and consensus reached. Day 2 intends to start full discussions on perhaps the most contentious area of the draft text – emissions.