Solomon works for the social and environmental advocacy NGO Friends of the Nation in Ghana and has actively partook in both workshops organized by UNITAR starting off with the Early Ratification of the Minamata Convention in October 2015 and the joint inception workshop for the MIA and NAP on ASGM Projects in January 2017. He was also chosen to partake in the small working group to contribute to the Minamata Initial Assessment.
“The first [workshop] was in October 2015, a workshop for the inception of the ratification on the Minamata Convention. That workshop was focused on making a plan for the ratification of the Minamata Convention for the cabinet to approve as well as the parliament. The first workshop was directly responsible for Ghana’s government to agree to ratify the Minamata Convention. It began the process to involve the government and national stakeholders in ratifying the Minamata Convention.”
One of the MIA workshop’s main objectives was to raise awareness on mercury menace for policy makers and the general public. Solomon “strongly agreed that [the workshops] contribute to raising public awareness as well as [for] policy makers on the impact of mercury on human health and the environment and the need to Ghana to
take action to mitigate this problem.”
Regarding the most significant change Solomon has experienced, he states “The workshop gave me more opportunities personally but mainly as a metallurgical engineer in my profession to be able to focus on what mercury related problems we face in society and see how I am contributing to the phase-out of mercury. It brought me a lot of great opportunities to link up with a lot of stakeholders both locally and internationally.”
Solomon felt the most significant change for his NGO’s involvement in the ratification of the Minamata Convention after the MIA workshop “was to be a part of the steering committee and organizing individuals from national and international organizations as a group, as well as the interest of managing mercury and how we can address this problem in society”. The steering committee has met regularly throughout 2017 and 2018. One direct outcome that taken place as a result of the Steering Committee meetings was Ghana’s exemption from phase-out dates in the Minamata Convention such as Annex A (mercury-added products) and Annex B (manufacturing processes where mercury is used) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury for the next 5 years (2). The application for exemption was made to provide Ghana the necessary time to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the mercury and mercury-added products and build the necessary capacity for phase-out before the Convention enters into force August 2018.
Another intended outcome from the project was to build the capacity of a national taskforce to take mercury inventory through the UNEP toolkit. “The workshop contributed to [building] the national capacity for mercury inventory, because it was after the workshops when [they] came together and the inventory team was selected. [They] went through online and face-to-face training to understand and build the capacity to conduct the inventory. The workshop contributed as one of the outcomes in terms of building the national capacity to undertake Mercury Inventory.”
I think that Ghana is an example of success due “to the people’s participation in this workshop.
2. Mercuryconvention.org. (2018). Exemptions. [online] Available at: http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Countries/ Parties/Exemptions/tabid/5967/language/en-US/Default.aspx [Accessed 27 May 2018].