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Daily Times, Pak med

Published Date: Sep 5, 2012


A senior adviser at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Tuesday urged the world leaders attending Global Conservation Congress 2012 to support legally binding treaty on mercury to protect health, environment and ecosystem from hazardous and toxic mercury.

“The mercury is an extremely toxic substance and a major threat to wildlife, ecosystem and human health at a global scale. Children are more at risk from the mercury poisoning, which affects their neurological development and brain, therefore, the world leaders should support a legally binding treaty on mercury to protect health, environment and ecosystem,” Dr Mahmood A Khawaja said while addressing a press conference at National Press Club.

The mercury poisoning diminishes human memory, attention, thinking and sight while it is also a major threat to fish, which constitute an all-important nutritious component of human diet, Dr Mahmood remarked. He said that SDPI has moved a motion for a global treaty to the upcoming Global Conservation Congress 2012 of IUCNs to be held in Jejo, Republic of Korea, in the ongoing month.

“The resolution calls for effective measures to reduce and eliminate the use of mercury and ask for a mandatory National Implementation Plan (NIP) to ensure effective development and implementation of treaty,” he said while sharing the details of proposed resolution. Dr Mahmood added, “The motion asks for mandatory obligations to identify contaminated sites with effective and enforceable treaty compliance provisions. The draft resolution also requests IUCN director general to work with the IUCN commissions and membership networks for the promotion of enhanced awareness regarding adverse health effects of mercury exposure and protection.”

The senior adviser also expressed apprehensions over various existing global agreements and said that weak measures in existing treaties “are not effectively addressing the rising mercury levels and have failed to protect wildlife, ecosystem and human health”. He said that SDPI supports global efforts to phase out toxic chemicals leading to their elimination with special attention given to mercury. “The draft motion has garnered an overwhelming support across the world and so far over 92 organisations, 70 foreign (Asia, US, Africa, Latin America and Europe) and 22 organisations from Pakistan have joined hands with SDPI by supporting the resolution.”

The IUCN’s Global Conservation Congress is world’s largest conservation event, which aims at improving “how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development”. This year over 10,000 participants from all across the world are participating in the GCC 2012. The decisions and recommendations of GCC have significant impacts on global environment governance and policies.