REGIONAL WEBINAR - PAHO/WHO
14 JULY 2021, 12 pm (EDT)
A regional webinar is proposed to raise awareness about PAHO/WHO support to member states to implement Resolution 67.11 of the World Health Assembly. WHO guidance on strategic planning for the implementation of health-related articles of the Minamata Convention is now available for use by countries. The webinar will provide the opportunity to share information on the regional perspective on mercury and health and the implementation of the Convention in the Region of the Americas.
Mercury is recognized as a chemical of global concern. Consequently, a global treaty was negotiated and, on August 16, 2017, the Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force. Resolution 3 of the Plenipotentiary Conference invites WHO to cooperate closely with the Conference of the Parties “to support the implementation of the Convention, in particular Article 16, and to provide information to the Conference of the Parties on the progress made in this respect”. In May 2014, the World Health Assembly agreed Resolution 67.11 Public health impacts of exposure to mercury and mercury compounds: the role of WHO and ministries of public health in the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.(1)
Implementation of the Convention will require multisectoral action, including action from the health sector. The participation of the ministries of health is indicated for a series of measures, in particular for article 16 (Health aspects). Regarding mercury-added products, a leadership role is envisaged for health ministries in implementing the required phase-out of mercury-containing thermometers, sphygmomanometers, and antiseptics and skin-lightening cosmetics. The Convention also provides a menu to phase out the use of dental amalgam.
The participation of the ministries of health for the required development of public health strategies in the national action plans to reduce the health impacts of the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining is also indicated (Article 7) as well as the safe management of medical waste containing mercury (Article 11) and the evaluation of contaminated sites for risks to health (article 12). Article 17 on information exchange specifically mentions information on health impacts. Article 18 on public information, awareness and education mentions in particular human health. Article 19 (Research, development and monitoring) calls for cooperation, including monitoring levels of mercury and mercury compounds in vulnerable populations.
In this context, WHO developed a methodology to develop, in a participatory manner, the strategic plans of the health sector for the implementation of the health-related articles of the Convention. By establishing health strategic plans, ministries of health can identify priorities, timelines, and goals to implement or strengthen mercury risk assessment and control measures in accordance with the requirements of the Convention. Strategic plans can also provide a framework for establishing or strengthening intra- and intersectoral collaboration, and provide a firmer foundation on which to seek both internal and external resources, when necessary.
Based on the lessons learned, the methodology for strategic planning was refined and published in 2019 as an official WHO guidance document, Strategic Planning for the Implementation of the Health-Related Articles of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. (2)
The proposed webinar follows a series of WHO regional meetings that took place after the World Health Assembly resolution, including the PAHO/WHO meetings for member states in Montevideo, Uruguay (2015) and in Kingston, Jamaica (2016). It also follows important deadlines, particularly on thermometers, sphygmomanometers, and skin lightening products that contain mercury.
The objectives of the webinar are:
- To further raise awareness among the member states on World Health Assembly Resolution 67.11, “Public health impacts of exposure to mercury and mercury compounds: the role of WHO and ministries of public health in the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.”
- To provide an opportunity to share experiences and information on the regional perspective regarding mercury and health and the implementation of the Convention in the Region of the Americas.
- To raise awareness among member states on WHO’s support for implementation of World Health Assembly Resolution 67.11, including WHO guidance on Strategic Planning for Implementation of the Health-related Articles of the Minamata Convention.
|5||Opening remarks and introductions||Dr. Marcelo Korc, Climate Change & Environmental Determinants of Health, PAHO/WHO|
|10||Regional perspective on mercury and health||Dr. Ana Boischio, Regional Advisor – Chemical Safety & Health, PAHO/WHO|
|30||Focus on key issues in the health sector (tentative topics)
||Panel discussion moderated by Dr. Boischio.
Panelists from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Jamaica
|20||WHO Guidance on Strategic Planning for Implementation of the Health-related Articles of the Minamata Convention||Mr. Terrence Thompson, Consultant to WHO|
|10||Q&A||Moderated by Dr. Boischio|
|15||PAHO/WHO Support for implementation of WHA Resolution 67.11||Mr. Terrence Thompson
Dr. Ana Boischio
|15||Plenary Discussion||Moderated by Mr. Thompson|
|10||Conclusions and closure||Mr. Terrence Thompson
Dr. Ana Boischio