Tag Archives: agenda

What to Expect from INC5 Day 5 – Thursday, January 17

By: Amanda Giang

The agenda for Day 5.

The agenda for Day 5.

It’s Day 5 of the negotiations, and the atmosphere is getting tense. Chair Lugris is pushing for some serious progress, and is expecting contact groups to produce some text by the end of day, so that tomorrow can be devoted to fine-tuning. We’re not even going to have a swiss break! We expect that plenary will be suspended early while contact groups tackle the following:


  • A financial mechanism for the convention. The Chair has delayed this important discussion until now, but it’s time to finally iron out exactly how the activities described in the draft treaty are going to be paid for. Looking to be a late night for @alicealpert and @jvanderhoop, who will be covering this issue.
  • Linkages between this treaty and others, and how implementation and compliance will be operationalized, covered by @wolfeyp and @amandagiang.
  • Text for how to address health in the treaty, also covered by @amandagiang and @wolfepy.
  • Finalization of technical issues, like ASGM, supply and trade of mercury (including primary mining), followed by @markdstaples and @DanyaRumore.
  • Dental amalgam—which is a particularly contentious section of the text on mercury products and processes, covered by @Bea_Edwards and @lncz.
  • Draft text for emissions and releases, with fleshing out of Annexes specifying sources and limits, followed by @NoelleSelin, @BeckySaari and @leahstokes
  • If we’re lucky, pizza! We hear our generous Swiss hosts provided some late night study negotiation snacks yesterday. As graduate students, we know nothing fuels brainpower like greasy cheese and carbs.

Don’t forget to follow @MITmercury and #MITmercury to follow the action real-time!

What to Expect from INC5 Day 4–Wednesday, January 16

It’s Day 4, and the negotiating sessions are, according to the current schedule, more than half over! What have the negotiators done with all the time so far? They’ve discovered key areas of disagreement, and forged some progress on text in various groups. The plenary sessions are plodding and/or breezing their way through various articles while contact, technical, and drafting groups untangle the details.

The schedule has become fluid, but we expect:

  • A sunny day, rather than yesterday’s snow.
  • “Under Pressure” on repeat in the plenary before we start the day.
  • A late start to the first plenary.
  • Updates on progress from the groups dealing with “Selected Technical Articles” (a.k.a. the “Mega-Contact Group”), Emissions and Releases (a.k.a. my personal favorite, led by witty UK delegate John Roberts), Health (a.k.a. “Guess WHO*?”),  Technical assistance (a.k.a. “Got Tech?”).
  • A polite and sincere urging from Chair Lugris for these groups to continue their “excellent work.”
  • The Mega-Contact Group chugging along continuously, tirelessly (and sleeplessly).
  • Optimistically: finalizing Article 3, 7, 8, Article 9 (ASGM) and maybe even some work on article 13 (storage and waste).
  • A drafting group to continue work on implementation plans.
  • A drafting group to tackle treaty text addressing releases to land and water.
  • A presentation by BRI-IPEN on mercury hotspots.
  • The legal group to continue their helpful work on reviewing some of the draft articles.
  • A small contact group called “Friends of Health” to discuss how to integrate wording on health into the treaty.
  • Another Swiss Break!

Stay tuned for Mark’s daily wrap-up blog, or follow us on twitter @MITmercury or at #MITmercury to catch all the action.

Interested in particular aspects of the treaty discussions?

An already-outdated snap of the day's schedule

An already-outdated snap of the day’s schedule – it’s a fast paced day!

Follow me, @BeckySaari, @NoelleSelin and @leahstokes for coverage on emissions and releases as the delegates try to tackle some text. Our friends are also tweeting away:

  • @alicealpert and (@jvanderhoop following technical and financial assistance.
  • @Bea_Edwards and @lncz will reflect on products and processes
  • @markdstaples and @DanyaRumore are tracking the hot issues of ASGM, supply, waste and trade.
  • @wolfeyp and @amandagiang tweeting on institutions and implementation!

*NOTE: WHO = World Health Organization

What to Expect from INC5 Day 3–Tuesday, January 15

by Julie van der Hoop

It’s Day 3 of the INC5 negotiations. By now, we’ve all become a bit more familiar the format of proceedings. However, our schedules are becoming more and more fluid as plenary sessions devolve into contact groups, which can have much more unpredictable (read: long) hours.

Contact groups are sessions that occur at the same time as plenary, where countries and observers discuss a particular subject of interest. These sessions are less formal than plenary, and are usually in English only (stay tuned to the blog about interpretation at the UN!). Here at INC5, the Chair has established contact groups to edit particular articles and subsections of the treaty.

That being said, today’s agenda doesn’t explicitly list any contact group meetings. Yet. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the first contact group meetings begin right after lunch, if not before).


Today is the day that we will have one of the negotiations’ biggest questions answered: what is a Swiss break? We’ve been invited by the host country to enjoy their hospitality over dinner hours, 18:00 – 20:00. But what will this Swiss break entail!? Stay tuned for Alice’s daily wrap-up blog, or follow us on twitter @MITmercury or at #MITmercury to find out.

Interested in particular aspects of the treaty discussions? @alicealpert and I (@jvanderhoop) will be covering continued discussions on technical and financial assistance. @Bea_Edwards and @lncz are staying late in the night for work on products and processes, and @markdstaples and @DanyaRumore are summarizing ASGM, supply, waste and trade. Check out @wolfeyp and @amandagiang for more general discussions on institutions and implementation!

What to Expect from INC5 Day 2—Monday, January 14

by Ellen Czaika

INC5 day 2 is off and running. Monday, January 14 has started off foggy and chilly here in Geneva, and while some wet snowflakes were floating in the air, we didn’t need our umbrellas as we walked to the Conference Center. From a US perspective, it is interesting to have had the convention start on a Sunday. Already, I’ve thought a few times today that, since it’s the second day of the negotiations, it must be Tuesday!

The Bureau Meeting, held between 8 -9am this morning, tackled various organizational topics. At 8:45am, near the main entrance, an NGO group was passing out cards promoting mercury-free livelihoods for mining communities, the elimination of mercury trade for artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), and mercury-free technologies and investments in them.

Six regional groups met starting at 9am: the Asia/Pacific Group, African Group, GRULAC (Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries), European Union, JUSSCANNZ (Japan, US, Canada, and New Zealand), and CEE (Central European Economies). Between 10am- 1pm, the Plenary Session continues with a focus on emissions and releases, and two contact groups are working in parallel: the Financial and Technical Assistance contact group and the Products and Processes contact group.

Lunch today is on our own. Perhaps many will eat in the café at the CICG Conference Center, which serves a variety of starters and mains, while others might boldly venture out of the CICG to explore what the restaurants of Geneva have to offer.

The Bureau meets again from 1-3pm and the Arab Group meets from 2-3pm. The afternoon plenary runs from 3-6pm. Indaba meets from 6-6:30pm and the evening plenary is from 8pm-11pm (although it will almost certainly run later than that). There will likely be contact groups meeting during this time as well.

The schedule for the day is pictured below, although it is subject to change (and likely to change) as contact groups are formed to addresses certain topics.

Look for Leah’s Day 2 Daily Roundup blog late tonight or tomorrow morning (Geneva time) to learn more about the developments of today!

Jan 14 agenda

What to Expect from INC5 Day 1 —Sunday, January 13

by Philip Wolfe

Today marks the official start of INC5. Registration has been going on since Friday at 2:00pm, and yesterday was full of opportunities for bilateral and regional working group coordination meetings.

Morning: The first morning is of great importance for NGOs trying to get their messages out to decision-makers. We will be at the MIT Joint Program table to discuss our poster as delegates arrive. We also expect there to be some advocacy demonstrations. For instance, IPEN is sponsoring an event in the morning at the conference center called “Honoring Minamata”.

The schedule is quite broad, so we won’t have a good idea of how the meetings will progress until we actually get to breakout groups. To provide a sense of how broad the schedule currently is, here’s the provisional agenda:

1. Opening of the session.
2. Organizational matters.
a. Adoption of the agenda.
b. Organization of work.
3. Preparation of a global legally binding instrument on mercury.
4. Other matters.
5. Adoption of the report.
6. Closure of the session.

Agenda items 1 and 2 are the biggest part of the schedule for the morning, and while this seems like a brief formality, I assure you this is no small matter. At INC4, the first morning was dominated by opening ceremonies and country opening statements.

Lunch: the official host country reception will be held during lunch of the first day. Formal invitations were given out during registration. And yes, we were invited.

Lunch invitation_Philip

Contact groups will break out, possibly as early as the morning and, if energy and enthusiasm run high, they will work through the night streamlining text and showing signals of movements on difficult and interconnected issues.

Be sure to follow the progress on twitter @MITmercury. While we expect most of the #MITmercury team to be in plenary in the morning, look for Mark Staples and Danya Rumore to potentially follow contact group sessions on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASGM) or storage and waste in the afternoon and for Philip Wolfe and Amanda Giang to provide updates on the contentious issue of how to include health impacts in the final text.