Albania became a signatory to the Minamata Convention on 9 October 2014 and it has been also actively participating in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury.
During the past 10 years the Ministry of Tourism and Environment (MoTE) has been engaged in policy dialogues involving potential donors in prioritizing interventions to address the problematics of inherited industrial pollution.
The project’s objective is to support the government of Albania through the Ministry of Environment to undertake an Initial Mercury Assessment to identify the national requirements and needs for ratification of the Minamata Convention and the extent to which legal, policy and regulatory framework will enable Albania to implement future obligations under the Minamata Convention.
The Mercury Initial Assessment will include four components as specified in the GEF guidelines (GEF/C.45/Inf.05 paragraph 19), as well as a fifth component on mainstreaming:
1. Undertake an assessment of legislation and policies in regard to the implementation of Convention provisions of:
- Article 3;
- Article 5;
- Article 7 (including legislation and policy to cover formalization, worker health and safety);
- Article 8 (specifically in regard to relevant national air pollution/ emission standards and regulations);
- Article 9 (specifically in regard to the ability to identify and categorize sources of releases).
The policy and legislative assessment will be undertaken through a review of existing legislation on chemicals management and identification of the gaps prevalent in association to issues of mercury. In addition, the legislation review will assess the necessary steps for the establishment of a National Mercury Coordination/Consultation Mechanism
2. Undertake an initial assessment of Mercury in the following categories:
• Stocks of mercury and/or mercury compounds and import and export procedures including an assessment of the storage conditions;
• Supply of mercury, including sources, recycling activities and quantities;
• Sectors that use mercury and the amount per year, including manufacturing processes, ASGM and mercury added products;
• Trade in mercury and mercury containing compounds
- Emission sources of mercury;
- Release sources of mercury to land and water.
4. Assess institutional and capacity needs to implement the Convention
Institutional capacity of governmental institutions and agencies will be assessed to determine the capacity needs and gaps that exist for the implementation of the Convention and propose intervention to strengthen these institutions and capacity. The assessment will also review the systems needed to report to the Convention under article 21.
The institutional capacity gaps identified, and the findings of the legislation and policy review will used to formulate a number of priority actions, which will be included in the Mercury Initial Assessment Report. Proposed actions will be discussed and agreed upon among the key stakeholders mentioned above through several rounds of discussions.
5. Mainstream national Mercury priorities in national policies and plans to raise the importance of Hg priority interventions:
- Identify national mercury priorities;
- Assess opportunities for mainstreaming Hg priorities;
- Mainstream Hg priority interventions in relevant policies/ plans.
The project will be implemented over a period of two years, where the UNDP Country Office will monitor the implementation of the project, review progress in the realization of the project outputs, and the MoTE will have the overall responsibility for achieving the project goal and objectives.
Mercury inventory training workshop with governmental institutions and agencies to gather and analyse available data on mercury using the UNEP Toolkit on Mercury Emissions and Releases;
National Mercury Inventory and Identification of Emissions and Resources - This inventory was developed in accordance with UNEP's "Toolkit for identification and quantification of mercury releases", Inventory Level 1, except for dental amalgam, which was quantified in combination with the Toolkit’s Inventory Level 2.
Policy, Regulatory and Institutional Framework Assessment – Legislative, policy and institutional gap analysis, with regards to mercury management and recommendations for strengthening legal and regulatory framework on mercury governance.
Identification of Populations at Risk and Gender Dimensions – As a summary, the groups of population at higher risk are: (i) Those who are sensitive to the effects of mercury; and, (ii) Those who are exposed to higher levels of mercury.
Awareness/Understanding of Workers and the Public and Existing Training and Education Opportunities of Target Groups and Professionals
Implementation Plan and Priorities for Action- Develop an implementation plan and assess opportunities for mainstreaming Hg priorities into national policies/plans;
Assessment of Capabilities for a National Monitoring Network of Mercury in Albania