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Workshop on mercury management in the Latin American and Caribbean Region
The workshop on mercury management in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region was held on 21st and 22nd May of 2012 at the National Hotel of Brasilia (Brazil). This workshop has been organized by the Government of Spain (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Affairs, MAGRAMA, and the National Technological Centre for Mercury Decontamination, CTNDM), with the valuable collaboration of the Governments of Brazil and Uruguay.

This regional meeting has been planned within the activities proposed for the Supply and Storage of Mercury, co-led by Spain and Uruguay, within the framework of the Global Mercury Partnership of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Workshop brought together the governmental representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean, those of the UNEP Chemical Brand, experts from mercury-related private sectors (Ambilamp, Apliquim Brasil Recicle, Barrick Gold Technology Centre, World Chlorine Council), and numerous institutions and non-governmental organizations such as the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre and Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Choice/World Alliance For Mercury Free Dentistry, Coalition for SafeMinds, International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), Natural Resources Defense Council, Toxisphera_APROMAC coalition, University of Brasilia, Zero Mercury Working Group, and other interested experts of the region.

The workshop focused on two main objectives:

1. Address situation and difficulties for the management of mercury in the Latin American and Caribbean Region (LAC), analyzing possible environmentally sound solutions.

2. Involve institutions and industries from LAC and other regions in the workshop to allow them to share their knowledge and management views, especially those industrial sectors identified as mercury supply sources.

Several presentations were made and some mercury-related issues of great relevance were discussed, such as the current legislation, changes in the use of mercury in the chlor-alkali industry, its production and management in large scale gold mining, management of end-of-life mercury-containing products, mercury management and human health issues, stabilization technologies for mercury and mercury containing wastes (emphasizing the technology developed and presented by the National Technological Centre for Mercury Decontamination, NTCMD), and some case studies such as mercury remediation in a mining/industrial: AZOGUE PROJECT (NTCMD) and the results of the Bi-national Project (Argentina-Uruguay) on mercury storage.

The workshop provided a forum for discussion and exchange of information on real experiences in the management of mercury, being carried out both in public and private sectors. The workshop was highly valued by the participants of the LAC region for showing the challenges and possible solutions for a responsible management of mercury. In the debate, the different perspectives provided by the governmental representatives, industries and NGOs involved were shared.

Similarly, the workshop has been considered of great benefit for the decision-making process of this group of countries in the LAC region, in relation to the negotiations of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) of the future global mercury convention, whose next meeting INC4, will be held in Punta del Este (Uruguay) between 27 June and 2 July 2012.

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