WWF-Guianas successfully advocated for and mobilized civil society and the public sector which contributed to Suriname and Guyana signing the Minamata Convention in 2018. The objective of the convention is to protect human health and the environment from release of mercury. In the Guianas, spilling of mercury due to uncontrolled and irresponsible gold mining practices is one of the main environmental and human health threats. In local and indigenous communities, people have already built-up high levels of mercury in their bodies though the consumption of contaminated fish.
By supporting the development of a mercury-free gold mining model, launching a programme to make people aware of the serious health risks and dangers of mercury, and through advocacy with policy makers to support the ratification of the Minamata Convention, WWF-Guianas has contributed in putting the dangers of mercury and irresponsible gold mining high on the agenda in Suriname and Guyana.
Now that the Minamata Convention has been ratified by both Guyana and Suriname, WWF-Guianas continues to advocate alongside other partners for mercuryfree gold and better practices to ensure freshwater ecosystems and flow regimes provide safe water for people and nature. In the coming period, mercury-free gold mining practices will be showcased as an alternative for gold miners.