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The Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Future of Multilateral Environmental Agreements

January 2015

Citation: ELR 10064

Author: Tseming Yang

The 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury is a wide-ranging treaty posed to address the serious threat of mercury pollution. The United States adopted it as an executive agreement, breaking a decades-long stretch of failure to adopt multilateral environmental agreements, largely because no domestic legislation is needed to enact the convention’s requirements. The convention itself is notable for its scope and coverage, as it offers significant implementation parameters, similar to traditional legislative requirements. The Minamata Convention is an important, positive milestone in the evolution of modern environmental treaties that offers critical progress on key problems.

Tseming Yang is Professor of Law at Santa Clara University Law School.

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