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Locating Female ‘Voices’ in the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Ghana

Hilson, Gavin, Hu, Yanfei and Kumah, Cynthia (2020) Locating Female ‘Voices’ in the Minamata Convention on Mercury in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Ghana Environmental Science and Policy, 107. pp. 123-136.

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Countries that have ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a United Nations-backed international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from releases of mercury and mercury compounds, are required to produce a National Action Plan (NAP). Each must state, very clearly, how the mercury being used at artisanal and small-scale gold mines will be phased out. In most areas of sub-Saharan Africa, however, devising a comprehensive NAP promises to be an enormous and indeed, challenging, undertaking. Here, the institutional capacity and resources, expertise and at times, commitment needed to capture the level of detail the Minamata Secretariat expects to be included in each NAP are woefully lacking. One of the more challenging tasks ahead, given the shortage of hard data available on the sector’s populations, production and activities, promises to be the design and implementation of appropriate educational, communication and support-related strategies for the ‘vulnerable populations’ who rely on work at artisanal and small-scale gold mines for their incomes. This is especially significant for women, who, despite accounting for at least 50 percent of the region’s artisanal and small-gold mine workforce, mostly carry out the manual work at the lower tiers of the sector’s labour hierarchies. Taking stock of this largely ‘invisible’ work and the circumstances driving individuals to pursue employment in this sector in the first place, this paper reflects critically on the challenges with reducing women’s exposure to mercury at artisanal and small-scale gold mines in sub-Saharan Africa. It draws on findings from ongoing research in Ghana, the location of one of the largest and most dynamic artisanal and small-scale gold mining sectors in the region.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Kumah, Cynthia
Date : 5 March 2020
Funders : Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
DOI : 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.02.003
Grant Title : Rethinking' the Minamata Convention: Minimizing Mercury Pollution in Africa's Small- Scale Gold Mining Sector
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : artisanal and small-scale gold mining; Minamata Convention on Mercury Pollution; sub-Saharan Africa; women; Ghana
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 21 Feb 2020 16:54
Last Modified : 10 Mar 2020 13:28

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