Development of National Action Plans (NAPs) for artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) is a requirement under the Minamata Convention on Mercury for each Party that determines that ASGM and processing in its territory is more than insignificant (Article 7).  Although each country’s NAP process will be unique, Annex C of the Minamata Convention provides a list of elements that must be included.

Content of the ASGM National Action Plan

With funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNEP is supporting countries in the development of their NAPs by providing technical assistance and guidance in mercury-free technologies, formalization, baseline assessments, and other topics.

NAP projects around the world


Guidance and tools to develop a NAP

National Action Plan guidance document    Quick Start guide for NAP

template for National Action Plan


Guidance on developping the national overview of the ASGM sector

The development of a NAP requires a good understanding of the ASGM sector, to ensure effective strategies and to measure progress in implementation. This calls first for collection of data from ASGM sites in the field, as well as subsequent management and analysis of such data.

UNEP, in collaboration with partners, has created a series of tools to assist with the development of the national overview of the ASGM sector and including data collection, management and analysis:

ASGM baseline toolkit   Mobile data collection tool

MapX platform


Guidance on improving technical aspects of artisanal and small-scale gold mining

According to the Minamata Convention, each National Action Plan on artisanal and small-scale gold mining must include actions to eliminate four “worst” practices (Annex C).

UNEP has developed a video presenting these “worst” practices and introducing better and best practices to reduce and eliminate the use of mercury in ASGM, as well as an online interactive guide on existing mercury-free practices, providing simple graphs, decision trees and illustrative success stories.

Eliminating worst practices   Illustrated guide to mercury free ASGM


Guidance for setting formalization strategy

Formalization—the process of integrating ASGM into the formal economy, society, and regulatory system—is a critical step to address the challenges of the sector and support its development. The “Socio-econmic research methodology” and the “Formalization handbook” provide solid knowledge and gudiance to develop a formalization strategy under the NAP.

Socio-economic research methodology   Formalization handbook


Guidance for managing mercury trade under NAP

The guide provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on mercury supply, demand and trade. Furthermore, it aims to familiarize the reader with the provisions on mercury trade under the Minamata Convention. Finally, it suggests practical steps to understand mercury trade at the national level and recommends approaches to developing the National Action Plan strategy to manage the mercury trade in ASGM.

Mercury trade for NAPs


Guidance for incorporating gender dimension into NAP

The guide summarizes and provides an overview of the key issues and recommendations for incorporating gender dimensions throughout the process and into startegic content of the NAP for ASGM. 

Gender guide for NAPs   Gender guide for NAPs


Lessons learned from the development of NAPs and other related documents

Lessons learned from NAP projects in Africa   Minamata COP3 side event

Rapid environmental mercury assessment guidance


WHO resources and guidelines for developing public health strategy for NAPs

Developing public health strategies for ASGM  Step-by-step guide for developing a public health strategy for NAPs


Further assistance

In addition to developing tools and information materials, UNEP supports countries through the entire project duration of the NAPs, including through:

Expert recommendations Country assistance Technical peer review Workshops
Expert recommendations Consultations and country-specific assistance Technical peer review of the NAP Regional workshop and capacity building


Wheel of Knowledge

wheel of knowledgeDatabase and search tool that helps locate other information and guidance materials intended to build national capacity and provide examples of actions in the context of the National Action Plans thematic areas.