End year Message!
2019 comes to a very successful end for Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), advancing towards the decade of the 2020s. It is time to reflect on the key successful outcomes in 2019 and to carry this forward with greater enthusiasm and strength to the new decade.
GPNM has seen several milestones this year. At the global level, the endorsement of the Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management at UNEA-4 in March 2019, proposed by the Government of India is the most significant. This is in recognition of the need for multiple opportunities for better nitrogen management associated with water, air, climate, biodiversity, soils, stratospheric ozone, food and energy, including the need to develop improved coordination between relevant multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs). It was agreed that coordination is needed to address sustainable nitrogen management at three levels including the interactions between these levels:
- Intergovernmental co-ordination, especially between countries, conventions, other MEAs and stakeholders
- National co-ordination within countries, between different ministries, agencies and other stakeholders
- Provision of science and technical information in support of national and international policy processes, under the guidance of governments.
The GPNM Steering Committee and the Secretariat along with the UN Environment’s Global Programme of Action worked together towards the successful endorsement of the Resolution.
The GPNM was challenged with the growing nutrient problem (both nitrogen and phosphorus) at a global scale under the GEF-funded project on Global foundations for reducing nutrient enrichment and oxygen depletion from land based pollution, in support of Global Nutrient Cycle (GNC). This project has now officially concluded successfully, with three major achievements:
- Development of the Global nutrient management toolbox;
- Nutrient flow modelling through the application of the Global NEWS Model for Manila Bay
- Development and application of the Ecosystem Health Report Card for two ecosystems: Chilika Lagoon, India and Laguna de Bay, Philippines.
For the first time a Joint Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) and Global Wastewater Initiative (GW2I) Meeting was conducted in April 2019 with the primary objective of fostering synergies and opportunities for future collaboration.
In addition, GPNM would continue to be a platform for sharing knowledge and capacity building. Training will therefore remain very relevant as the need for knowledge on nutrient management and use efficiency, remains a local, regional and global agenda.
2019 also saw the commencement of the South Asian Nitrogen Hub, a partnership led by the UK's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and comprising about 50 organizations from across South Asia and the UK, supported by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under its Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This Hub will conduct research on nitrogen from agriculture, and other point and non-point- land based sources of nitrogen in eight countries - India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives. The Hub's research recommendations will help develop sustainable farming practices and a circular economy for nitrogen. GPNM will strive to expand such studies to other continents, where nitrogen pollution continues to dominate as a major pollutant.
At this time, I would like to place on record the incredible work of Christopher Cox, and thank him for his valuable contribution in expanding the activities of GPNM globally. At the same time, it is a great pleasure to welcome Mahesh Pradhan in his new role at GPNM and wish him all the success. The continued hard work and enthusiasm of Milcah Ndegwa is highly appreciated. To all the Members of the Steering Committee – a big thanks for your constant and continued support to GPNM and its activities.
I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and successful 2020.
The UN Global Campaign Launch on Sustainable Nitrogen Management was championed by the Government of Sri Lanka on 23 - 24 October 2019 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment Programme Ms. Joyce Msuya; Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament, Sri Lanka on behalf of H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the president of Sri Lanka and Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment; Mr. Anura Dissanayake, Secretary Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka; H.E. Mr Sunil de Silva, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UNON, UNEP; and UN-Habitat; among other senior government officials were present under the theme “Everywhere And Invisible ; Halve Nitrogen Waste by 2030”. The meeting attractive global participation of about 31 Member States and over 1200 local and regional scientist community. The meeting was co-organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through the Coordination Office of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), which provides the Secretariat of Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), and the Government of Sri Lanka
The Sustainable Nitrogen Management resolution, led by the Government of India, during the Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), Member States acknowledged that reactive nitrogen has adverse pollution impacts on terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. Poor nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) management contributes to world's food security.
The outcome of the UN Global Campaign Launch on Sustainable Nitrogen Management was adoption of the Colombo Declaration which called on countries to consider developing national roadmaps for sustainable nitrogen management, conduct comprehensive assessments on qualitative and qualitative nitrogen cycling, promote innovative technologies for nitrogen use and cycling, while conducting capacity building activities to sensitive citizens on sustainable agricultural practices with ambition to halve nitrogen waste by 2030.
Further, a proposed roadmap for Action on Sustainable Nitrogen Management 2020 - 2022 was endorsed. In addition, the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) has received nominations from over 30 Member States to serve as national focal points for the working group on sustainable nitrogen management. Planning for the first inception meeting of the working group is ongoing, in close collaboration with GEF/INMS and other partners.
The Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment Programme Ms. Joyce Msuya and Mr. Anura Dissanayake, Secretary Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka participated in a press release, available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/colombo-declaration-calls-tackling-global-nitrogen-challenge
In addition to Ms. Joyce Msuya speech available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/speech/launch-un-global-campaign-sustainable-nitrogen-management. Interview with Ms. Joyce Msuya and Prof. Mark Sutton is below:
For more information on the campaign, please visit: https://papersmart.unon.org/resolution/sustainable-nitrogen-management
To crown the launch of the United Nations Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, Grammy Award winner singer and song writer Ricky Kej, performed the world first ever 'Nitrogen Song'. Please listen to the song below:
Environment and health impacts of pesticides and fertilizers
The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) participated in the second consultative meeting in preparation of the report on the environment and health impacts of Pesticides and Fertilizers to be presented to UNEA-5 from 21 to 22 November 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The objective of the meeting was to follow-up on the draft report by UN Environment Programme, in collaboration with FAO and WHO, on health and environmental impacts of pesticides and fertilizers and ways to minimize them to be presented at the 5th UN Environment Assembly. The report included several chapters of concern, including chapter 7 on “Status and Trends of Fertilizer Use,” which highlighted types of fertilizers and the use of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs). Specifically, EEFs are defined as “fertilizer products with characteristics that allow increased plant uptake and reduce the potential of nutrient losses to the environment (e.g., gaseous losses, leaching, or runoff) when compared to an appropriate reference product.”
Several chapters of the report have been partially drafted and are available for your review. You can access and download the chapters, and other working documents, at: http://bit.ly/UNEA-PF_downloads
Towards a UN Roadmap for Sustainable Nitrogen Management, 2020-2022
On 7 October 2019, the Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) jointly with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded International Nitrogen Management System (INMS) organized a side event on the margin of the 6th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Nairobi, Kenya. H.E. Mr. Rahul Chabbra, High Commissioner& Permanent Representative to UNEP, India presented on India’s vision for sustainable nitrogen management – following up the UNEA-4 resolution; and H.E. Sunil de Silva, High Commissioner and Permanent Representative High Commissioner& Permanent Representative to UNEP, Sri Lanka highlighted Sri Lanka role on Championing the nitrogen challenge – preparations for launching the UN nitrogen campaign.
The event provided an update to the recently adopted Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management; the fourth session of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS-4) including a high-level segment on 29-30 April 2019, leading to the development of a proposed Roadmap for Sustainable Nitrogen Management, 2020-2022; Updated members of the CPR and others on current progress to the launch of a UN campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management; Highlighting Elements of the proposed Colombo Declaration; and Discussed emerging options for establishment of a Working Group under CPR to prepare the Terms of Reference for establishment of a potential “Inter-convention Nitrogen Co-ordination Mechanism.
Proposed guidance document on sustainable nitrogen management
Should we fertilize oceans or seed clouds? No one knows
Source: GESAMP Working Group 41. High Level Review of a Wide Range of Proposed Marine Geoengineering Techniques
Over the years, our oceans have experienced excessive richness of nutrients from land-based activities. This had fueled excessive growth of algae as a result of global water warming from adverse climate change patters; depleting oxygen from the water body causing dead-zones. This process is known as eutrophication.
Due to the adverse effects to the marine ecosystems, marine geoengineering researchers have explored innovative technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean. Some of the proposed technologies include: fertilizing water with iron which would speed up the growth of phytoplankton and thus take up Carbon Dioxide; Another proposal is to to spray seawater into the air to form clouds that would reflect sunlight and cool the planet among others.
The United Nations Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects on Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) set up a working group in 2016 to look at the potential ecological and social impacts of about 27 proposed marine geoengineering technologies. In a GESAMP report published in March 2019, there was found little knowledge of an appropriate technology to recommend. Thus called on researcher to build on proposed technologies and identify knowledge gaps; develop a portfolio with potential benefits and consequences of each proposed technology; Strengthen collaboration between researchers and policy makers to develop scientific criteria for evaluating risks; and conduct test for some of the technologies, if passed present them in governance platforms such as London Protocol.
Code of conduct for sustainable use and management of fertilizers
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
On 13 September 2019, 13/09/2019 the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers was endorsed by member countries at the 41st session of the FAO Conference. The Fertilizer Code was developed in response to a request by the 25th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) for FAO to strengthen its work on food safety and the safe use of fertilizers and pesticides. It also responds to the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) declaration on soil pollution and supports the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM).
The Code aims to guarantee an effective and efficient use of fertilizers and address issues of global importance including:
- Global food production and food security;
- The preservation of fundamental ecosystem services;
- The maximization of economic and environmental benefits;
- The reduction of negative impact of excess nutrients in ground and surface waters;
- The minimization of negative effects and potential toxicity of contaminants in fertilizers;
- The improvement of food safety, diets, nutritional quality and human health.
FAO Members and other relevant stakeholders are encouraged, with the guidance to translate the Fertilizer Code into effective actions through the development of regulations, awareness raising programmes and other concrete outputs to help with the broad dissemination of the principles addressed in the Code. The FAO will naturally support the implementation of the Fertilizer Code by formulating tools to facilitate its implementation and by carrying out case studies to demonstrate its effects.
UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 - 2030
Source: UN Environment Programme
Mr. Mahesh Pradhan has recently re-joined the UN Environment Programme as the Programme Management Officer, Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM), under the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA) in UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Prior to this assignment, Mahesh was based at the UNEP's International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, Japan. IETC leads UNEP's thematic work on holistic waste management