This year, the World Oceans Day, 8 June, was to be celebrated in Lisbon, under the theme “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”. The World Oceans Day was supposed to be held in conjunction with the UN Ocean Conference, which unfortunately was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. For the UN Ocean Conference, UNEP through Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) is a co-facilitator of Partnership Dialogue 1: Addressing marine pollution together with IMO. GPA and International Maritime Organization (IMO) have so far submitted an initial concept paper for consideration on Partnership Dialogue 1: Addressing marine pollution.
Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water - Adopted in 2015 as an integral aspect of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its set of 17 transformative goals, Goal 14 stresses the need to conserve and sustainably use the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources. Advancement of Goal 14 is guided by specific targets that focus on an array of ocean issues, including reducing marine pollution, protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, minimizing acidification, ending illegal and over-fishing, increasing investment in scientific knowledge and marine technology, and respecting international law that calls for the safe and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources.
Sargassum in the Caribbean and West Africa: Key Challenges, Responses and Collaboration
#1 Sargassum webinar flier
On 26th May 2020, the GPA Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) in partnership with the UNEP Science Division, the Cartagena and Abidjan Conventions of the Regional Seas, as well as IOC-UNESCO, organized a webinar entitled “Sargassum in the Caribbean and West Africa: Key Challenges, Responses and Collaboration”. The purpose of this webinar was to highlight the emerging issue of Sargassum in the context of the Caribbean and West Africa, as well as highlight efforts of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) Working Group on Sargassum science, as well as build on outcomes of the recent Sargassum International Conference (Guadeloupe, October 2019). Over 700 registered for the webinar, with over 500 participating in the nearly 2-hour interactive webinar. Research shows that since 2011 there has been an explosion in the quantity of Sargassum seaweed reaching the shores of countries in the Caribbean and West Africa inflicting severe socio-economic impacts, particularly to the tourism sector and coastal fisheries. Tackling this trans-Atlantic problem will require regional and global coordinated action beyond national jurisdictions, which the UNEP's Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) hopes to foster in the coming months.
Meeting report is available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/events/un-environment-event/sargassum-caribbean-and-west-africa-key-challenges-responses-and
The Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) on 21st July 2020 organized the second Sargassum webinar featuring ‘The Science of Sargassum’. The purpose of this webinar was to explore the scientific knowledge we have and the challenges we face in understanding and assessing increasing Sargassum occurrences. The webinar featured leading experts from different institutions working on Sargassum. Outcomes of the webinar will contribute to the development of a white paper which will feed into the planned GESAMP Open Science Meeting on Sargassum. Over 600 registered for the webinar, with 400 participating in the nearly 2-hour interactive webinar. Discussions featured the major causes of eutrophication leading to the Central Atlantic Sargassum blooms; high arsenic content in Sargassum addressed for agricultural use or general disposal; use of large scale satellite observation data sets to correlate Sargassum bloom intensity and occurrence; as well as the potential uses of Sargassum given the sheer quantity being washed up on the shorelines of the Caribbean. The third webinar in this series will be held on 22 September 2020, focusing on Sargassum challenges in West Africa.
Progress on the Implementation of the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management
Following The Government of Sri Lanka Launching of the Nitrogen campaign leading to the adoption of the ‘Colombo Declaration’. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has prepared a campaign Strategy which presents a communication roadmap for UNEP in its efforts to reduce nitrogen pollution on the marine environment. The focus of this Nitrogen campaign is to promote international cooperation, develop a consensus to introduce policies on Sustainable Nitrogen Management and sensitize the Nitrogen fix - Moving from ‘Nitrogen Cycle Pollution to Nitrogen Circular Economy’.
Since the 1980s, the amount of nitrogen in the environment has increased sharply. Globally, as a result of human activity, 200 million tonnes of nitrogen pour into the air, soil, and sea every year. Much of this nitrogen comes from excess use of fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels. While nitrogen is associated with essential human activities, such as food production and transportation, we have overstepped the environmental limits, within which humanity can operate safely, in terms of how much we produce nitrogen. Today, we are generating new nitrogen 3,5 times above our planetary boundary.
Fifth Plenary Meeting of the ‘Towards INMS’ Project (INMS-5)
On 10 July 2020, the Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) made a presentation in the concluding session of the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Towards International Nitrogen Management System project (INMS) which attracted more than 90 participants from across the globe. The INMS Project, with funding support from the Global Environmental Facility, supports the implementation of the UNEA4 resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management. The overall expected outcome of the ‘Towards INMS’ project will develop the evidence base to showcase the need for effective practices for global nitrogen management and highlight options to maximize the multiple benefits of better nitrogen use.
List of virtual attendees
For further information at: http://www.nutrientchallenge.org/fifth-plenary-meeting-%E2%80%98towards-inms%E2%80%99-project-inms-5
12th GPNM Steering Committee Meeting
The Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) organized its 12th Steering Committee Meeting on 12 May 2020. 11 members of the GPNM Steering Committee attended this virtual Steering Committee meeting, which covered GPNM progress, outlook and management. Detailed updates included, viz. progress on implementation of the UNEA-4 Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management including the landmark Colombo Declaration which articulates an ambition to halve Nitrogen waste by 2030; the upcoming Our Phosphorus Future report, the upcoming Sargassum webinar as well as updates on the UNEP GEF INMS Project. A face-to-face meeting of the Steering Committee is planned for October 2020, in conjunction with the UNEP Annual CPR Sub-Committee meeting in the lead up to UNEA5, depending on the current covid19 situation.